Re Philippine President Duterte’s “drug war” — I don’t know why it’s only very recently that I remembered this:
My family and I were on a train in Melbourne when a huge man, obviously high on drugs, came on board. Instinctively, I made myself ready to make sure the man could not get near my family, nervously (and, I realize now, laughably) trying to recall what little I had learned about defense and martial arts.
Suddenly, the man fell to the floor, unconscious. The other passengers, who until then had seemed to just ignore the man, now became very concerned for him, with a handful of men coming to his aid, working to revive him and asking, “Mate, are you all right? Do you have your meds with you?” searching his pockets for whatever could help him.
I had expected the police or railway security personnel to come and pick up, that is, arrest the man. But no police, railway security, or any weapon-wielding personnel ever came. Only a medical team arrived.
The train had to stop for a good part of an hour for an ambulance to arrive, treat the man, and take him to some medical facility. All the while as the train stopped, I observed that not a single one among the passengers showed any sign of anger or annoyance toward the man or at the fact that the train was so much delayed because of him. If at all, everyone was concerned for the man.
Everyone, that is, except me. My fear and protective instincts had soon given way to annoyance that my schedule had been so affected by this stranger who could not do anything good with his life. But my annoyance just as soon turned into shame as I observed how the Aussies reacted to the man and the situation.
This was one of the many experiences that made me say, at the end of my family’s stay in Australia, that I realized how much of a barbarian I was and how Australia taught me what a civilized people and society truly was.
Is Duterte’s way the proper, even effective, way to deal with the “drug problem” he says the Philippines has? Perhaps Philippine National Police head Bato de la Rosa, as he has gone to Colombia, should also go to learn from Australia. The highest Colombian officials have admitted that their way has failed. Is Australia, with its different way of dealing with the drug problem, worse off than Colombia?
Perhaps being civilized and caring is really better, after all, than being murderous and maniacal?
Something to think about.