Tell it to SunStar: Daylight panopticon

In George Orwell’s novel, “1984,” the term “panopticon” was frequently used. Panopticon was conceptualized by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. It is a prison containing a central watchtower serving as a lighthouse, which can be reimagined as a huge closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera floating in the sky.

Panopticon can also be compared to the “Eye of Sauron” in the fantasy epic, “Lord of the Rings.” It watches over Sauron’s enemies.

In Orwell’s novel, the panopticon’s towering figure, however, is repeatedly presented as a lingering presence or a camera that follows all prisoners’ actions. It would be futile for anyone to even attempt escape.

The short-lived disappearance of Armand Jake Dayoha and Dyan Gumanao could have been caused by our own kind of panopticon that employs a sleek method of surveillance. The irony of this dilemma is that the center of the panopticon is invisible. The center (read: the culprits) is still under investigation.

Orwell’s novel tells us about the fate of two lovers who conspired against those in power. They are taken into custody for a supposed “questioning” that escalated into a “reeducation,” which employed the most horrendous pedagogical styles known to man. They are also forced to sing songs about their comrades who, in a matter of a few hours, would experience the same torture that they endured.

I was told by my fellow activists that Armand’s and Dyan’s fate was similar to the story.

The couple, I believe, were closely monitored by an invisible eye that saw even the tiniest details, including the time of their arrival etched in a corner somewhere in their boat tickets.

Many eyes had witnessed what happened on Jan. 10, 2023, and yet all were seemingly shut at the gaze of Sauron’s mighty eye. As far as the circulating video is concerned, nobody lifted a finger to help the struggling couple. The couple were screaming while being shoved forcibly into a vehicle by men who claimed to be police officers.

What strikes fear in my heart is not the shoving nor the white vehicle. Armed men do not even give me chills. I am also not surprised when all those who were present stood silently.

I am alarmed by the fact that the Eye at the heart of the panopticon had already seen Dyan and Armand while they were still at sea.

It bothers me, as a writer and an activist, that as soon as I strike the nail of my last sentence, the Eye stares and follows me every step of the way.