The state is more than the government that runs it in the name of the people. In the same way, a country is not equals the group of individuals who govern it in the name of its citizenry.
That is why governments come and go. But the state remains. And so it is that government officials live and die. Yet the country is there still.
The well-known AFP CD “Knowing Your Enemy” could have been made with a good intention. It might have been produced with a noble finality. Yet, it started with a radically wrong premise.
It wrongly assumes that those dissenting with the government are necessarily the enemies of the state. It works on the false premise that human rights advocates, opposition political activities, church people protesting government actions or inactions are all inimical to the state.
The truth is that it is possible that a given government could be in effect the enemy of the State. When government officials have become the curse instead of the blessing of the people, then the former not the later are the enemies of the country.
It is this living and standing truth that explains the rise and fall of governments, the naming and denaming of government officials. Yet, in such series of changes in the national level, the state remains, the nation stands.
In fact, the Philippines has repeatedly experienced this empirical truth when its government has become its own enemy. And the Filipinos did away with it. That was why the Spanish, Japanese and American governments had to leave the country. That was why there were EDSA I and EDSA 2. That is why there are periodic elections that change governments. And in all these, the Philippines as a State remain, subsist, endure.
The truth is that when a government makes it harder and harder for its citizens to find work, to feed their families, to educate their children, and they therefore stage rallies, join marches, voice their resentment and dissent, is it possible that it is their government that has in fact become the enemy of the State?
16 April 2005