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Four Horsemen of the New Normal

Manifestations of Tyranny Amid the Pandemic

Illustration by Gian Catibog

The First Horseman: The Modern Dictator’s Conquest

“I saw, and looked! a dilapidating horseman pretending to be a mended leader. Despite the warning that a huge wave was about to destroy the land, he paid no attention. The horsemen forced his people to lunge the strong current .”​

— Revolution 20:1

As early as January when the first COVID-19 case has been recorded, people have been demanding the state to ban international flights, especially to where the virus came from. Not surprisingly, he insisted to keep in touch with his Trojan allies to protect their self-serving interests.

The Second Horseman: The Warfare and the Orchestrated Killings

“I saw, and looked! a horseman walking restlessly in front of his cavalcade commanding them to prepare armament. He let them mark his words; whoever speaks or disobeys shall be drenched in a plethora of blood.”

— Revolution 20:2

Terrified to the bones would be an understatement to picture out the experiences of the so-called “pasaways.” With only a meager amount of savings the people have, some have resorted to alternative means to fend themselves. However, the parading men do not see them eye to eye, instead they show no mercy by labeling them as protocol violators and slam them in a crammed cell or even, in the dictator’s own words, “shoot them dead.”

The Third Horseman: The Famine and the Poverty Trap

“I saw, and looked! a horseman amassing billions of wealth. Beneath his high horse are the poor and the underserved, asking for loaves of bread. Amid the cry of his people, the horseman swung his leg, gathered his reins, and rode the horse away.”

— Revolution 20:3

Poverty, it is the same old pre-pandemic woe that has been killing a number of Filipino families until today. The pandemic made poverty hyper-visible that the state can no longer push those suffering from it into the shadows. As the series of lockdowns paralyzes the whole economy, it creates the “worst job crisis” in the country.

The Last Horseman: The Death of Tyranny

“I saw, and looked! the last horseman, but he isn’t alone. The grave might have been following them, but they were too many to be defeated. They were fiercer than the beast and stronger than the plague. It is happening — the final horseman is the revolution.”

— Revolution 20:4

A few reckon that the landscape of fear and chaos is doomed to be repeated after a tyrant is replaced by another. It has been decades but the ills of society were never truly resolved. When the pandemic creeps into the land, the new dictator builds the exact weaponries that kill and jeopardize every Filipino’s basic freedom. They are faced with a vicious fascist, relentless human rights violations, and enforced poverty, which are all weaponized during the consecutive months of lockdown.

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The Manila Collegian

The Official Student Publication of the University of the Philippines Manila. Magna est veritas et prevaelebit.