Friday, March 14, 2008

"Why? Am I my bother’s keeper?"

It is no less than the Sacred Scriptures that recorded the question poised by a man named "Cain". He murdered no less than his own brother. When asked by the Lord where his brother was, the murderer in turn simply posed another question with evasive intent and defensive spirit: "Why, am I my brother's keeper?" This shameful and detestable question asked so long a time ago when the human family barely began, is once again being asked by many Filipinos who play blind, deaf and dumb when confronted by the atrocious anomalies committed by and scandalous transactions entered into by their government. Their answers are essentially the same as that made by Cain: Why? Is that my business? Should not everyone be for himself? Does love not begin at home?

Such questions with a hint of self-righteousness plus evasive implication are but concrete expressions of personal indifference and social apathy to the sorrowful passion the country is suffering from long since. In short, there appears a prevailing miserable and pitiful spirit in the country in terms of one being to his own. This mentality and disposition squarely deny the natural social dimension of every single human person—who depended on others for his birth and growth, and who will continue to depend on others as well during his grave sickness and eventual burial. Meantime, he thinks he can afford to subscribe to incarnate selfishness, errant individualism and fatal egoism, the composite of which constitute a big plus sign for a lying, cheating and stealing ruling administration.

When persons simply disappear if not summarily killed, when individuals are oppressed in dignity and violated in their rights, when workers and women are exploited, when many children no longer go to school, when babies already owe thousands of pesos to the government even before their birth—something must be terribly wrong with those supposedly honorable officials in government, something should be fundamentally corrupt with the way they exercise governance. When millions of Filipinos suffer for lack of food and medicine, when other millions of Filipinos leave their families behind in order to find work abroad, when some other millions of Filipinos are oppressed and deprived—something must be done to remedy such devastating economy and long since prevailing social predicament. And all these socio-economic maladies are basically on account of an administration that wallows in graft and corruption, fundamentally due to a government that is morally bankrupt.

One people with one birthright having one country—and no one is his brother's keeper? One race living in the same difficult present and facing the same uncertain future—and everyone is but for himself? How advantageous and convenient for the present government! And how tragic and disastrous for the Filipino people!

"One for all and all for one!"—this is exactly the imperative of the times, the mandate of every Filipino. The victorious shout was made famous by a trio of gallant and courageous gentlemen. And it must be also the relevant and significant cry of the beleaguered Filipinos today.

Otherwise, they deserve the stinking government they have!

14 March 2008