Literacy, Power, and Violence

November 27th, 2009

November 24, 2009, I was in Sultan Kudarat to speak at a literacy conference organized by the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), the Education Network (E-Net), the provincial government, and Congressman Pax Mangudadatu.

For a while, we thought the conference would not push through, since the day before, a horrific and gruesome massacre happened at the neighboring province of Maguindanao, just one hour away.

Despite his grief over the killing of members of his clan, and his urgent efforts to restrain his clan members from launching an armed retaliation, Congressman Pax still found time and energy to address our conference.

He had an interesting comment on literacy, power, and violence.

He said that when those who are in power are illiterate, the result is a deadly combination, of which the massacre in Maguindanao is an example. That is why he reiterated his long-term commitment to promoting and supporting education among his constituency.

He said that when he first run for mayor in Buluan (in Maguindanao), there were only 5 Muslims who had finished elementary education.

When he campaigned (and eventually won) as governor of Sultan Kudarat, he was a Muslim seeking votes from a majority (80%) Christian population. He narrated an amusing anecdote, meeting some Ilonggo women. They expressed their fear of him as a Muslim. “They tell us that if you win, you will send us back to Iloilo. Also, that you will forbid the raising of pigs.”

The fact that he won three terms as a Muslim governor of a predominantly Christian population is a tribute to the education of the electorate and of the candidate.

Of course, it is not as simple as that. There are highly educated people who also use power to perpetrate violence. But his equation is persuasive: Illiteracy+Power = Violence

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks

One Response to “Literacy, Power, and Violence”

  1. Jack Jervis says:

    Good blog! Love the content you’ve on right here. Please keep up the great work and I will be sure to visit very often. Thanks very much!

Leave a Reply