Of Glass Houses


Written on 12:31 AM by isko b. doo

The phrase “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” was first traced to Geoffrey Chaucer’s in his Troilus and Criseyde in 1385. Some centuries later, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Don’t throw stones at you neighbors’ if your own windows are glass.”

These gave birth to the figure of speech “to live in a glass house,” which essentially means vulnerability. Simply put, that means we shouldn’t criticize others if we are as flawed, or even worse as they are.

The above figure of speech comes to mind after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo urged Burmese Prime Minister Soe Win over the weekend to free opposition leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and take concrete steps towards democracy.

The call to free 61-year old Suu Kyi, who has been under arrest on and off since 1989, is warranted and should be the primary agenda to every Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit for it would be pointless to discuss economic cooperation while condoning the actions of delinquent members.

But the call coming from Ms. Arroyo just leaves a bad taste in the mouth in the heels of international demands for her to clean up her own backyard littered with human rights violations and political killings.

Consider the 2006 Amnesty International (AI) report, which blasted the Arroyo administration due to a sharp increase in vigilante killings. Since 2001, according to the report, there have been 785 extra-judicial killings. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also reported that bullets felled 48 journalists since the President assumed power.

It’s noteworthy to remember that not one suspect to the more than 800 murders served jail term. Out of the 114 political killings recorded by Task Force Usig, the body created to look into the murders, 27 cases have been filed in court while the rest are still under investigation. Of the 27 cases, the police only arrested suspects in three suspects. Up to now, no conviction has been reported.

Because of Malacañang record, or lack thereof, the Council of the European Union; the Finland, Spain, France, Canada and Japan governments; the Asian Human Rights Commission; the Human Rights Watch; and religious groups like the United Church of Christ in Canada and the United Methodist Church in the US called on Ms. Arroyo to do something about the killings.

The Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce, along with Wal-Mart, Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Phillips Van Heusen, American Eagle Outfitters, also demanded a stop to the killings or risk losing investments.

In light of her dismal record, I wonder how the President got the idea that she has the moral authority to make the call? Ms. Arroyo’s insistence for Burma to clean up its act is nothing but hot air -- a case of a kettle calling the pot black.

Would the Burmese Junta listen? Not from a fellow delinquent, it won’t.

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1 Comment

  1. ev |

    you actually have a point..but what else is new to GMA!?


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