DAPL and LNMB: Standing on the Rock

Published on by Vincent Ragay under

Something’s going on in and with the world. Well, in truth, this has been happening since the very beginning. Remember the Fall, the Great Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, the Fall of Rome, the Russian Revolution, the American Civil War, WW1 and 2, Desert Storm, 9/11 and Typhoon Yolanda/Hayan?

Those will not be the end of it all. Worse, no, the worst is still to come. That is, for those who reject the counsel of God, there will be a harsh reckoning. Yes, something is happening and the sad thing is that most people are not aware of where it is leading to in the end. Otherwise, we would all be behaving like disciplined children.

Assorted issues — from the personal to the social, from the economic to the political, from the religious to the cultural — are dividing people everywhere. Everyday, the news documents the extent to which this world is rapidly spiraling down into a seething cauldron, as if civilization has crumbled upon the Earth’s inner core and searing nations and cities in the intense heat of conflict. It is reaching a deafening crescendo as it is aided by the unstoppable deluge of social media hype of millions and millions of people throwing in their own thoughts and feelings, contributing to the worldwide explosion of words fraught with fear, hatred and anger like never before in human history. It has become both a gargantuan recreational as well as social-political phenomenon.

Although the fall of the Tower of Babel was so great and the resulting confusion still reverberates in our ears and mind today, it was but a whimper compared to the ongoing decay of the world’s systems and the infinitely cacophonous chorus of human voices rising up to Heaven and drowning the agonized prayer of that solitary, blood-sweating, self-sacrificing servant Who kneeled in Gethsemane, begging the God in Heaven that people may be one with Him and with His Father.

In Dakota, an ongoing oil-pipe-laying project called the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), is pitting government military forces against the Standing Rock Sioux tribe which is protesting the supposed desecration of their lands. One side has the economic and legal reasons for pursuing the project. The other apparently has the moral and cultural reasons for preventing the passage of the pipeline over their territory. The first has military power to enforce its will. The second claims its civil right to self-determination. Two immovable “standing rocks” being forced by circumstances to collide while the whole world watches by. The result will decide the future, not just of Dakota but of an entire nation and, perhaps, the whole world. As it stands, the lives of so many are already in the balance with respect to the conflict.

marcos-burial-protestIn the Philippines, President Duterte has kept his promise to allow the burial of the late president, Ferdinand Marcos, the notorious dictator who imposed Martial Law for 14 years, at the LNMB (Libingan ng mga Bayani or Heroes Cemetery). Although the Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the decision, thousands are protesting the burial of FM which was clandestinely done not long after the SC came out with the decision. As in the former conflict, the president and his administration have all the legal and political reasons for allowing the burial, while the protesters also have all the moral and circumstantial reasons to pursue their case in the streets and the media. The first has restrained the police and military from a frontal confrontation with the demonstrators, even allowing protesters to march without securing permits first. The second, though facing an equally determined mass of FM supporters, has shown determination to pursue the case until FM’s body is exhumed from the cemetery. Two immovable “standing rocks” dangerously poised to collide while the whole world watches. The result will decide the future, not just of the Capital Region but of the entire nation and, perhaps, the whole world.

It may not be a new issue for thousands who lived through the Martial Law regime of Marcos but a mere opening of healed or unhealed wounds, depending on how individuals evolved since then. Just as American Indians hold their land dear and sacred over and above the economic benefits of a big engineering project, some Filipinos hold the memories and lives of their relatives and friends who died and suffered during FM’s rule higher than any legal decision. Attachment to one’s native land and affection for one’s beloved departed are human ideals whose dimensions fall beyond the purview of human governance. It can merely regulate or prescribe remedies based on individual circumstances. However, when a large mass of people claim extraordinary or conflicting rights which undermine the government’s right to rule effectively for the majority, we have the formula for potential violence and civil discord.

A government cannot rule and survive when the streets are constantly filled with chaos and dissension. Social, economic, cultural and political processes will suffer and, eventually, everyone else will suffer. This is exactly what pushed Marcos to declare Martial Law, to quell rebellion and the spread of Communism. (And this might also be the natural outcome of the situation in Dakota, if it is not already the essential reality now.) Ironically, FM’s defense against his and his country’s enemies has become the very reason why he remains an un-heroic leader to many Filipinos. While we await what Obama or Trump will do to solve the DAPL issue, we already know that Pres. Duterte has consolidated his administration’s position on the matter. His popularity seems to work in his favor, providing a possible way to a major political and legal resolution to the issue. Nevertheless, his detractors and enemies will keep the pressure on in order to diminish his popularity and undermine his credibility. The chaos may actually be only beginning – whether here or there.

Something is definitely going on in Dakota and the Philippines. So with the rest of the world. And it has been that way for centuries. God’s final judgment has not been passed; but it will decide ALL of human issues individually for sure when the time comes. Every heart and spirit will stand in the final balance of justice for His ultimate judgment. It will not be based on whether one is Asian or American, Democrat or Republican, red or white, male or female, rich or poor, pro-government or anti-government, environmentalist or not. His judgment will be according to His infinite wisdom and His immeasurable love for each and every one of His children by Adam and Eve.

What God has done since the beginning remains inviolable and unchangeable. His judgments for Adam and Eve are also upon us. Death, as the penalty for sin. His condemnation for those who died during the Great Flood will also be upon those today who reject Him. Death, as the penalty for unbelief. And yet, His promise of forgiveness and salvation will be upon those who obey Him. Life everlasting.

Something is definitely going on in your life. God made it happen that way. And he will decide according to how you live your life based on what He is doing and how He is working in your life. You can work quietly at home or at work to support yourself and your family. Or you can march the streets to support an advocacy and even offer your life for that cause. Whatever you do, make sure it is God who is telling you to do it, that His truth lives in you and that what you do is the best thing you can do for Him. These three will serve as your witnesses when the final judgment comes.

For some people who have experienced how it is to march the streets in protest and even seen relatives and friends fall in the unending social and political struggles, it appears difficult to decide what to say and do under the present circumstances. Some issues have not disappeared; others have evolved. But one thing is clear: God’s standards and requirements remain the same. What He has done, what He is doing and what He will do have already been declared, established and confirmed.

What to do then? This: Instead of colliding with or engaging in rock-hard human issues that linger on or merely recycle and which only foster violence and division, why not stand on the unchanging Rock? For no matter what goes on around you, you will remain steadfast in His work for you.

Fighting for your rights here will give temporary rewards. Aim for the eternal rewards.

(Video: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” — c/o YouTube)


(Note: To get the facts on these issues, please check the following links below.)




(Photos above courtesy of above links and YouTube.)

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