Emil Guillermo: Filipino American History Month opens with a jolt of Hitler from Philippine President Duterte
October 1, 2016 10:16 PM
As October begins, and Asian America's more than 4 million Filipinos commemorate Filipino American History Month (as designated by the Filipino American National Historical Society), there's a new twist in the U.S.-Philippines relationship.
The current Philippine president is a man who says publicly he'd kill 3 million Filipino drug addicts in his country, without a trial--so called extra-judicial killings.
That's like killing 75 percent of the entire Filipino community in the U.S.
And just to prove his genuine badass insensitivity, he even calls it the Philippines' very own Holocaust, with himself as Hitler.
That's President Rodrigo Duterte for you.
Apparently, he was just warming up when he recently called President Obama the "son of a whore."
Even though Duterte walked back that insult, he's been on a tear with much, much, more.
Since the Obama comment, Duterte has said he's open to discussions with both China and Russia, a gesture that would threaten the Philippines' longtime relationship with the U.S.
It's the kind of hot-talk, apolitical, undiplomatic talk you'd expect from an intemperate politician like, say. . .Donald Trump.
In fact, the two seem to be battling in some strange race for most delusional, self-aggrandizing, and least diplomatic politician in all the world--a neck-and-neck contest between the double Ds: Duterte, of the Philippines, and the Donald of Trump, fortunately not president of anything really important, at least for the time being.
I had thought Trump, by virtue of a nearly 50-1 dollars to pesos exchange, would be the automatic winner of any head-to-head blurt off.
But then Duterte mentioned the "H" word last week, and it was all over.
In politics, you just don't invoke Hitler without a willingness to go straight to the bottom of rhetorical hell.
Duterte's comments came at a news conference in Davao City, Philippines last Friday.
He began on the defensive, saying he was just a mayor when most of the extra-judicial killings happened, and that not a single case was filed against him.
That makes him innocent?
Then he challenged his detractors around the world on the letter of the local law, saying there was nothing legally that "would make a mayor liable if he threatens the criminals or intimidates the wrongdoers."
"You can read the penal codes, criminal laws of this land, you'll find nothing," Duterte said, acting as if weak local laws or legal omissions would protect him against any charges of human rights violations.
No, this issue needed real punch.
"You're portrayed or pictured to be some. . .a cousin of Hitler," said Duterte, speaking of himself in an odd choice of grammar, phrasing, and diction. And then he only made himself Hitler's cousin.
Cousin Duterte continued against his detractors: "And you do not even bother to find out, to investigate. . .It was, of course, all right when I was mayor. Because then, that would be about just a miniscule of the affairs of humanity in this planet. But when I am the president...."
Well, he is right. We're all finally getting to know Duterte as president. But if he thinks he can continue as president as he did when he was mayor, he's dead wrong.
Still, he's ready for whatever rebuttal you have, all you finger-waggers in the West.
Duterte: "US, EU. You can call me anything. But I was never into or I am never into hypocrisy like you."
Reverse shame! It works in wrestling, why not international politics?
"Close your doors, it's wintertime," said Duterte. "There are migrants escaping from the Middle East. You allow them to rot and then you're worried about the death of about 1,000, 2,000, 3,000." (That's the number of extra-judicial killings he's linked to).
Sounds good? Not quite. Just grisly to hear a democratic Filipino leader devalue his Filipino citizens lives so cavalierly.
But then Duterte put the cherry on top.
The big "H."
"Hitler massacred three million Jews," said Duterte. "Now there is three million, there's a three million drug addicts. There are. I'd be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have you know, my victims, I would like to be, all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition."
And with a " Salamat po," (thank you), it was Prez RoDEE DEE, out.
As a further thumb in the nose to America, he was asked about U.S. Senators Benjamin Cardin and Patrick Leahy, who have commented about the extra-judicial killings.
To which the Duterte was quick to fire back--using America's race problem.
Said Duterte: "Do not interfere in our affairs. I will ask (the Senator) now: Why are you shooting the black people there when you're on the ground? . . .There's a proper way of arresting a black man there. You arrest him. You grapple with him. Pin him to the ground, place him under handcuff and bring him to the station. Do not shoot him, with the video and the cameras all around. So I'm returning the courtesy."
Duterte also had something to say about U.S.foreign policy that has resulted in bad decisions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
To the government of the United States," Duterte said, "Stop this hypocrisy game and we're all right. Stop being hypocrites. Do not pretend to be the moral conscience of the world. Do not be the policeman because I... You do not have the eligibility to do that in my country."
The guy was feeling it.
What did Trump do last week?
He continued to cite unscientific polls normally discredited as "for entertainment purposes only," as evidence he won that debate with Hillary Clinton, viewed by 84 million people.
And then, nearly a week later, Trump continued to defend his fat-shaming a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, as if that were the most important issue to come out of the debate. Trump even claimed, without proof, to have a sex tape of her.
Weak tea compared to Duterte. Besides Hitler, Duterte made a female senator, trying to bring him to justice, cry on national TV.
And he says an actual sex tape shows her in a compromising position.
The world needs to watch out for the loutish, anti-political Duterte who, with less than a year on the job, seemingly trumps all.
Maybe even democracy in the Philippines.
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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.
Ed. Note: On Oct. 2, 2016, President Duterte apologized to the Jewish community after his remarks about Hitler and the Holocaust.
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