Whether it’s Bob Dylan that renders the song or it’s the trio Peter, Paul and Mary, the phrase “blowing in the wind” seems to imply the obvious—meaning the conditions and experiences embedded in the questions in the song are themselves the answers. They don’t need profound contemplation. The simple requirement of common sense is what it takes to comprehend the series of questions articulated in the lyrics. But here are quotes from the Wikipedia, which reinforce my own ideation, to wit:
The Wikipedia has a quote from Dylan that says, amongst other things, “I still say [the answer is] in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some … But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know”.
“This is an allegorical phrase, implying that the answer is there to be sensed or heard or felt or perceived, already, and does not need great intellectual perception or deep and lengthy discussion or tortuous justification … if one opens one’s senses and ‘listens’ to the ‘wind’ of human consciousness and human justice.”
An interesting adaptation of the song to the contextual realities obtaining in our midst is much easier to appreciate than the original song even as it maintains its lyrical import and its property of being singable, for the simple reason that they pertain to what we concretely perceive. Here it is-
How many times must the people cry
Before their plight is addressed?
How many times must the people demand
Before their voices are heard?
How many times must Lumads be killed
Before justice is meted out ?
The answer my friend is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind.
How many paramilitary groups are formed
To terrorize the Lumads in the hills?
How many massacres must they perpetrate
Before they are forever banned?
How many times must soldiers deny
That they trample people’s human rights?
The answer my friend is lying through their teeth
The answer is lying through their teeth
How many ears must Noynoy have
Before he can hear people cry?
How many times can he turn his head
And pretend that he just didn’t see?
How many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is playing video games
The answer is playing video games?
How many times must hamletting exist
Before Martial law is declared?
How many times must the Lumads evacuate
Before they deserve to be heard ?
How many Lumad women must be raped
Before Malacanang lends it ears?
The answer my friend is matuwid na daan
The answer is matuwid na daan.
Now, the Senate is conducting a probe into the killings of Lumads in Surigao del Sur. But if we count the months and days since the first reports of human rights violations were committed by the military in the countryside among the Lumads until the sordid massacre of school personnel in Lianga, the Senators’ action can not but be considered long overdue. This is a clear indication of how little the dire plight of the poor masses — a matter of life and death!—factors in the official concern of people in government.
Yes, the Senate is doing a semblance of an inquiry — or is it a full-dress investigation?— into the detestable killings of Lumads in Mindanao. But why the long delay? Or perhaps we can rephrase the query: Why only now at this particular period or season of the term of office of the Senators? Why at this time so close to the national elections?
Well, perhaps we can heave a sigh of consolation that at least some action has been forthcoming? Or to utter the common saying, It’s better than nothing. Is this really for the better? Is a satisfactory outcome foreseeable? Question begets questions and still more questions. But as is always the ingredient that partakes of the mindset of government agents, the Senators might just float a kind of “win-win formula” as a happy token solution which, by the way, is a formula that often compromises the interests of the poor oppressed masses.
What we wish the Senators would delve into is the imperative to dissipate the climate of impunity that now pervades in the countryside, most particularly in the Lumadlands where a reign of terror reminiscent of the martial law era obtains. Nothing short of a permanent pull-out of the military is the resounding demand of the Lumad people.
The Senate should manifest a strong posture of defiance to the policy of heavy militarization pursued by Malacanang, if its act of inquiry proceeds from a well-meaning intention of ending the culture of impunity. The hypocritical pursuance of the Oplan Bayanihan’s “peace and development outreach program” or PDOP is not only an ill-advised exercise in futility, its fascistic modus operandi contradicts its avowed purpose. What is there in the glossary of political-military undertakings that enshrines fascist violence as the pathway to peace? It pushes society to the brink of full-dress martial law situation. Or outright military dictatorship!
For all intents and purposes the on-going Senate investigation into the plight of the Lumads and the spate of killings perpetrated by the paramilitary groups must take into account the insidious nature of the military campaigns conducted by the AFP. The Talaingod evacuees, the Lianga evacuees and those in Kitaotao are not mere tales of fantasy. Their collective and individual stories of threats, harassment, intimidation, kidnappings, tortures, rapes and massacres, are real ordeals experienced by the Lumad people caused by the perpetual presence and might of the military in their places.