Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Musa Dimasidsing: Political Involvement, Maguindanao and the Human Development Index

Kudos to Nick for his efforts in making sure we remember Musa Dimasidsing and his sacrifice. Back in 2005, in a discussion over at mlq3's, i commented that apathy is not exactly a bad thing:

As stated in [Albert] Hirschman’s Exit, Voice & Loyalty on the finding that “citizens do not normally use more than a fraction of their political resources…a degree of apathy was found to have some compensating advantages in as much as it contributes to the stability and flexibility of a political system and provides for ‘reserves’ of political resources which can be thrown into battle in crisis situations.

It’s of course an ongoing debate whether Filipinos are taking this political slack too far in one direction, but we as a people have shown ourselves to be instinctively pragmatic. That we don’t take it upon ourselves to send even those who are deemed deserving to hell may be good or bad depending a given situation but it’s certainly not a national trait to be ashamed of [emphasis added].

Where i find middle class apathy inexcusable and shortsighted is in its acceptance of inequality. Whatever empathy we manage to express could be better put to use in trying to figure out how Maguindanao HDI’s (which is about 50 ‘countries’* down in ranking compared to Manila) can be improved.
Since writing the above, subsequent events have led me to the conclusion that we Filipinos *do* allow for too much political slack (i.e. apathy) whether it's because of too much stoicism or because we simply don't care enough to get involved. We have to leave it to a resident of our poorest province to step up to the plate. Next to Musa Dimasidsing's example, i guess we really do need to be ashamed.

*In that thread, Manolo Quezon pointed out that among the Philippine provinces, Maguindanao is the lowest ranked in terms of the Human Development Indicators (HDI), with a score comparable to Zimbabwe's.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Well said CVJ, thank you for participating... I encountered someone during my rounds in inviting bloggers to the project, someone who bluntly said he was politically apathetic.

I have to admit, I was angered at the response... But then I stepped back, and realized, that this apathy is not a minority problem, it seems to be representative of the majority..

And hopefully, bloggers such as ourselves will help in exacting a change in this attitude..

Your post has been added to the project, again, thank you for participating..