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Nook & Cranny Books

Some People Need Killing by Patricia Evangelista

Some People Need Killing by Patricia Evangelista

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“My job is to go to places where people die. I pack my bags, talk to the survivors, write my stories, then go home to wait for the next catastrophe. I don’t wait very long.”

Journalist Patricia Evangelista came of age in the aftermath of a street revolution that forged a new future for the Philippines. Three decades later, in the face of mounting inequality, the nation discovered the fragility of its democratic institutions under the regime of strongman Rodrigo Duterte.

Some People Need Killing is Evangelista’s meticulously reported and deeply human chronicle of the Philippines’ drug war. For six years, Evangelista documented the killings carried out by police and vigilantes in the name of Duterte’s war on drugs—a crusade that has led to the slaughter of thousands—immersing herself in the world of killers and survivors and capturing the atmosphere of terror created when an elected president decides that some lives are worth less than others.

The book takes its title from a vigilante, whose words demonstrated the psychological accommodation many across the country had made: “I’m really not a bad guy,” he said. “I’m not all bad. Some people need killing.”

A profound act of witness and a tour de force of literary journalism, Some People Need Killing is a brilliant dissection of the grammar of violence and an investigation into the human impulses to dominate and resist.

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