Justice for Onin

In a university where fraternity violence is more of the norm rather than the exception, it is not uncommon to hear news about some fraternity battling it out with some other rival fraternity. It is not uncommon to hear news about some neophyte getting killed during some initiation rites. But to hear news about some Barbarian getting killed in what appears to be a fraternity-related incident, that’s another story.

Last January 19, 1999, Niño Calinao, a Barbarian, was fatally shot five times while hanging-out at one of the booths at the AS Walk. Gossip has it that it was a case of mistaken identity. Onin was not the real target. Nonetheless, a UP student is dead and nobody can go clicking the undo button and pretend nothing happened.

In my almost five years in UP, I have witnessed at least three fraternity-related deaths. Unfortunately, they all follow the same storyline. After the death comes the fraternity finger-pointing together with the all too familiar “fraternities against violence” brouhaha. Then comes the festive court action, where we see brotherhood at its finest. Alumni lawyers of accused fraternities battle it out with the truth. Nothing much follows except the short wait for the next fraternity-related death.

But Onin is different. He is not a member nor a neophyte of any fraternity whatsoever. He is a Barbarian, who had better things to do than join a fraternity. In spite this, he has become a victim of the very concept of brotherhood he’d rather not adopt. He is a dead victim of fraternity-related violence.

Onin doesn’t deserve this. Nobody does, but the fact the UP’s fraternity culture has evolved to be violent if not downright devilish is undeniable. With Onin’s death, they have expanded their horizon to challenge the biggest and most powerful fraternity of them all… the Barbarians, as they so fondly call us.

But we are different. We will not fill our bags with all sorts of rumble armaments. We will not hide in some fraternity-house and device yet another devilish war strategy. We will not hire a gunman to fight our battles. We won’t do these because these would mean stooping to their low low level.

Instead, we would confront them head on in places they are least familiar with… the intellectual arena of the civilized world. We will write to all the papers to promote public awareness on the issue. We will engage them in televised debates and discussions, where the topic would be how to tame the fraternities. We will fill their email inboxes with anti-fraternity spam, so many that they will be paranoid every time they see the message “you’ve got mail.” There will be a great cry for justice in all of UP and this will be known as the Great Barbarian Attack.

After all these, they would be heavily demoralized making it easier for us Barbarians to strike them in the butt but no, we won’t do the last one because we know quite well that butt-striking is their field of excellence. Hence, we will just fill their tambayans with pictures of Onin, Alex etc. so that memories of their evil doings will haunt them forever.

I know. I know. Fraternities are a long-standing tradition in the University and their ranks include some of the most powerful people in the country today. Hitting on them is like using a deadly volleyball spike against a deadly .45 caliber pistol but that’s beyond the point. Tradition and political affiliation doesn’t give them the right to be stupid, fickle-minded and evil as they are now.

To all fraternities, who are irresponsibly responsible for Onin’s death… putang-ina niyong lahat and may you all die in the hands of your fellow frat men.

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