Friday, June 16, 2006

...and a little violence

Today I used the threat of violence against another person. I'm not proud of it. I wish I didn't have to do it. Perhaps there might have been another way around it. However, I've thought about it a lot and each time I come to the conclusion that it was the most effective resolution. In fact it was, because it got the desired result.

The nature of the dispute is not important, suffice to say it was a recurrent longstanding one and involved a person of a different social standing. Repeated appeals came to naught as this person merely feigned acquiescence or cited various extenuating circumstances or motioned for delay or simply ignored our pleas altogether. Today, I hit my limits.

I'm ashamed of the things I did and the things I said. I hope to never have to repeat them. Unfortunately, our society has come to the point where the threat of violence has become a necessary means of communication. Or perhaps this is where we've always been because we've never progressed beyond it. The fact is: some people will not take you seriously, will not respect you, unless you speak that language.

Perhaps I could have called on the barangay captain to mediate but I suspect I'm none too popular. Then it would have taken longer and would have been interpreted as a sign of weakness. Then what? We revert to another cycle of fruitless diplomacy. Worse still, it would have devolved into cliches of class oppression. No, better to have spoken the message clearly in a language clear to the listener then and there, on the same footing as the listener.

Oh, I realize that footing can never be equal. Nevertheless, I was there, no proxy and no backup. Just me. Foolish? Yes. But that gesture, I think, the other person understood and respected.

Let me clarify: I didn't actually use violence, only the threat of it. At the same time, I don't think I can threaten violence and not mean it. If push came to shove, I was prepared to back it up, as well as suffer the consequences. Thankfully, it didn't come to that.

Sigh. Not a path I'd recommend at all, certainly not a path I would have wanted to travel, but sometimes necessary.