I hope every Filipino can read this.
ON THIS DARK NIGHT
by Joel Navarro
I have been following the tragic news of 44 specially trained Filipino policemen slain in a covert operation to apprehend two most wanted terrorists based in Mindanao.
I have also read President Aquino’s eulogy below. From a counseling and pastoral perspective, it would be imprudent and unwise for the counselor to reference his personal loss as a way of commiseration with and comfort-giving to the counselee. It’s as if you are saying to the counselee “I don’t want to hear your pain. Listen to my pain.” The better way is to always give the listening ear, to extend one’s arm to reach around the other’s shoulder, the comforting presence, or the unsolicited help behind the scenes. A friend therapist once told me, the best gift you can give to your counselee is quite simply yourself.
I can understand the president’s initial numbness to the news as it brought back horrific images of his own father’s assassination in 1983. Was it a post-traumatic stress disorder which triggered that? We will never know. But to rise above the situation and be the leader of his people was his primordial act of responsibility and courage to do—the same virtues which those 44 carried into the terrorists’ lair. It was also the call of the moment.
For a nation and a people known for their empathic skills—however absurd it can manipulate at times—the sight of a leader showing empathy by his mere presence speaks volumes. Such an act of consolation was time-sensitive as it was eminently doable.
But the sight of a nation spending less time complaining about their leader and doing more by personally rallying around the families of the bereaved also speak volumes about the maturity and character of the nation. Spending a lot of time roiling over their leaders is only a people’s excuse at doing not nearly enough for one’s country. Real change is done by silent heroes who patiently sculpt away chip by chip at the Sisyphean stone a people cannot simply push over the hill.
Why do I bring these two seemingly disparate points? I am simply at a loss at our propensity to judge quickly and completely when all we get are versions of the event. One cannot wait for the whole picture to piece itself together or be clearer than we want it to be. It never is. The nature of governmental action brings a level of expedient and calculated transparency that those in power can live with and can find political points for. For now, there is much room for the Filipino people to be there for the Filipino people. Sure, our leaders fail, and we are angry. But let us not stop there nor be foolish enough to think that ridding the country of such a leader is the answer. Ineptitude is not necessarily a sign of moral poverty. It is, quite frankly, the lesser of two evils.
Ridding ourselves of quick-tempered judgment is the answer. Ridding ourselves of voluminous rant and doing effective and silent work is the answer. Praying for our leaders is the answer. Loving our enemies is the answer. Kindness to our neighbors is the answer.
After all, the best answers lie within us. Let us not wait for our leaders anymore. They are bound to fail. As we all do. And we will do well to pray for each other, and to pray even harder when one of us falls. The act of prayer, good counsel, and constructive feedback is restorative. The act of ranting and raving is destructive. We must all be children of a greater god.
For now, it is a time to weep with the families of the fallen. It is not the time to throw stones. Tomorrow, we ferret out the truth, and pray that humility will make those accountable do acts of reparation and restoration.
May God have mercy on us all. Mark Renn Caluag - January 30, 2015 at 11:48PM