Compassion as against grand illusions

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Friday, May 16, 2014


IT WAS not an extraordinary sight but I was beside myself when it made me look again. Out in the streets, a mother and her two very young children were knocking on every house for a little bit of help, maybe a few cents, or some crumbs that homeowners usually give their pets to chew on, or a bottle of water to quench the little tykes’ thirsts.

I looked again because what this mother does is something that is gargantuan, for the simple reason that it defies what is commonly considered “normal” in our elitist world in the city, something that would probably take a lot of effort for any one like the “ordinary” housewife who has her “comfort zone” in the confines of the roof above her head.

What this woman was doing brings out not pity in me, but compassion, as I was awe-struck with how she carried herself and her children with dignity, in their obvious want and need, in the glaring poverty that drove her to knock and beg for her children.

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The feeling that enveloped me at that moment was so overwhelming that I wanted to give her relief immediately.

It was the kind of reaction that was almost involuntary as it was not even asked of me.

But why not? If such an image took hold of me in an instant, it was but a human response to a stimulant that affects my being, specifically the principles that I have held precious in my heart. It is the principle that is enshrined in our very own Philippine Constitution, that speaks of Human and inalienable Rights that each and every citizen in this God-forsaken country has.

The picture that I failed to catch in my point-and-shoot digital camera is forever etched in my mind, and will stay there for some length, because I could not understand why our society, why our government allows these things to happen in our midst.

And yet why do our policy-makers seem to be blind to these realities of the growing human suffering in our midst? They who purportedly are crafting laws and policies that are designed to address the human needs of their constituents, especially among the very least, who are, if I may speak of the truth, the greater number among the populace of this country?

Those who call themselves “honorable men and women” in the houses of representatives who have grand designs to reduce poverty and alleviate their people’s suffering, why can’t they seem to see the simple solutions to problems besetting our people?

That impoverished mother that I saw a while ago may not have any inkling about the squabbling in the Senate and the House of Representatives over the spoils of one wicked so-called mastermind of the PDAF scam, the corruption that has been going on for decades in government. She may not care at all if these people may rot in hell, as she is only concerned about what her little children may eat in the next meal, if she could not find some compassionate soul along the way.

She and the likes of her are the oblivious victim of the greed of those in power in government who categorically stole from her and her children their birth-right and every right of her children to have as citizen of this country.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 17, 2014.

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