In a couple days, the Philippines will be holding an election.

Tempers are high, and the airways are full of arguments about the various parties seeking to become senators, mayors and other officials.

Tempers run high, and not only are politicians here at risk to be assasinated by the NPA (communists) if they don’t pay a bribe to be allowed to campaign in some areas, there is also a danger that one’s opponant will shoot you. So, the other day, a shootout between two feuding politicians’ private bodyguards left two dead and a couple injured.

But my point is that despite the wild west aspect of the election, we do have elections. And even the assasinations are more due to private feuds (think Romeo and Juliet) than political, at least in this area.

Yet the nearby country of Viet Nam is relapsing back into oppression, despite recent changes to open that country to capitalism (with the help of the US educated refugees who have returned to help their birth country).

Human rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan (photo above) were sentenced to five years and four years respectively by the Hanoi People’s Court.
They were found guilty of spreading propaganda intended to undermine Vietnam’s Communist government.

A court in Ho Chi Minh City convicted three other activists on similar charges on Thursday.

In March, dissident Catholic priest Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly was jailed for eight years for working with overseas democracy activists.

Another dissident, Tran Quoc Hien, is scheduled to go on trial in Ho Chi Minh City next week.

They were accused of collaberating with overseas democracy advocates and using the internet to spread their pro democracy views.

Ironically, although groups involved with human rights are protesting the jailing and prosecution of these advocates of peaceful change, the aging anti Viet Nam war peace activists who ignored the boat people, the genocide of Cambodia, the ethnic cleansing of the ethnic Chinese community, and the jailing of tens of thousands in reeducation camps are continuing to ignore the facts of the repression that their self congratulatory actions spawned.

Presumably despite all their condemnation of the west against “people of colour”, they don’t see “people of colour” as actual human beings, merely as an object for them to promote their self righteousness.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket, and she blogs about human rights in Zimbabwe at Makaipa Blogspot.

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