August 7, 2022

What can be done about Duterte?

Yes, the American president is the most powerful man in the world. Yes, he has the launch codes. But there is something unhealthy in the preoccupation of the world’s media with the US presidential campaign at the expense of other world trouble spots.

Donald Trump, who must be the worst major party candidate ever, seems to have incited violence at some of his rallies and has even made vague threats to Hillary Clinton. If you Google “Trump violence”, you will get 82,700,000 results. It’s a live issue, at least in the media.

Google “Duterte violence” and you will get only 971,000 results – about 1% of the figures for Trump. But Mr Duterte has incited thugs, vigilantes and police to kill drug dealers and since he took office on June 30. The Filipino president now has the blood of 3,500 of his own countrymen on his hands. And he is not a buffoon running for President. He is the President.

But it could get worse. This week he cheerfully compared himself to Hitler. “Hitler massacred three million Jews … there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he told a press conference. “You know my victims. I would like (them) to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”

The number of murders in July, August and September is more or less equivalent to the number of civilians killed in Syria. Why doesn’t the world care? It’s probably because Duterte’s victims are drug addicts and dealers. Even if they are, they have a right to life and a right to justice. They are human beings; they are not scum.

The world is demanding the removal of Syria’s President Assad because of the atrocities committed by his regime. It’s time that world leaders called for the removal of President Duterte. 

Michael Cook
The Filipino president has the blood of thousands on his hands
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