Dear Dr. Agnes Callamard,
I saw from your Tweet that you were coming over to “investigate” the killings and to “see for yourself” what is happening in my country. Thank you for your concern, but frankly I really don’t think we need you here. And despite what you may believe is your duty, let me just say that we do not owe you anything, least of all an explanation for how we tend to our own backyard.
Oh, and when I say ‘we,’ I don’t just mean the Philippines and Filipinos, but every fly-specked, third-world hell-hole that you and your organization routinely neglect until it suits your fancy to exercise some of those high sounding ideals that only looks good on paper and from the comfort of your first world offices.
But if you must come, as I know you will insist, then go ahead. Come to our homes and judge us. But as you do, please remember that those of you who try to hold the rest of the world to your standards have caused more death, destruction, and destitution than we whom you presume to lecture.
Where was Europe and the United States just 71 years ago? Where was your precious human rights while the jews were being exterminated, and Japanese-Americans were being herded into camps? And where is Europe and the United States now? Where is your precious human rights as refugees drown by the boatloads while you turn them away from your coasts, and African-Americans are gunned down by police officers for no better reason than the color of their skin?
Yet despite all your ineptitude in taking care of your own business, you still presume to talk to us about human rights as if you fully grasp what it means to grow up where we are. Be who we are. Lady, you have no idea. Just like we can never know how it is to be so high and mighty as you, you will also never know what it means to be downtrodden.
I really wonder what it is in you that makes you think you have something to teach us about our own problems. Is it because we are poor that you feel you know better than us? Or maybe you just think that anyone not as lily white as you would somehow be inferior? Whatever it is, make no mistake – we do not take to that sort of arrogance and assholery kindly. We are a patient and mild-mannered people, but many foreigners have found to their everlasting dismay that our hospitality does have its limits.
Now you say you want to “see for yourself” how we manage our affairs. Fine. We will take that as face value. We can at least be the gracious hosts that we have been known to be. For a while at least.
So observe if you must, but don’t you dare wag your fingers at us while remaining practically silent at the thousand who have died because of all the wars that have been waged in the name of your imperialist ambitions.
Do not dare lecture us on how to solve our own problems. When you have not even begun to find a solution to yours. We do not claim to be perfect, nor can we even say that we know exactly where we are going. But it is our journey to make, as yours was when you made it all those bloody centuries ago. The least you can do now is have the courtesy of letting us find our own way.
And most importantly, do not dare belittle our problems by thinking you can understand them simply by paying us a visit. To think that you can know our reality, the things that make us think and act as we do simply by observing us for a few days is, quite frankly, insulting. Even lab rats get the courtesy of being observed for longer periods of time.
If you want to know us well enough to judge us, then live here for a year, five years, a lifetime. Live in the slums and in the remote villages without even the barest necessities, in the fringes of society where life is cheap, but drugs are cheaper. If you can do that, maybe we can talk. But until then, please spare us your sanctimonious preaching. Spare us your presence. Stay where you are. Seriously. We do not want you here. We do not need you here. And, with all due resspect, fuck you.