Thursday, September 30, 2010

This is not 1896

As with several other nights, I had logged on Facebook and set out to do nothing but lazy surfing. Having spent an entire day of activities - co-organizing the LSG's UP President's forum, supervising the day's agenda for the Graduation Committee, attending our penultimate class in PubOff, and attending a testimonial dinner for the UP Bar Operations - and with an equally long day tomorrow, getting riled up on a national issue was certainly something that I did not expect to get into.

As I write this, culture and history savant Carlos Celdran has just been thrown in jail and criminally charged with 'offending religious feelings' under Art. 133 of the Revised Penal Code after having engaged in a peaceful (though certainly creative and entertaining) protest in the Manila Cathedral.

However, even as I also write this, a Free Carlos Celdran fanpage has been set up on Facebook and has gathered more than 1,500 fans in a few hours. Facebook and Twitter too are buzzing with reactions to the utterly medieval treatment of which Celdran has been an object. Whether it be with sighs of lament or with active calls at religious disobedience, the internet has once again brought life to what would otherwise be a dull evening.

Interestingly, as early as five years ago, I'd never have imagined a protest movement being ignited so quickly and so fervently. And as I wrote in a previous entry, I can only watch in awe as emotions that are as real as they come, are poured out in online channels. What is more interesting, and I say this confidence (being a EX-seminarian), I'm certain that an archaic institution is utterly ill-equipped in dealing with a movement fueled by new technologies and social media. I mean, just what are they gonna do, censure heretic tweets? Burn us on virtual stakes? Excommunicate us from an analog community?

Where once they managed to push their way around, they just have to realize: it's 2010, not 1896.

Entry No. 16

No comments: