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FROM THE INQUIRER

BY MA. CERES DOYO: LANDING ON THE SPRATLYS 25 YEARS AGO


JULY 14 -Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
I put aside the piece I have written for today to give way to another, to celebrate the positive ruling two days ago of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague on the Philippines’ complaint, junking China’s intrusion and claim over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). I jumped for joy when I heard the news announced by the grim-faced acting Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay of the Duterte administration. But thank you, former president Benigno S. Aquino, former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and the legal team, for bravely pursuing the case against a bully nation. Throwback Thursday. I am resurrecting a piece I wrote 25 years ago in this space. I also wrote a long, two-part series for the Sunday Inquirer Magazine. I was one of the first two journalists to have stepped on the disputed Spratlys in June 1991. SPRATLY GROUP OF ISLANDS—Suddenly there it was, Pag-asa, a little green island floating on a sea of turquoise blue. Our small plane felt like a feather floating in that windy vastness. And I remembered the famous pilot-philosopher Antoine de Saint Exupery’s words: “Below the sea of clouds lies eternity.” The Air Force’s 10-seater Nomad plane circled just a little longer to allow us to feast our eyes on the proverbial emerald isle and then came down with a light thud on a runway abloom with dandelions. Spratly, at last, after three years of waiting. Spratly, at last, after some two hours of eternal sea and sky. Figuratively, we were in the middle of nowhere. More accurately, we were far into the South China Sea, 278 nautical miles off Puerto Princesa, Palawan, far enough for us to say we were no longer on the regular map of the Philippines. But make no mistake, we were definitely still on Philippine soil. (The volcanic ash from the June Mount Pinatubo eruption has travelled up to here.) READ MORE...

ALSO: By Peter Wallace - Figures that would make you want to cry


JULY 14 -Peter Wallace
Look at these numbers: Rice yield in the Philippines is 3.9 metric tons per hectare; in Vietnam it’s 5.6 mt/ha. For corn, it’s 2.9 vs. 4.4; coconut 4.3 vs. 9.7; sugarcane 5.8 vs. 6.5; coffee 0.34 vs. 2.5; cassava 10.9 vs. 17.9. It gets worse: Overall, the income per hectare is $340 per year vs. $1,063, while exports is $4 billion per year vs. $34 billion. Due to lower agricultural production, the Philippines is a “net importer” of food products (over $1 billion every year). Vietnam produces more than what its population needs, enabling the country to be a “net exporter” of food products ($5.6 billion per annum). These comparative figures show that previous administrations failed dismally to look after the rural folk, to give their people enough low-cost food, and to generate wealth for the country. In the Philippines, poverty is worst in agricultural areas with farmers among the least-paid workers, earning a measly P160 a day—that is, if they ever get paid at all (family members, who statistics say are part of the labor force, are paid nothing). A country with rich soils, favorable climate and plenty of space can’t feed its too rapidly growing population. This is a national disgrace. So it’s most welcome that the newly installed President Duterte, who comes from a rural area, has appointed a farmer on top of his agriculture department and has declared that agriculture will now finally be given the importance it deserves. I certainly hope he makes true this pronouncement. Politicians are expert in making promises but demonstrably inept in fulfilling them, as the numbers I earlier cited in this piece prove. Duterte promises action, and in the first few weeks of his presidency, it looks like his administration has been doing a lot of “action” in many fields. So there’s hope. I’m no agricultural expert, but some things seem pretty clear to me as to where the failures lie. I could be wrong, of course, but let me elaborate: High on the list is water or the lack of water where it’s needed. Small dams and embankments, and canals connecting to larger dams, are needed. Collect the water when there’s too much of it (during La Niña) so we can provide enough for our farms when there’s none (El Niño). I leave government to decide on who pays for it, but I don’t like subsidizing anything without a strong justification. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - Equipped for Rio?


JULY 17 -PH OLYMPIC BET CRUSHED! Now that the curtains have fallen on the Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament, we can stand back and assess the performance of Gilas Pilipinas without the emotion pushed forward by a passionate home crowd and the gracious, glowing words of encouragement from world-class rivals about the marked improvement of the Philippines’ basketball program. Here are the facts: The Philippines is still far from the level it needs to be to compete consistently against the giants—literally—of the sport. The beloved national basketball team’s dream of making it to the Olympics will remain a dream for the meantime. A return to the world stage via Fiba’s restructured World Cup will be easier to swing, because the tournament opens more slots to Asia than the Olympics does. With only one continental berth available for the Summer Games, it is clear that it will take some time before the Philippines participates in Olympic basketball. At the very least, Rio de Janeiro is out. And Tokyo 2020 might be a tad too optimistic at this point. Far be it from us, however, to discourage the privately funded Gilas Pilipinas from continuing to seek its place in the Olympic Games. After all, the group that bankrolls the basketball program is free to set whatever goals it wants for the team. The point, which isn’t the only one we will be making here, is that the return on hundreds of millions of pesos in investment (if you count the money also spent on hosting prestigious tournaments like the OQT) will be far better if Gilas Pilipinas focuses on continuing to be an Asian elite and at the same time tries to get into the qualification-friendly World Cup. Yet, the Olympics is well within the sights of other Filipino athletes a few of whom have a shot at a medal. So far, for Rio this year, 12 Filipino athletes have made the grade for the Summer Games. These 12 athletes have slim-to-none chances of finding the Holy Grail—an Olympic gold medal—with the best chance favoring the weight-classified events that allow pure talent and skill to trump physical edges. That trains the spotlight on the Philippines’ boxing and taekwondo bets. And it is good to note that the war chest into which the basketball program dips its hand is the same one that bankrolls boxing and taekwondo. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Rina David - Rampage in Nice


JULY 17 -In the algorithm of grief, how do we figure out the truck attack on holiday-makers in Nice? We in the news trade have a formula of sorts to determine the “worth” of a story. We go by what is known in J-school as the “elements” of news. Significance: How important is this story, how many people will it affect? Prominence: How well-known or important are the people involved? Proximity: How near did an event occur to the location of the reader? Timing: How recently did it occur? Other elements that may add to or detract from the value of a story are: oddity, drama, or what is otherwise known as “human interest.” Another interpretation of the hierarchy of news values is the situation depicted by a well-known cartoon strip. A plane full of white politicians and rich business people crashes into a mountain. Of course, the story lands on the front pages and the prime newscasts of most newspapers and TV stations around the world. At about the same time, another plane, with the same number of passengers who are as a whole poor “ordinary” travelers, also crashes. Where does the story land in the media? Depending on where the passengers or airline originated, it could end up on the front page or in “foreign” news. But it’s doubtful if the tragedy would merit international or even regional coverage. “Objectivity” may be a prime value among journalists, but we all know that a thousand things color the judgments made by reporters, desk people, editors, and even readers every day. And the judgments journalists render depends very much on who we are, what we value, and who or what we think is important. As another journalist said, tongue-in-cheek, at a media conference: “News is whatever interests an editor at a particular time.” If the editor of a paper is a stamp collector, chances are the sale of a rare stamp will merit front-page treatment. * * * Which brings us back to Nice. In previous weeks and months, there were several posts on social media commenting on the varying degrees of coverage of the sadly escalating number of “terrorist” attacks in different parts of the world. While there was almost blanket coverage of shootings, suicide bombings and attacks carried out in Europe and in the United States, many observed, similar rampages, with perhaps even more victims, carried out in the Middle East, Africa and Asia were largely ignored by international media. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Landing on the Spratlys 25 years ago


Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

MANILA, JULY 18, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Ma. Ceres P. Doyo @inquirerdotnet 12:28 AM July 14th, 2016 - I put aside the piece I have written for today to give way to another, to celebrate the positive ruling two days ago of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague on the Philippines’ complaint, junking China’s intrusion and claim over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

I jumped for joy when I heard the news announced by the grim-faced acting Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay of the Duterte administration.

But thank you, former president Benigno S. Aquino, former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and the legal team, for bravely pursuing the case against a bully nation.

Throwback Thursday. I am resurrecting a piece I wrote 25 years ago in this space. I also wrote a long, two-part series for the Sunday Inquirer Magazine. I was one of the first two journalists to have stepped on the disputed Spratlys in June 1991.

SPRATLY GROUP OF ISLANDS—Suddenly there it was, Pag-asa, a little green island floating on a sea of turquoise blue. Our small plane felt like a feather floating in that windy vastness. And I remembered the famous pilot-philosopher Antoine de Saint Exupery’s words: “Below the sea of clouds lies eternity.”

The Air Force’s 10-seater Nomad plane circled just a little longer to allow us to feast our eyes on the proverbial emerald isle and then came down with a light thud on a runway abloom with dandelions.

Spratly, at last, after three years of waiting. Spratly, at last, after some two hours of eternal sea and sky. Figuratively, we were in the middle of nowhere. More accurately, we were far into the South China Sea, 278 nautical miles off Puerto Princesa, Palawan, far enough for us to say we were no longer on the regular map of the Philippines. But make no mistake, we were definitely still on Philippine soil. (The volcanic ash from the June Mount Pinatubo eruption has travelled up to here.)

READ MORE...

We stepped out into the open and were met by men wearing deep brown faces. If not for their snappy salutes and weather-beaten uniforms, they could have come straight out of Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.”


LT GEN LOVEN C ABADIA O-4484 AFP 20th Commanding General, PAF 19 April 1991- 08 August 1992
LT GEN LOVEN C ABADIA AFP was born in Talisay, Cebu on 08 August 1936. FROM PHILIPPINE AIRFORCE WEBSITE.

Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Loven Abadia was on his first visit here as commanding general and we were invited to come along. Among those with him were Brig. Gen. Ciriaco Reconquista, commander of the Palawan-based 570th Composite Tactical Wing, and Col. Felix Duenas Jr., the Air Force’s chief for planning.

Theirs was no after-thought visit. Talk of timing … I will be writing an extensive feature (with photographs) on the Spratly Islands sometime in July in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, my home base.

In the recent weeks, the issue about the Spratly Islands (Kalayaan or Freedom Group of Islands to us Filipino claimants) was again in the international news.

Time magazine had three pages on it. “A flash-point” is how these islands are always called, and this gives a sudden cold flash in the spine considering that there are six other formidable Asian nations (Vietnam, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and recently Brunei) making claims to the rest of the 53 islands rumored to be floating on oil.

“Occupancy is possession,” says Abadia. That seems to be the law of the sea in these parts.

SINCE 1950s

Since the 1950s when the Philippines took over nine islands, Philippine troops have always been stationed here. We now have only eight islands, fewer than some countries have. When the Philippines abandoned Pugad island eight years ago, Vietnam right away took over and has since held on to it. There are always takers.

Pag-asa, the main and biggest Philippine-owned island (32.6 hectares), is where most of the Air Force and Navy troops are stationed. There is a weather station here manned by a civilian. The seven other islands have men watching over them, too. Security prevents me from divulging how many men are stationed on every island.

But this I can say —the other nations have more resources with which to protect their island-gems. “We either take care of these islands or give them up,” Abadia says.

1970s

In the 1970s there were more soldiers stationed on the islands. Not anymore. “Somewhere along the way, this place was forsaken.” Why? “Ask the politicians,” Abadia snaps.

It’s no joke being assigned to the Spratlys or Kalayaan, unless one has the predisposition of a monk or a hermit. The next Navy ship will come probably in January of next year. Only light planes can land and they come every few months. Occasionally big fishing boats come and the soldiers are happy to see new faces.

After several months, the men have to be replaced with a fresh batch because the solitude and desolation during the monsoon months turn some soldiers into overnight poets and they are moved to write lachrymose verses on walls and bathrooms. (We copied some of them.)

There are some resilient mainstays though (maybe the hazard pay is an incentive) and one wonders how they are able to stay sane. The piles of gin bottles say it all. There are no women there except “Gina.” Of course there have been tales about men talking to the waves. But with the advent of VCRs the loneliness has become bearable. And what sort of shows do they watch? “Mostly bold,” says a junior grade Navy lieutenant. “And war movies starring Telly Savalas.” The men in other foreign-occupied islands must be just as lonely.

So why should there be fear of war on these islands?

“It is a historical fact that people and nations fight over resources,” Abadia serves a reminder. “In the next generation the area of conflict will be the sea because it is the source of food. If there are resources in Kalayaan we have to defend them.”

Before leaving, Abadia gave a pep talk and promised to send as many tapes as he could find. Also a freezer. The men had stars in their eyes.

* * *

The three-day 3rd Philippine Conference on New Evangelization starts tomorrow at the UST Millennium Hall, hosted by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.


Figures that would make you want to cry By: Peter Wallace @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:26 AM July 14th, 2016


Peter Wallace

Look at these numbers: Rice yield in the Philippines is 3.9 metric tons per hectare; in Vietnam it’s 5.6 mt/ha. For corn, it’s 2.9 vs. 4.4; coconut 4.3 vs. 9.7; sugarcane 5.8 vs. 6.5; coffee 0.34 vs. 2.5; cassava 10.9 vs. 17.9.

It gets worse: Overall, the income per hectare is $340 per year vs. $1,063, while exports is $4 billion per year vs. $34 billion. Due to lower agricultural production, the Philippines is a “net importer” of food products (over $1 billion every year). Vietnam produces more than what its population needs, enabling the country to be a “net exporter” of food products ($5.6 billion per annum).

These comparative figures show that previous administrations failed dismally to look after the rural folk, to give their people enough low-cost food, and to generate wealth for the country.

In the Philippines, poverty is worst in agricultural areas with farmers among the least-paid workers, earning a measly P160 a day—that is, if they ever get paid at all (family members, who statistics say are part of the labor force, are paid nothing).

A country with rich soils, favorable climate and plenty of space can’t feed its too rapidly growing population. This is a national disgrace. So it’s most welcome that the newly installed President Duterte, who comes from a rural area, has appointed a farmer on top of his agriculture department and has declared that agriculture will now finally be given the importance it deserves. I certainly hope he makes true this pronouncement.

Politicians are expert in making promises but demonstrably inept in fulfilling them, as the numbers I earlier cited in this piece prove. Duterte promises action, and in the first few weeks of his presidency, it looks like his administration has been doing a lot of “action” in many fields. So there’s hope.

I’m no agricultural expert, but some things seem pretty clear to me as to where the failures lie. I could be wrong, of course, but let me elaborate:

LACK OF WATER

High on the list is water or the lack of water where it’s needed. Small dams and embankments, and canals connecting to larger dams, are needed. Collect the water when there’s too much of it (during La Niña) so we can provide enough for our farms when there’s none (El Niño). I leave government to decide on who pays for it, but I don’t like subsidizing anything without a strong justification.

READ MORE...

The second is seed. I’m a firm believer in seeds modified to improve yield and to be resistant to diseases and bugs. If some people want “natural” food, fine; then let’s have boutique farms to provide them with what they want, at whatever cost. But make accessible affordable food to the majority of Filipinos.

Third on the list are the greedy, unconscionable middlemen who rip off the farmers and push their backs against the wall (read: unlivable income levels), and then sell what they squeeze from them, at excessive, unjustifiable price levels, to consumers who can ill-afford to pay. Take them out of the process.

Roads come next, particularly farm-to-market roads, which are essential to bringing farm products to the market, fresh and unbruised. Let’s have smooth, paved roads to link our farms to the markets.

I have long argued that the law mandating the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program has a serious defect: It makes mandatory the breakup of all agricultural lands (“CARP should remain a fish,” Opinion, 3/19/15). “All or nothing” is, almost always, not the way to go. Some crops need large-scale farming to be efficiently produced.

Also, large plantations need professional management. Many poor farmers would welcome working for a responsible plantation owner who provides them with a full-time jobs—as well as housing and medical facilities and free schooling for their families and children. With this kind of arrangement, we may even become a net exporter of agricultural products.

And let’s open long-term—at least, 50 years—agricultural leasing to foreigners. Let’s have Tyson, Kraft Heinz and Archer Daniels Midland producing here the raw materials they need for their worldwide markets. The benefits in the form of jobs created, civic works and community support more than justify this suggestion. Not too long ago, I argued that the National Food Authority be stripped of its power to engage in and control rice trading (“Give the consumer a break,” 11/12/15). If it were left to the market to freely trade rice, the retail price of rice would halve. On this, there was no reaction from the Aquino administration or the public. Does no one care that you could pay P19.80 per kilogram of rice instead of P33.08?


Piñol

Perhaps Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol can take a serious, urgent look into this and keep in mind that rice self-sufficiency is not the way to go. Rice-sufficiency, yes. There must be an ample buffer stock (Secretary Piñol suggests six months) of rice, given the vagaries of weather that we endure. That stock can be enhanced with imports.

Let’s face it: Rice self-sufficiency has been a 70-year-long failure through 11 administrations. It will continue to be so; therefore let our farmers shift to more profitable crops and let’s just import the shortfall in rice production from those who produce rice cheaper.

By coincidence, Toti Chikiamco and Ciel Habito raised the same subject this week, highlighting the importance of dealing with the issue.

An estimated 4 million malnourished children in the country and 3.1 million families suffering involuntary hunger during the first quarter of 2016 (based on an SWS survey)—the figures would make you want to cry.


Equipped for Rio? @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:20 AM July 17th, 2016


Now that the curtains have fallen on the Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament, we can stand back and assess the performance of Gilas Pilipinas without the emotion pushed forward by a passionate home crowd and the gracious, glowing words of encouragement from world-class rivals about the marked improvement of the Philippines’ basketball program.

Here are the facts: The Philippines is still far from the level it needs to be to compete consistently against the giants—literally—of the sport. The beloved national basketball team’s dream of making it to the Olympics will remain a dream for the meantime. A return to the world stage via Fiba’s restructured World Cup will be easier to swing, because the tournament opens more slots to Asia than the Olympics does. With only one continental berth available for the Summer Games, it is clear that it will take some time before the Philippines participates in Olympic basketball.

At the very least, Rio de Janeiro is out. And Tokyo 2020 might be a tad too optimistic at this point.

Far be it from us, however, to discourage the privately funded Gilas Pilipinas from continuing to seek its place in the Olympic Games. After all, the group that bankrolls the basketball program is free to set whatever goals it wants for the team. The point, which isn’t the only one we will be making here, is that the return on hundreds of millions of pesos in investment (if you count the money also spent on hosting prestigious tournaments like the OQT) will be far better if Gilas Pilipinas focuses on continuing to be
an Asian elite and at the same time tries to get into the qualification-friendly World Cup.

Yet, the Olympics is well within the sights of other Filipino athletes a few of whom have a shot at a medal. So far, for Rio this year, 12 Filipino athletes have made the grade for the Summer Games.

These 12 athletes have slim-to-none chances of finding the Holy Grail—an Olympic gold medal—with the best chance favoring the weight-classified events that allow pure talent and skill to trump physical edges. That trains the spotlight on the Philippines’ boxing and taekwondo bets. And it is good to note that the war chest into which the basketball program dips its hand is the same one that bankrolls boxing and taekwondo.

READ MORE...

But these sports need more than just the same amount of financing that Gilas Pilipinas gets. They also need the same support lavished on the national basketball team. Congress was willing to squeeze the Filipinization of Andray Blatche into its packed schedule. (An aside: The practice is common among sports heavyweights, not just basketball. Even top football countries boost their stock with naturalized players.) Imagine the training opportunities for other national athletes from a government willing to put its time and resources at their disposal.

The country proved it could rally behind the pipe dream of an overwhelmingly outmatched national basketball team. Imagine how much more engaged and inspired the Rio-bound athletes would be if they receive the same show of love.

Even long-shot athletes like hurdler Eric Cray, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and long jumper Marestella
Torres deserve the same kind of support that Gilas Pilipinas gets because all they may have is a whisper of a chance (but a chance nonetheless).

Basketball, meanwhile, is officially out of it right now. Still, Gilas Pilipinas’ financiers have every right to funnel their cash into the national basketball program. And the fans have every right to passionately support the athlete or team after their own heart. No way are they going to be deprived of that choice. What can be done is to point them to a reality that they should now recognize:

Basketball’s dream of the Olympics has dissipated, but that same dream lives in the other Filipino athletes who are traveling to Rio to win medals and honor for their motherland. This daring dozen needs everyone’s support, to ensure that they are fully equipped and ready to make the best out of that single shot at attaining Olympic glory.


Rampage in Nice SHARES: 7 VIEW COMMENTS By: Rina Jimenez-David @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:09 AM July 17th, 2016

In the algorithm of grief, how do we figure out the truck attack on holiday-makers in Nice?

We in the news trade have a formula of sorts to determine the “worth” of a story. We go by what is known in J-school as the “elements” of news. Significance: How important is this story, how many people will it affect? Prominence: How well-known or important are the people involved? Proximity: How near did an event occur to the location of the reader? Timing: How recently did it occur? Other elements that may add to or detract from the value of a story are: oddity, drama, or what is otherwise known as “human interest.”

Another interpretation of the hierarchy of news values is the situation depicted by a well-known cartoon strip. A plane full of white politicians and rich business people crashes into a mountain. Of course, the story lands on the front pages and the prime newscasts of most newspapers and TV stations around the world. At about the same time, another plane, with the same number of passengers who are as a whole poor “ordinary” travelers, also crashes. Where does the story land in the media? Depending on where the passengers or airline originated, it could end up on the front page or in “foreign” news. But it’s doubtful if the tragedy would merit international or even regional coverage.

“Objectivity” may be a prime value among journalists, but we all know that a thousand things color the judgments made by reporters, desk people, editors, and even readers every day. And the judgments journalists render depends very much on who we are, what we value, and who or what we think is important.

As another journalist said, tongue-in-cheek, at a media conference: “News is whatever interests an editor at a particular time.” If the editor of a paper is a stamp collector, chances are the sale of a rare stamp will merit front-page treatment.

* * *

Which brings us back to Nice.

In previous weeks and months, there were several posts on social media commenting on the varying degrees of coverage of the sadly escalating number of “terrorist” attacks in different parts of the world. While there was almost blanket coverage of shootings, suicide bombings and attacks carried out in Europe and in the United States, many observed, similar rampages, with perhaps even more victims, carried out in the Middle East, Africa and Asia were largely ignored by international media.

READ MORE...

Or, there may have been obligatory coverage, but the “tone” of the coverage and commentary—so difficult to measure by any metric—was so much more muted or perfunctory for incidents that took place in the developing world, or involving people of color.

There are those who will raise an eyebrow at the emotional reaction in the days after the Bastille Day truck attack. But one point we need to remember is that, aside from the locale of the scene of mayhem and murder, the victims were people of different races and faiths, including some Tunisian migrants to France, like the prime suspect who was found dead when the truck he was driving finally came to a stop.

* * *

And human interest there was and is aplenty in Nice.

“There are a lot of crazy people in this world,” Madame Bourmault, who lives two minutes from the promenade or seaside walk where the attack took place, told The Guardian.

“What else can you say?” she added, recalling the early hours of the celebration when “in a fraction of a second, the music stopped and there was a lot of screaming. Everyone was running and no one was helping.”

By latest count, 84 people, including 10 children, were killed that Thursday night. A total of 202 people were injured, while 52 remain in critical care, including three or four children in “extremely critical condition.”

The most interesting, compelling and mystifying human interest story from the tragedy is that of the attacker, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who was born in Tunis but had lived in France for many years. Working as a chauffeur and delivery man, Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had had a history of making threats and of violence and petty theft, police in Nice said. In both instances when he was haled to court, the driver was handed suspended sentences.

But so far he has not been linked to terror organizations nor has there been “evidence of radicalization,” as was the case with other suspects involved in terrorist attacks. Many of them were migrants—or even residents—who seemed to have been drawn to radicalism, particularly the type espoused by the Islamic State, through the internet or during visits to their countries of origin.

* * *

There is a strong possibility that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was what law enforcers call a “lone wolf.” And it is frightening indeed that “crazy people,” or simply individuals with deep-seated personal resentments that they have projected onto the bigger society, can find ideological, cultural, or even religious justifications for their actions.

And the sad truth of the matter is that the media may have something to do with this development. Is it possible that the coverage we have given to mass attacks and massacres have not only fired up the imagination of unhinged individuals, but have also given them blueprints for bringing their deadly impulses to life?

In the wake of the rampage in Nice in the midst of fireworks to celebrate Bastille Day, it is difficult to remain immune to feelings of horror, anger, shock and grief at this story. How one man felt no compunction about ramming into a crowd of revelers, all of whom wanted nothing more than to gather by the seaside to celebrate a country’s independence, is a matter for reflection, and for remembering, now, more than ever, to live as if each day is your last.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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