What, me worry?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-09-14

“What, me worry” was the assigned motto of Alfred E. Neuman, the MAD Magazine central character that was created by Harvey Kurtzman in the 1950s.

MAD Magazine was a creative satire of what happens in US society and the “What, me worry” line was intended to underscore the gravity of certain situations that contrasted with the idiocy of people who are oblivious to what can be very detrimental to them.

Thus, when there was a very real possibility that a nuclear war is looming in the horizon ‑ such that happened during the John F. Kennedy era’s Cuban Missile Crisis — Alfred E. Neuman, with his missing tooth and blank stare will react with “What, me worry.”

The image of Alfred E. Neuman keeps popping up in mind lately as I witness the pitiful state of the Information Gap that prevents our people from appreciating the full extent of the crisis that confronts our country today. Filipinos are too focused on thinking about where to get the next meal and do not realize at all that they may soon be dragged into a state of civil war or lose a major part of Philippine territory in order to serve the geopolitical agenda of a superpower.

Professor Emmanuel Q. Yap reminds us of Webster’s definition of an idiot as one who does not know the truth and Professor Yap is right in saying that there are many idiots in our country today. Not all the idiots of Philippine society come from the lower socio-economic strata of society. A lot of them are also in the upper and middle classes. In other words, idiocy or the inability to know the truth is a national mental problem.

One of the sectors that are infected with idiocy is Philippine media. Despite all the indicators of a US hand in the promotion of the BJE (Bangsamoro Juridical Entity), Philippine media has generally failed to bring the issue to the level of discussion and debate that it deserves. It’s as if media are saying “What, me worry.”

Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has gone from all-out war to all-out concession with the MILF with the only explanation for that extreme swing being that of US intervention. Which publication placed that US intervention story on its page 1 banner headline?

Media focused on the scandalous deal that was kept secret from a nation that was about to lose its territorial integrity but hardly ferreted out the superpower central player who made that deal possible. Media were hot on phantom sightings of US troops fighting with the AFP against the MILF when all logic pointed to the US supporting the MILF.

It’s as if Philippine media are saying “What, me worry” if a superpower is maneuvering to deprive Filipinos of a sizeable chunk of Mindanao.

Based on known reserves and current production, the Oil and Gas Journal stated that the US will run out of US oil in 11 years while China will run out of Chinese oil in 14 years. Both the US and China will have to rely on imported oil.

That is why the US is in Iraq (you’re really an idiot to believe that they are in Iraq to introduce democracy there) and are angling to be in Iran. After Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq have the largest reserves of oil. That is why — despite the fact that the US has been trying to depose and kill him — Condi Rice was recently in Libya courting Muammar Khadafi for Libyan oil. That is why China is using its economic clout in Africa — to secure African oil to fuel China’s economy.

Now if the US is willing to eat humble pie, swallow its pride and send its Secretary of State with a begging bowl to Libya’s Khadafi — even if Libya is not even a major source of oil like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran — it does not take a genius to figure out what the US will be willing to do to be able to corner the oil and gas in the South China Sea which is estimated to be more than what Iraq and Iran have.

And what about our so-called leaders, what have they also done to check the US hand in the making of the BJE? The most I’ve heard from is not even in government now — former Senate President Frank Drilon — who warned that the US may be planning to do a Kosovo in Mindanao to serve its geopolitical agenda.

Under the guise of entering as “peacekeepers” — the US and its allies took control of the lignite mines of Kosovo. After oil, lignite coal is said to be the future of energy and Kosovo has enough lignite coal to last for centuries.

What about Senator Panfilo Lacson who is ever so quick on the draw — how come not even a whimper has been heard from him about this serious threat against our sovereignty? What about Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile who was ranting months ago against American Chamber of Commerce businessmen, threatening them with fire and brimstone — how come he has not denounced at all this far more serious case of US intervention?

Is it because they do not know the truth? Are they idiots, as Webster described, or are they no longer that brave when it is a superpower with a CIA at its beck and call that they are dealing with? In the case of Sen. Lacson, is his non-interest in this issue founded on the fact that most Filipinos do not have this issue on their radar screen and this issue therefore does not serve his presidential ambition?

Remember how the British reacted when the Argentines took over the Falklands in the 1980s. The Falklands hardly contributed to the UK economy and was simply a case of UK pride and sovereignty. Yet, the British sent an armada to regain the Falklands.

Here, national pride and sovereignty appear to be tradable. At least that is how it has appeared under the present regime — China in Mt. Diwalwal and in the Spratlys, the US in Mindanao via the Visiting Forces Agreement and now the BJE. But insofar as our so-called leaders are concerned, it is simply “What, me worry.”

Our middle class, supposed to be the promoter of change in society, they are more engrossed on belaboring to death the same graft and corruption and Charter change issues that has gotten us nowhere simply because their statements are not matched by political will and numbers. The middle class is supposed to be the intellectual upper class of a country. But here the middle class is largely populated too by idiots — folks who do not know the truth.

We could lose Mindanao — “What, me worry.” We could be the battleground for a US-China conflict arising from their need to control the last remaining big source of oil and gas in the world — “What, me worry.” Filipinos could end up fighting a civil war with each side not knowing that they are proxies of a superpower — “What, me worry.”

Ah, but then, Filipinos can always pray.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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