Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Parallels And Perpendiculars

When I first heard about it, I was like, that sound true, that sounds fair, or unfair for that matter. Indeed, what happened in Tiananmen Square 5 years ago is somewhat similar to what happened to Luneta some days ago.

  • Both incident happened in a park. And yes both parks have historical significance in their respective country's history. Luneta Park and Tiananmen Square
  • Both incident involved tourist and a tourist bus.
  • And though it was heavily romanticized, the incidents did not happen on the same month. That was April 2005 and August 2010.
  • And again, though heavily romanticized, there is not much similarities on the failure of the state on protecting the victims. For one, what happened in Tiananmen Square was a surprise attack that did not last that long. While the one in Luneta lasted for 10 hours. THAT LONG.. which would have been more than enough time to prepare for a GOOD (at least) strategy.
Here is a copy that has been circulating on the net for days..

On August 19, 2005, Emmanuel "Bong" Madrigal, a Manila-based Filipino executive of the multinational Shell, was visiting Beijing on vacation with his wife Vivian, his daugher Regina Mia, and two younger daughters. That day, they rode a tourist bus to Tiananmen Square, the heart of the capitol.

Upon arriving at the square, Emmanuel Madrigal was the first to descend from the bus, followed by Vivian and Regina Mia. A Chinese man wielding a scythe--in some reports it was described as a sword--suddenly appeared out of nowhere and hacked Emmanuel across his torso. He died on the spot. The man also attacked and seriously wounded Vivian. He then slashed at and killed Regina Mia. By this time, bystanders were trying to subdue the man, and Vivian shouted to her two other daughters to get away and save themselves. Somehow the girls made their way back to the hotel. Vivian was brought to a Beijing hospital, where she died several days later of her injuries.

An Associated Press report still circulating on the internet states that the killer was Wang Gongzuo, 25, a farmer from eastern China's Jiangsu province. He was sentenced to death for the murder of the Madrigals and executed a few weeks later, in September. The AP report states: 'Wang's motive for killing the two is unclear. After the incident occurred the Beijing Morning Post reported that he had wanted to 'affect society using extreme actions,' but didn't elaborate."

Reflect on the parallels. A family of vacationers on a tourist bus: the Leungs and the Madrigals. A killer out to "affect society using extreme actions": Mendoza and Wang. A massacre in a public place of symbolic significance: The Quirino grandstand, where the presidential inauguration had been held just weeks before, and site of the civil society protests against the Marcos regime; and Tiananmen Square, since ancient times the symbol of the centralized power of the Chinese state, and site of the 1991 civil protests against the government.

In both incidents, the state failed miserably in protecting innocent tourists.

And there the parallels end.

President Aquino has apologized to the families of Mendoza’s victims and conveyed his sorrow to the people of Hongkong, Chief Executive Donald Tsang, and Ambassador Lin Jian Chao. The Philippine National Police acknowledge that they botched matters beyond comprehension. Philippine legislators, ahead of their Hongkong counterparts, called for a full investigation. Philippine media organizations are looking to their own culpability in the affair. And masses of ordinary Filipinos, on TV, radio, print, and the Internet, are expressing collective horror, remorse and pity over the terrible fate of the innocent tourists, and bow their heads in shame before the Hong Kong people's sorrow and anger.

That is how it should be, that is only right. But.

To this day, five years after it happened, there is no public record of any Chinese official acknowledging the tourist killings in Tiananmen Square and apologizing to the Madrigals, much less the Filipino people, for the murder of Emmanuel, Regina Mia and Vivian. Not a single expression of regret that the Chinese police failed in their duty to protect the lives of innocent tourists in the very heart of Beijing, in the symbolic center of a state that prides itself most of all for its ability to control and contain disorder. There was a total blackout on the part of the Chinese press, and, according to another news report, government censors quickly blocked many internet sites where Chinese users had begun to post comments about the killing. So we will likely never know what ordinary Chinese citizens had to say about about the incident. Maybe some of them were actually sorry for what happened.

The closest thing to expressed regret was in fact the final reported action of the killer Wang, who waived his right to appeal the sentence of execution, and got a bullet in the back of his head.

To add to the horror, it would appear that the Arroyo administration was complicit in the silence. No public statement was ever made by the Philippine government regarding the incident. Unlike in Hongkong, no flags were flown at half-mast in Manila, and no three-minute silence was observed to mark the deaths of the innocent Filipino tourists. No demand has ever been made by any Filipino official for an apology, and for an accounting.

A full investigation of the Quirino Grandstand killing is ongoing. But what of that other killing, also in August, five years ago in Tiananmen Square?

It was very clear that the notes above was made to mislead the public from the incompetence of our enforcers and our government in solving the hostage crises that happened in Luneta. I hope most internet Filipino users are intelligent enough to see how the two incidents were romanticized heavily.


JEREMAE said...

Mistakes can't be corrected with citing mistakes and adding a new one..

Both incidents ended with tragic results, but it doesn't make a certain incident, a person, a country, a group of people better than the other...

Good post you got here..

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