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We can’t choose who lives

MANILA (SE): In many parts of the world today lives are selectively being discarded in the interests of promoting fear campaigns designed to achieve political ends.

Australia turns boat people away from its shores in the name of saving lives at sea, some parts of Europe turn refugees away in the name of screening  terrorists and in The Philippines, the president is murdering people at random in the name of ending a culture of drug dependency.

Luis Cardinal Tagle directly questioned the right of anyone to make such a decision about who gets a chance to live and who dies on Radyo Veritas on August 29.

The archbishop of Manila said, “We must always promote respect for human life, which is sacred. It should be protected in all conditions and at all stages of its evolution.”

The commandment of God says you shall not kill and the archbishop of Manila explained that we have no right to be selective about that commandment, which is a blanket edict that does not leave room for hedging.

In joining the chorus condemning the spate of murders perpetrated by the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, Cardinal Tagle said that it is right that many people have become extremely worried about the spilling of blood, which has already seen at least 2,000 people die and some even put the figure at over 4,000.

But he said that we should not be selective in our condemnations, as killing is killing, no matter how it is carried out or why.

He especially pointed to the practice of abortion, saying, “Many people are worried about the extra-judicial killings and we should be. But I hope we’re also worried about abortion. Why are only a few people speaking against abortion? That is also murder!”

The archbishop of Manila said, “Be consistent to promote whole or integral life. Let us not be selective.”

He added that all forms of murder, from summary executions of alleged criminals to aborting babies must strongly be condemned.

He also included unfair labour practices under this umbrella, calling it another form of murder because it kills the dignity of the ordinary workers.

“The selling of illegal drugs and pushing the youth to go into vices is also a form of murder of their dreams, their minds, their good relationships with their families,” he added.

“I know that the big issue nowadays is the spate of killings even those not guilty and the innocent, they say. But whether a person is guilty or not, life should be protected and respected.”

In the same vein, John Menadue asks by what moral authority the Australian government can decide to stop desperate people taking risks in the interests of protecting their own lives and seeking freedom.

“Surely it is for them to make the calculation that the risks in flight are less than the risks of staying in their homeland and facing prosecution or worse,” the social commentator writes.

Menadue also believes that if indeed the Australian turn-back programme was really saving lives at sea, the ministers responsible for the policy would have been nominated for a few international humanitarian awards by now, as would Duterte too if he really was fighting the drug trade.

But pushing fear to manipulate political ends is not the stuff of recognition of such awards, so while you may see Angela Merkel, from Germany, on the dais when they are being given out, you will not see Australia’s minister for immigration, Peter Dutton, or Duterte standing next to her.

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