It may well be an understatement that Independence Day this year could not have come at a darker time — what with the ongoing threat of martial law extension and terrorism, and Britain’s sudden leap to limbo land. It also doesn’t help that Gal Gadot, or the rising new face of (white) feminism has some Zionist history behind her. As we welcome the 12th of June, we round up relevant stories that hit the web this week, making a case for why the so-called spirit of independence isn’t something we celebrate once a year but rather something we fight for the whole year round.
1. We’re questioning martial law
Contrary to the president’s assurance last June 1 that he would revoke martial law as soon as the military regains control of Marawi City, there’s already been news going around that it may continue even after the city has been cleared of the Maute Group (or — as if we need more terror in our lives — that it will possibly be extended beyond the borders of Mindanao). Last June 5, opposition lawmakers led by Edcel Lagman finally filed a petition to nullify martial law, claiming that the declaration lacked sufficient factual basis. The petitioners cited some of the president’s questionable claims — for instance, that the Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC) was overrun by the Maute Group (which was refuted by APMC’s medical director himself), and the claim that Malabang police chief Romeo Enriquez was beheaded (turns out, he’s alive). The Supreme Court has until July 5 to decide on the legality of martial law, and oral arguments have already been set on June 13, 14, and 15.
2. Brexit becomes uncertain, and so does the authority of Theresa May
With formal negotiations slated to start this June, Brexit was already well underway — that is until Prime Minister Theresa May called the snap election three years early, lost her Conservative Party’s majority in Parliament, and left all of Britain shookt, to put it mildly. In the middle of a hung Parliament and a host of calls for her to step down, May pledged to stay on as Prime Minister and form a minority government with the right-wing Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. While Britain remains deeply divided and Brexit talks are currently thrown in limbo, May remains strongly determined to lead Britain out of the European Union. Her critics, meanwhile, claim that her resignation is also a question of when, not if.
3. What Zionism has to do with this year’s Wonder Woman
Ultimate queen of the moment Gal Gadot may be the shining new symbol of empowerment, what with her role as the peace-loving, lasso-of-truth-wielding Wonder Woman. A bit of her back story, though, reveals that the Israeli actress also happens to be a former soldier for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Gadot has not addressed in depth her affiliations with Zionism, Israel’s movement to develop and protect its state — involving, in the process, the invasion of Palestinian nations. The media, of course, has already been quick to point out the irony behind the casting, even unearthing a 2014 Instagram photo declaring her support of the IDF’s assault on Gazam — the outcome of which has led to the deaths of half a thousand Palestinian women and children. Tunisia, Lebanon, and Jordan have already boycotted the Hollywood blockbuster. For those of us who’ve already watched, that no-man’s-land scene just took on a darker twist, to say the least.
4. Comedian Bill Cosby faces trial
After a decades-long series of sexual assault allegations, actor and comedian Billy Cosby, once so ironically dubbed as “America’s Dad,” finally goes on trial in Philadelphia. The 79-year-old, legally blind comedian faces criminal charges of drugging and molesting former Temple University staff Andrea Constand back in 2004. While Cosby has long admitted that he stockpiled Quaaludes to use on women for sex, Cosby’s 2005 deposition read on court states that, in this particular case, only Benadryl pills were involved, leading to some consensual petting. The comedian’s defense is set to begin this Monday, and there’s been word that Cosby, contrary to recent reports, has himself decided to testify.
5. The fall of Philippine tourism
For the past months, our country has been receiving much international air time, but, sadly, not for the reasons why we’d consider it’s more fun in the Philippines. This time, according to the World Economic Forum, it ranked 11th in the most dangerous countries for tourists, and according to the Global Peace Index, it’s the second least peaceful country in the Asia Pacific region. To the latter, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella has launched his consequent rebuttals, saying that, if we look to local polls, Filipinos are actually satisfied with the government’s fight against drugs and terrorism. Quite less serious but equally unsettling, an informal Facebook survey conducted by South East Asia Backpacker magazine showed Manila ranking first in “Worst Place in Southeast Asia.”