Hannah Neumann, MEP

"The days of colonial masters ordering people around are over."


Hannah Neumann is a 35-year-old German politician. She is a sitting member of the European Parliament under the Alliance 90/The Greens party, the fourth largest party/coalition in the 705-member institution.

She is also the principal author of that resolution condemning the “human rights abuses of the Duterte administration” and urging the European Union to sanction the country by suspending the availment of incentives for our exports to the 27-member aggrupation under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

By filing that resolution, Neumann became the newest member of that group of foreigners, mostly government officials, who are rooted in that long-discredited posture of colonizers bent on interfering in the internal affairs of their former colonies and independent states like the Philippines..

Under pain of sanctions and, possibly other severe actions, that Neumann resolution urges (orders may be a more appropriate term) the administration to suspend the rule of law and twist and turn the legal processes upside down to satisfy their interfering selves.

Mouthing those baseless phrases “murderous drug war” and “suppression of press freedom,” they have taken upon themselves to police the governance processes in this benighted land. What did they want anyway? Well, they asked that the cyber libel conviction of Maria Ressa be overturned, that detained Senator Leila de Lima be freed, and that the ABS-CBN franchise be restored.

And did they expect the government to just roll over and accede to their wishes like colonized people of old? Not by any wild, wild chance.

As Foreign Affairs Secretary TeddyBoy Locsin noted, there is no way in hell any self-respecting country will even think of doing so. During the hearing on the agency’s budget for 2021, Locsin said the European lawmaker's moves to tackle "nonsensical issues" such as Congress' rejection of ABS-CBN's franchise bid only showed "they have descended to the level of stupidity." By attempting to interfere in every detail of our government, Locsin added, the lawmakers only brought down the stature of the European Parliament.

"I hate to use the word but really, they are discrediting themselves because they are picking up just anything that the enemies and the critics of Duterte are throwing at our President. You pick that up and who loses? The whole world knows what exactly are the prerogatives of a state," Locsin told lawmakers during the hearing.

He then proceeded to throw that “bomb” at Neumann and her cohorts noting that "there are many great issues happening in Europe. There are wars in the eastern side of Europe, there are wars in the Middle East and North Africa that are going to reach Europe – that have already reached Europe. Do they want to discredit the European Parliament by picking up nonsensical issues? “Well, that's their problem," he said.

Like Locsin, the vast majority of Filipinos has denounced the continuing interference and threats of sanctions leveled against the country by officials such as Neumann and company. They really should know better. We have come to terms with the fact that these people will say anything they want and proceed to use every opportunity to score points against this administration. After all, the Alliance 90/Green Party, to which Neumann and most of her confederates who pushed for the resolution belong, has always been known as a coalition of gadflies who are so concerned with “the trees forgetting the growth of the forest.”

The days of colonial masters ordering people around are over. Colonized countries have stepped up, established their own internal rules and processes, and are free to chart their ways as a member of the family of nations.

It is about time they came to terms with that reality. Otherwise, they will forever be denounced as unreconstructed colonialists and unrepentant promoters of double standards, given many of the member-countries’ own human rights records.

But the most vocal denunciations should be against Ressa and her gang who have become purveyors of all the baseless claims about the human rights situation in the country and their unalloyed efforts to let foreigners poke their fingers on our own established legal and democratic processes.

This was not the first time, and it won’t be the last, that a misguided and unabashed Duterte critic like Ressa would decry her condition. But she has only herself to blame. She has long been promoting herself as some sort of a protector of “human rights and press freedom” in this country, a kind of Joan of Arc as one of her propagandists tried so hard to sell her, the point that she has come to believe her own rhetoric. That somehow she deserves to be above the law.

Well, she is not. She will never be, because this is a country which fortunately is still governed by duly elected officials who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of an independent country. Not a colony as seems to be these guys’ drift.

In any event, if Ressa and her friend Neumann are really fighters for press freedom and human rights as they want people to believe, why don’t they at least do something about the state of the press in countries such as Bulgaria and Cyprus, both standing members of the EU?

And, if it's human rights that they are most concerned about, they do not have to go very far. They only need to visit the refugee camps within the European Union or visit some of the slum areas in Malta and even in cities such as Paris. They can also check with Human Rights Watch the records of Hungary, Romania and even Poland who are all members of the EU as well.

If they cannot even dare to do these simple things and speak up for those suffering millions in these EU member countries, they better rethink their position and shut up.

Topics: Hannah Neumann , European Parliament , Generalized System of Preferences , European Union , ABS-CBN , Alliance 90/Green Party
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