Mass killing, rape joking Duterte, castigates ‘insane leaders’
In 1937, as the Holocaust was unfolding in Europe, Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon led a bold and successful effort to help 1,200 Jewsfrom Austria and Germany escape to the Philippines.
This year marks the 85th anniversary of the Holocaust. It’s a time to remember and honor the six million Jews who died in that nightmare. It should also be a good time to remember and honor Quezon and the little known role the Philippines played in helping Jews escape the Nazi horror.
But these are not normal times.
Eight decades after a Philippine president’s daring decision to come to the aid of a beleaguered people, another Philippine president who once likened himself to Adolf Hitler paid what is perhaps the most disingenuous and revolting tributeto victims of the Holocaust and other campaigns of mass slaughter.
At Israel’s Yad Vashem, one of the most important memorials to the victims of the Holocaust, Rodrigo Duterte said these words: “I could not imagine a country obeying an insane leader. And I could not ever fathom the spectacle of a human being going into a killing spree, murdering old men, women, men, children, mothers.”
The leader who unleashed a brutal, bloody campaign against poor Filipinos also said this: “I would like to say that we are one in saying that it will not happen again and my country will be the first to voice (opposition to) such…massacre of a race just because of hate.”
Despots, he said, “should be disposed of at the first instance.”
Duterte had kinder words for Hitler last year. In fact, he even compared himself to the Nazi dictator in one of his most abhorrent (and historically inaccurate) pronouncements: “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there is three million, there’s three million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
The Duterte Slaughter just entered its third year, which makes one of Duterte’s statements in Israel simply disgraceful: “I could not imagine a country obeying an insane leader. And I could not ever fathom the spectacle of a human being going into a killing spree, murdering old men, women, men, children, mothers.”
Does he really expect us to believe what he said when the Duterte presidency has a long, harrowing killing spree?
And he really expect the world to believe that he cares about women, children, mothers? Hard to believe after the Philippine president who seems to be preoccupied with rape cracked yet another joke about sexual assault against women.
His statements in Israel came just a week after he explained the growing number of rape cases in Davao, where he was once mayor, with yet another repugnant declaration: “As long as there are many beautiful women, there will be more rape cases.”
Duterte has been obsessed with rape and sexual abuse of women for decades.
In the late 1980s, when he was mayor of Davao, he joked about the gang rape of an Australian missionary during a prison riot saying the inmates should have let him assault the woman first.
Last year, he told soldiers about to be deployed to Mindanao: “Trabaho lang kayo. Ako na bahala. Ako na magpakulong sa inyo. Kapag naka-rape ka ng tatlo, aminin ko na akin ‘yun.” [If you end up raping three women, I’ll say it was me.]
This year, he ordered troops to shoot women guerrillas in the vaginas.
You have to wonder what Duterte or his speechwriter was thinking in coming up with that memorable line in his speech in Israel: “I could not imagine a country obeying an insane leader.”
What’s hard to imagine about that? It’s already happening again in the Philippines.
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