Even a stone refuses to be broken. In the same say, a piece of rock tries its best to stay whole. Prune a plant and it immediately exerts its effort to grow back its lost part. So does a tree with a cut branch that slowly finds a way to sprout one back if not more even. Animals are not known to kill themselves. The truth is that they have instinctive ways of protecting their limbs and defending their lives. So, why do men and women—and lately even an eleven year old girl—take their own lives, commit suicide?
Many things have been said, many words have been written about the big paradox forwarded by the phenomenon of suicide. If even inanimate things, members of the plant kingdom and irrational animals all want to remain whole and alive, why do human beings kill themselves? In other words, what does it take for someone to do away with his or her own life, and why?
Behavioral experts—psychologists and psychiatrists—have long since formulated ready answers to the serious and disturbing question of suicide. The answers range from the flippant and insensitive to the profound and enigmatic. One thing is certain, all those looking into and analyzing the anatomy of suicide are confronted with the deep and distinct mystery of the human person. And thus it is that no matter how one tries to explain for others to understand the fact of a suicide, there usually remains something that is unexplained, not understood.
For one reason or another, the number of suicides in the Country is on the rise, more varied in perceived rationale—and now, more disturbing in age bracket. It is not hard to blame the corrupt government, the pervasive poverty and misery in the country, the insensitivity of society. Furthermore, there is the standard whipping boy of a big population, the big fat wealthy few. In addition, the evil influence of media is likewise blamed by not only publishing but even sensationalizing suicides. Blaming everybody and everything else is the easiest response for anyone and everybody to explain self-killing.
What about those readily and easily throwing the blame around, giving a good look at themselves—for a change? We, the people: Are we really altogether free of any blame? As a society, have we already lost much of our sensitivity to the misery of our neighbors? Have we lately set aside our Filipino culture of “tulungan" (mutual help), "pakikisama" (community concern) and "bigayan" (neighborly sharing)?
No matter how one looks at it, a suicide is a terminal cry of desperation, a fatal shout for attention and concern. If this is true of adults killing themselves, this becomes more real for an eleven-year old girl hanging herself to death. She kept a diary. She recorded her lamentations. She did what she could. She felt lost. She ended it all.
Farewell, MANETTE! You woke us up from our complacency. You made us weep for ourselves. You give us so many things to think about. Be with God. Pray for us. YOU WIN!
10 November 2007