History is full of agony, despair and pain suffered by nations through different generations. How each of them fought and survived the different forms of foes in their respective battles stood out as legendary examples of how resiliency and persistence in confronting the enemy defined the character of the human race.
The Spartans against the conquering legions of Xerxes, the Russians against the onslaught of the Nazis, the South Africans in their fight against Apartheid, Japan on being left in rubbles at the end of World War II – the list of getting up from the ashes is long, as sure as there were other events in the past that were swept aside into the dustbin of history.
The Philippines has its own time in sufferings, in the past and at the present, surviving the colonization and enslavement by the Spaniards, Americans and Japanese, losing thousands in the process and left with a marked dent on the culture and character traits of the Filipinos.
We have gone through the economic turmoil, waved through the incompetence and corruption, watched the slaughter of our kind, and suffered the wrath of nature which, to some extent, has been aggravated by ineptness and greed.
The Filipinos, after years of being exposed to this set up, have adapted and learned to accept the inevitability of disasters visiting the country on a regular basis. Unlike the success stories of surmountijng the odds and rising up as victors after the smoke of battle has settled, we have to engage in the same battlefield against the same enemy again and again, year after year.
The only way we can defeat the challenge is to be prepared and do everything to prevent, or at the least, mitigate the loss of lives and properties when these natural disasters occur. Unfortunately, we always fail to learn from experience and lessons in the past. It’s no small consolation that at these times of hopelessness and despair of the victims there are kind souls driven by compassion and empathy to extend their hands to help and alleviate the sufferings of their fellow men.
While what has been mostly featured in the mass media are renowned political and showbiz personalities, many are faceless humans who silently, without fanfare, wade through the area of devastation, bringing along the immediate needs of the distressed, some in little amounts, some in just words of encouragement. These unknown and simple souls epitomize the real sincerity and honesty of real people, the very image of humanity. For there are Filipinos who have more than enough but decide to turn a deaf ear to the ple as of help from their distraught countrymen. Except for a few who decided to part with their millions trumpeting such intention in front of the mainstream media. A lousy act, reminding the intelligent ones of 2022.
We have to live with the reality of the perennial disasters in this country: the typhoons, torrential rains leading to floods, earthquakes, conflagrations, eruption of volcanoes and crocodiles. We have to brace up and depend on our collective and united stand to confront the threats. Hopefully, the sympathy and kindness of those who are situated in elevated positions would not wane. They’re the real angels whom we can always depend on in our times of distress. Failing the expectations from people who can provide us a formidable fortress, we have to live with the certainty of the challenges.
Rabiya Mateo, the newly crowned Ilongga beauty queen, observed that “resiliency is not enough, there should be tangible actions” to address these tragedies. But it seems this, too, will fall on deaf ears. We have to contend with the reality of things we cannot control. We are consoled and motivated that everytime, there are people ready and willing always to reach out to lift us up. There are people whose concept in life is founded on this thought: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough people get what they need.”
After all, he who climbs highest is the one who helps others up./WDJ