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Wow. I seem to have struck a nerve, with several readers people trying to justify why they did what they did after the Carabuena video went viral.
To reiterate, according to Prof. Billedo who has done many studies on online behavior, sharing one's feelings online is easier than doing so when face to face. There is no judgment here, just mere statement of fact.
However, the very reasons it is much easier to comment/react online (as outlined in Part 1) are also the very reasons we can be abusive, as can be seen by the comments expressed towards Mr. Carabuena.
By way of contrast, here are two examples of real time incidents, admittedly anecdotal and thus not as evidence based as the research with randomized sampling that Prof Billedo does:
Last Thursday, August 16, during the annual convention of the Psychological Association of the Philippines, several delegates, one with vast experience in trafficking against women, observed a foreigner who looked 70 years or older, spoon-feeding a Filipina who looked 16 or younger. Many felt the foreigner was a pedophile but they called the manager of the hotel, plus members of the NBI and DSWD, instead of approaching the couple personally. I might add that the people belonging to the above three institutions also found a way out of direct confrontation and merely checked and re-checked IDs presented to the hotel when the couple registered, and then their immigration papers.
Another example: In Starbucks Greenbelt, my niece overheard a conversation between an older woman convincing a much younger one to go out with these Australians and the girl was almost crying because she wanted to go home. My niece asked her date if they should intervene. He said no, because it was none of their business and she could have been wrong - despite three men showing up to meet the girl child with what seemed to her to be other-than-fatherly concern in their eyes.
Observers of the above events, all of whom were sensitive, caring individuals did not intervene. Were they wrong or right not to? Frankly, I don't know. There are so many more factors to consider in real life; primarily, what will it cost me/ what hassle will I have to go through/what dangers might I face if I intervene? And, for that matter, what right do I have to intervene? Is there a law or in-house policy on these things?
It is highly improbable that there were no witnesses while Mr. Carabuena was assaulting Mr. Fabros. Yet no one intervened. No one was outraged enough to actually stand between them or hold back Mr. Carabuena.
Why was that so? Especially since the exact opposite happened on the Net. What was the reason not a single person intervened in person and so many did online?
In addition to the reasons Prof. Billedo gave, I wonder if there is a hint of compensation going on. In psychspeak, compensation is overachieving (in this case, online bullying) in one area to compensate for "failures" in another (realizing, even on an unconscious level, that you wouldn't confront the bully in real time). Since you know you didn't (or couldn't) confront the bully personally, you make up for it by being more aggressive online. Maybe you even go so far as to incite others (flaming?) to do so too, by putting up Facebook pages like "Patayin si Robert Blair Carabuena."
But compensation is not always a bad thing. It can be a very effective coping mechanism. In the Carabuena incident, taping the incident and then putting it up for all to see is as, or maybe even more, effective in seeking justice for Mr Fabros.
As Marvin M. Monteagudo commented on Part 1: "I would have to admit that I was one of those who shared the incident. Like many others at the time, my purpose was to let everyone know what happened to hasten the process. It has been proven that most of the time, some 'minor' crimes need to be sensationalized in order to be taken seriously… Like it or not, we have done things we are not proud of. We are only lucky that unlike him, we were not captured on video."
There are so many other issues one can bring up regarding why we Filipinos behaved the way we did over the Carabuena incident, but I will limit myself to what it says about how Filipinos perceive the justice system in the Philippines. I still feel some methods were worse than ordinary bullying, and whether these were done by people with lofty or not so lofty goals, doesn't change its bullying aspect.
Many claimed they were doing it because Mr. Fabros was insulted and demeaned. True, Filipinos root for, and often romanticize, the underdog. But many people from many countries do so too, though I doubt if any of them can say it quite as eloquently as Carlo Mendez does: "Ang mga tao sa pinas pag ganun ang napapanood eh puso na ang umiiral. Nung napanood ko ho yung video, mananahimik na lang ho ba ako? Para hong mas mali kasi iyon. …likas lang sa mga Filipino ang tumulong lalo na ho sa situasyon na yun na damang-dama ang pangaapi ng mga makapangyarihan sa mahihirap."
What is truly remarkable is that not only did many Filipinos want to see justice done, but that their online behavior actually made it happen. This does not excuse the nearly terrorist tactics of those who may have merely wanted revenge; nor the sad results of people with good intentions but not quite such good ways of achieving them.
But there is one particular reason that I feel is our saving grace: We want justice done. If our comments are particularly vociferous and aggressive, it is because we want to make sure, at least in this isolated case, that justice is done. And if done in this isolated case, maybe in others too. Maybe it can have a ripple effect.
Filipinos are haunted by stories, most of them sadly true, of how the rich get away, literally, with murder. And how people tainted with the blood of activists tortured during the Marcos regime can now strut around in the senate claiming they are for life. All of us, whether directly or via someone we know, have at least one experience where a person with more power assaults one without. And does it with impunity. Swanning through five star hotels or congress even, confident that people will have forgotten or pretend to have forgotten, what they have done.
Many of you said as much:
Urban Hermit: You call it cyber bullying, I call it cyber democratic instant justice. …Just imagine how many Carabuenas out there get away with this kind of inhumane behavior everyday. If not for the cameras and the social media, this Carabuena continues to be the untouchable 'elite' he thinks he is who wont hesitate using physical force to enforce his will on others."
Dodong Sam: "Social media balanced the power between the strong and the weak, so if you are strong and have guts to prey small people then you might be thinking first if you will keep aggravating small people that you will not suffer same fate as Carabuena."
Thus, the powerful still get away with all sorts of nefarious activities and will continue to do so if all we have are traditional ways of dealing with them. But we now have social media which we can use to help each other, especially those weaker/less powerful among us. We may not be as rich or well connected as the criminals, but with our numbers and with our media savvy, we can make a difference.
Social media leveled the playing field, and thank God for that. Now more people get a chance to get justice, without needing a lawyer or a patron in the Senate.