Riot is such a heavy word. When I hear the word RIOT, the next word that comes is PANIC then third word that comes is STAMPEDE and the fourth is not a word, but a movie titled 28 DAYS LATER. Okay, I know 28 DAYS LATER is an exaggeration, a fictional material that elevates it to the highest, scientific and gruesome level, but it is a form of riot nonetheless.
In the Philippines, we always have something to lobby against. We never lose our voices and we treasure the freedom to express ourselves. We maximize democracy as much as we maximize our nationality. Of course we have had major slips of military sieges in swanky hotels that were forms of unnecessary joke. WE have had long walks and demonstrations in commercial areas that were often scheduled, but we try as much as possible not to hurt or destroy something. WE might either believe in KARMA, in RESPECT for LIFE and in GOD too much for our own good. There were countless of times that people were passionately demonstrating their causes as I walk to the nearby mall to buy something. I’ve never seen buildings thrashed or cars put on fire in my city. Occasional gunshots and military presence are usually confined in a specific area.
But reading about the Greek Riot for the past couple of days just upsets me. Pictures of cars set in flames in the city streets, buildings thrashed, people pained while lobbying for their cause, people running and confronted by the police, people shouting and throwing hurtful to flammable things at some people or building. It’s really not a pleasant set of pictures when you know it’s real. These things should only happen in movies; and knowing that the Greeks who come from ancestors who hail from having ethereal pride of renowned sense and thinking, just doesn’t reconcile.
The riot was fueled by the fatal shooting of a 15 year old boy in the sensitive and leftist area of Exarchia District. The police responsible were arrested, but the people’s anger continued to sweep the streets. Universities and some institutions are closed as sign of mourning his funeral on Tuesday, while other businesses WOULD have to remain close for their own safety until the riot has eased.
Painful memories and conclusions are automatically released in such a negative way that it continues the circle of violence. Who benefits? It’s true that sometimes we have to fight and put down organizations that cause it. We do necessary things to make sure we are heard, but it should eliminate destruction and continuous killing. Whoever says justice can be achieved by massive, random attacks by supposedly CIVILIZED people? A mass of peaceful people closing in on the streets hand in hand, in peaceful lobbying is still the best way to overwhelm and disarm. They should've even maximized the Christmas season, it might have helped. In peaceful lobbying we gag them with sense and sensibility. In attacks we poke them to fight back. RIOT is NOT something made to be rational. It’s an outward release of powerful surge of emotions anytime, anyhow, anywhere that it hurts. Anyone could be a victim and that’s why it’s scary.