Sunday, June 28, 2009

Where in the world is Melissa Roxas

At home in Los Angeles, California. Recovering after her weekend press conference detailing her trauma incurred here in the Philippines.

Melissa, an American community health volunteer in the northern Philippines, was kidnapped last month, tortured and released, she alleges, by agents of the Philippine military.

I note this NOT because it's remarkable. There has been a perpetual, and perpetually violent, counterinsurgency war of attrition going on in the shadows of Philippine society. It has been waging at least since the era of Marcos. Left leaning civil society groups allege hundreds of tortured, killings and disappearances at the hands of government agents and security services. The government insists these are just propaganda of the communist party of the Philippines and points to individuals killed in acts of "revolutionary justice" by the armed wing of the communist party, the New People's Army.

Yet this is the first time an American citizen has been dragged into it in many a year. What is amazing to me is the lack of coverage. LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Denver Post (my hometown paper) - searches by her name come up with zilch. Nadie. None. Aside from Denver, all major cities with significant Filipino populations. The New York times had a story soon after she was released.

Wait a minute, this is an American citizen (hate to say it, but the torture of an American has more value than a non-American), and it seems to reach a new low point for the Philippine human rights situation.

And the media silence is deafening.

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