July 16, 2006

Omerta and Impunity:Two sides of the same rotten coin

Omerta.  The Code of Silence.

The very same Code that made the mafia so effective.  The very same Code that makes fraternities so effective.

The mafia treats breakers of Omerta swiftly and decisively:  they leave the earth permanently through:  (a) a swim with a slab of concrete for flippers, (b)  a permanent third eye, or (c) a permanent second smile.

While I have not heard of local fraternities dealing with Omerta breakers that decisively, the effect of the use of Omerta in the fraternity system has allowed violence to be done with impunity.  The culture of violence does not end because those responsible know that Omerta will not be broken by their “brods”, past or present.

Omerta thrives on an enforced silence;  an absence of sound that is not peace but a festering quiet.

On a much larger scale, Omerta is seen in governments;  and not surprisingly, because a lot of these governments are populated by frat members.  That is why governments deal in impunity because they thrive on Omerta.

Ed Delos Reyes and Cory Dela Cruz, both police officers, broke omerta when they told the truth:  that in May 1995, eleven (11) unarmed and handcuffed civilians were killed in cold blood along a highway in Quezon City at dawn;  this led to the Kuratong Baleleng rub-out cases.  Where are Ed and Cory now?  They are out of the country and paying for their courage with “new lives.”  Where are the killers now?  Some are in very high places.

I have not heard of a hazing case that has prospered because a courageous frat man has come forward to denounce a killing done in the name of “brotherhood.”  My disclaimer:  I am not neutral on this issue:  my office is handling a murder that arose out of a supposed hazing and no witnesses will come forward because omerta is being enforced not only within the fraternity and sorority but also on the witnesses.  So, will the guilty ones get away?  Yes, most probably.  But, to paraphrase George W. Bush (and this is irony, for those who know me and my relationship with Dubya), they can run but they can’t hide.  They may have run away from a  long prison sentence but they cannot hide from their conscience and from their God.

End the rule of impunity.  Shatter Omerta.  Now!

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