All posts filed under: Editorial

Editorial: Burying “heroes” and memories

Susan comes from a small rural village in the Visayas.  Her family lives a hand-to-mouth existence, tilling soil that is not theirs.  In September 1972, when Marcos declared martial law, and in the years that followed, their lives carried on as usual.  Martial law merely passed them by with nary a scrape.  With vague recollections of that period, it comes as no surprise that Susan’s family feels nothing towards the issue of Marcos’ burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Susan herself, despite a first year college education, believes that the burial is just and right for one who has been president of the country. Susan’s reactions resonate with the throng of commenters on social media who feel strongly that Ferdinand Marcos is a hero. Some would label them as ‘ignorantly deluded,’ much like the holocaust deniers who believe that the holocaust was a figment of the German Jews’ imaginations, an event created to justify the subsequent occupation of Palestinian territories in Israel. But one cannot simply deny the murder of more than six million …

Statement on use of presidential debate cartoon published 24 February 2016

It has come to our attention that one of our illustrations, a cartoon of the first presidential debate published here, has been copied and used for another purpose by an unknown online user without our permission. The cartoon was cropped, the candidates’ logos inserted, and the words, “Mga kaibigan, wag tayo mag away-away” (Friends, let us not fight), added. This modified version was later shared as an Internet meme by different online users across social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. On 28 April 2016, GMA News TV’s program, Balitanghali, aired a copy of this edited image in one of its news reports, citing it as an Internet meme going around social media. As the root source of the edited image would be difficult to trace given the many times it was shared, we are unable to determine who actually took the photo from our site and modified it without our knowledge and consent. We, the Verstehen editorial team, recognize the value of online media as a space for public discussion and the exchange of …

Editorial: Voting as an act of the social

These last few months have been difficult for many Filipinos.  (Perhaps fun, for some.)  “Difficult,” however, is an understatement to anyone who has gone through the stress of keeping up with the national elections – filtering tirades against one’s intellect, convincing others to rethink their picks, and rolling one’s eyes at “mema” rants on social media, some burning bridges along the way. We have been pinned down by the limited choices at our disposal, and swept up by our inclination to defend them, thinking to ourselves yet again that the only way to get through another term is to vote for the “lesser evil.” The 3rd Presidential Debates last 24 April 2016 is perhaps the culmination of a long process of elimination, resulting in a choice that reflects not only what we want in a society but the lens by which we view the world. The stress caused by the elections is warranted; it indicates the differences in our values, beliefs, and desires, despite sharing a country and a dominant culture. Indeed, the acts of …

Editorial: Solidarity, conflict, and relative truths

Living with religion is seeing the world as differing social realities. Religion as a concept has always been a point of interest in sociology and anthropology. In classical thought, religion has been interpreted in many ways. For instance, Karl Marx argued that religion is the opium of the masses – it alleviates the suffering of people and gives them hope for a better life beyond this world. Emile Durkheim asserted that religion is a collective expression of consciousness by which people perceive a force that is greater than them. Max Weber, on the other hand, saw religion as something to be studied based on the meanings attributed to it by the individual. There is a diversity of beliefs in our social world. As social beings, our identities and expressions, religious or otherwise, are influenced by the group. But regardless of a person’s religious background, finding meaning in its values and acting based on its tenets are done as individuals. And these have consequences. Religion, as a significant field in sociology and anthropology, does not seek …