International Bullying

Our generation never witnessed both World Wars, when nations fought each other for power, territories,cultural cleansing. Everything we know about these wars were taught in our History classes or from our grandparents’ reminiscing of their early days. But one thing is common about all wars, one plays the bully and the other, the bullied.

Now, in the age of Facebook, smart phones, democracy and free speech; international bullying is still a reality. A third-world country, like the Philippines, will never dare to engage in a world war. National budget is not even enough to feed the mouths of its poverty-stricken 100 million population, much more buy modern weaponry to fight the enemy. Losing a battle is imminent and joining a war is downright foolish.

Then comes this sovereignty dispute with China over the Scarborough Shoal. China claims, its been theirs for centuries. It’s in their maps, their history books. The Philippines, however, claims sovereignty because of the islands proximity to the Philippine archipelago. China may be right, we could be wrong or the other way around. But the truth of the matter is, bullying is evident in the international scene.

The Chinese government has issued a memo to its citizens advising them not to visit the Philippines. As a result, hundreds of tour packages have been cancelled, largely affecting local tourism especially in Boracay. Imports of bananas from the Philippines have been banned. Exports of Chinese products to the Philippines have been reduced. Cyber attacks on major Philippine websites are still ongoing, earning the ire of Filipinos leading to cyber retaliation and street protests.

What a third-world country, like the Philippines, can and should do? Do we even have a chance in this dispute? No, we don’t even have to talk about fighting via fighter jets or bombs or soldier deployment. The Philippines will lose in that kind of war in an hour.

Do we stand a chance with China’s economic sabotage and incessant threats to our country? I don’t think so. Fighting back is futile and the repercussions are detrimental. Are these islands even that worth it? Probably yes, probably not. We have to face the fact that we are being bullied here. It’s like being shoved into a locker by a huge, cocky jock, as seen in the movies. Fighting a bully when you are the diminutive one is fatal. Let us then choose our battles. Our pride is at stake here but then again the smartest way is to report the bully to the principal and let the school handle it. Let us shut up for now and let the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea settles it.