Happy Sunday everyone! Or at least I hope it is where you are. The news has been so distressing lately that I’m finding it hard to concentrate again, either on studying or reading. For one, I’m saddened and angered by news of the Floyd protests. While we here at the Philippines can never truly grasp the extent of systemic racism and violence committed against African Americans, I am still firmly against police brutality. I hope to support the protests in spirit by reading more works by black authors this month.
In other news, our congress has just passed an Anti-Terrorism Bill. This bill is alarming because it employs an overly broad and imprecise definition of terrorism, under which people who voice dissent against the government can be detained without a warrant for up to 24 days. The government can also essentially spy on suspected terrorists under this bill. When people started protesting this, a number of fake accounts of the protestors against the bill suddenly appeared on Facebook. These accounts may be used to spread misinformation and cause harm to the protestors, some of whom are my friends.
We’re all petitioning to junk the bill and pleading with the government to prioritize more urgent issues like mass testing instead. Still, many of us are shaken by this news. This bill, along with the shutdown of one of our major news companies, is reminiscent of the martial law declared by the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s. During Martial Law, free speech was curtailed and thousands of activists were incarcerated and killed for voicing dissent against the Marcos administration. Hopefully it doesn’t get to that point, but the government’s actions are awakening collective feelings of fear and anger right now.
So it’s been a rather heavy week. I hope you’ll keep us in your thoughts.
Anyway, on to some bookish updates. While I haven’t been able to read much, reading (and playing the piano) really helped keep me sane this week.
Posts This Week
Books I Finished This Week
- I picked Home Fire up for my #ReadingWomen challenge, and it’s proven to be a timely read, especially with the theme of a citizen going against state authority. Hopefully I can review this by the end of the month.
Books I’m Currently Reading
- I’m kind of bummed that it’s taking me awhile to finish O’Connor’s Complete Stories, In the Woods, and Far from the Madding Crowd, since I don’t usually let books sit on my currently-reading shelf for this long, but times are weird now so I’m learning to be okay with it.
- I’ve read Smith’s The Power of Meaning years ago, and since I suffered from a mini-existential crisis this week, I thought I’d give it a reread.
- I picked up Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun this week for both my #ReadingWomen challenge and to support black authors. I’ve previously read and loved Americanah, another work by Adichie, so I feel like I’ll also love this one.
I’d like to ask you all for some advice on how to consume the news. I am not very active on social media, and I make it a point to limit my news consumption because I also have a limited ability to cope with the anxiety and overwhelm of the news cycle. Usually, family and friends just update me on what’s happening with the world.
However, I was wondering if it were possible to be more constructive about how I approach and consume the news. Is there a way of consuming news ‘wisely’? How do you cope with the unending cycle of bad news? One of my problems is that I tend to avoid the news also because I feel helpless to change things. Even if I donate or sign petitions, I have this nagging voice in my mind saying that such small actions don’t really contribute much. Another reason I also shy away from the news is because it usually lacks a coherent narrative—there are just so many floating, disjointed fragments and points of view, and I don’t know how to put it together. (This is why I prefer the coherence of books, whether fiction or nonfiction.)
Anyway, I would like to work towards becoming a more involved citizen, so I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this. Let me know in the comments. 🙂