COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
Carlos P. Romulo in his book I See the Philippines Rise wrote in his account of the Leyte Gulf Landings: “The brutal truth about war is that for every one of the guilty the unnumbered innocent must die.” And I say that in that greatest naval battle in modern world history the unnumbered innocents who must die were the Filipino dead — not the Japanese dead nor the American dead – in Philippine soil and sea.Meanwhile, after the United States bombed Afghanistan in search of Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, what could be erased from the modern world would be the last of the fiercest guerrilla fighters in Central Asia. And if they have been erased from that event then maybe armed conflict would cease to be acceptable in the coming years. One deterrent of war would simply be the absence of a formidable foe. Besides, war is just too short-tempered a response to social conflict.
The American aura of impregnability has been erased with the September 11 attack. The rest of the world can now start living without fear of a world power. A world power usually carries with it an irreverent mission of world domination. Wars are made along with that mission.
But the most important thing that needs to be erased is the
misconception that we need a world power to maintain world peace. History tells us that major destruction in human life and property was committed by world powers. There was the Roman Empire, the Spanish Conquests, British Occupations, Germany’s Third Reich, and American Imperialism.
Destruction is easy, especially if carried out on other people’s lives and properties. That’s what the Muslim fighters did to America in the September 11 attack. That’s what the U.S. soldiers did to the Middle East when they invaded Iraq.
Much as I would like to believe that we are moving towards a more humanitarian world, fighting for animal rights and environmental protection, we have become more savage in eliminating human life. As we approach a new century of civilization, the methods of war have become more sophisticated and plainly mechanical, promptly reducing man to mere objects.
However, our abiding hope in avoiding total destruction is still the presence of democracy. In democracy, people — the great mass of the led, get to empower themselves. As more people gets empowered in groups be it economic, social, political, or religious in nature; no single institution will dominate the whole world. Not the media, nor the CIA, Islam or the Christian church, and transnational corporations or any government for that matter.
Democracy still appears disorderly, even chaotic, but it does not allow total destruction. Conflict is due to arise as power is being spread and leveled among the populace. But as power is not concentrated in one sphere, we can avoid another holocaust or tyranny of any kind. For if we cannot allow tyranny to rule in our homes then we should not allow tyranny to rule in the world. In this manner, we can avoid war and destruction.