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Silence and apathy: The Ateneo way

It’s true. Most of my fellow students, save for some student organizations, have become immersed in their culture of silence and apathy that even now, during this time of great turpitude, it seems as though we neither know nor even care at all where we stand.

Even as the body of a thief and a mass murderer was laid to rest in what can only be described as a desecration of the most hallowed grounds of the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), we were silent.

Even today as we commemorate the life and deeds of Andres Bonifacio. Even today as we commemorate a man who was at the forefront of the Revolution—the very same man who waged war for our freedom, but was betrayed, killed, and buried in an unmarked grave. Even today as we commemorate a true hero, we remain idle.

I’ve seen how vocal my fellow students can become when faced with certain issues. I’ve seen my fellow students talk with great passion and conviction about their advocacies towards the environment. I’ve seen my fellow students talk a big game about “Magis,” about promoting social justice, about being men and women for others— but where are these students now?

Why is there silence? Where is the rage? Where is the spark— the fire that has been attributed to Ateneo de Davao for its past bouts of activism?

We claim to be “men and women for others,” and yet I’ve seen more students preach about “moving on” from martial law, than students who cry out justice for the victims.

We claim to advocate for “social justice,” and yet I’ve seen more students irked by the presence of activists outside the school gates, than be outraged by the deceitful burial of Marcos Sr. at the LNMB.

I’ve even heard students talk about not taking sides, I’ve even seen more students romanticize their apathy because they supposedly “wanted to get their facts right,” than students who’ve actually taken to the streets in protest.

If you are one among those who preach about “moving on” in a time when our government has victimized us once again with injustice, you are part of the problem.

If you are not angry, if you are not outraged—you are part of the problem.

If you choose to remain silent—if you choose to “not take sides,” you are part of the problem.

In your apathy and in your silence, you are invalidating the martyrdom of over 3, 200 individuals during martial law, and the countless others who suffered during that decade.

In your apathy and in your silence, you are siding with the oppressors. The very same oppressors that the Filipino youth so valiantly fought against during the 70s, the very same oppressors that the Filipino people finally ousted during the People Power Revolution of 1986.

At a time when injustice has once again reigned, to be merely apathetic, and be silent is deplorable. Now is the time we Ateneans, as true men and women for others and true advocates of social justice, take sides; now is the time we decide if we bow our heads down, or stand on the right side of history.

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