Sunday, February 19, 2006

Crests and Troughs

Hundreds feared dead in Leyte landslide -

I was huddled in front of a sound mixer, watching and waiting for the next cue, to turn the sound up, to move it down, to make sure the lapel microphones wouldn't generate feedback or static. 35 million things were firing up the synapses in my brain - what to do with the after-show, what to do with the financial report of the production, what to do with the ever-increasing pile of work that says "has to be done at home..."

At that time your existence was surgically obliterated, as a rampaging wall of mud and boulders came down from Can-abag, like a unwelcome lover coming to visit, only that you were powerless to resist...

It was hard not to feel triumphant at the end of the show, where even minor glitches could not take away the forceful, mesmerizing effect of the acting weaving through the simple message of the material: love and honor do still matter in this day and age, even if we have to live them vicariously through a stage production.

I wouldn't even have the slightest idea how you reacted with the onrush of impending doom coming at you. Were you supine, resting from your labors, allowing the rain to caress you to sleep like a lullaby forgotten long ago? Or were you brutally awakened, denuded of your defenses as the Reaper came crashing down upon you? What thoughts were in your mind then --- was it numb from shock, caught up in mundane issues as to how you will recover (not knowing if you'll survive)? Or were you calling for mercies then, whatever mercies could be handed you? For there was no mercy when your fellow man cut down the trees and laid waste the protection that nature could have afforded you.

My eyes were teary-eyed that night watching as a young wife and mother mourned over the loss of her stillborn child - unwanted by her husband because it was the diseased seed of a raping interloper, for she was doomed to love the fruit of her womb regardless. My heart soared with the quiet heroism of simple people, struggling against fate and working to better their lives even against formidable circumstances.

Back in the homeland these same simple people perished as man's greed and his arrogance came together and created another tragedy. What happens to these people who have passed? Will there be a grave for them if ever their bodies are recovered? Will they ever be mourned, or have all their likely mourners perished along with them? How many Ormocs and Gabaldons do we have to witness before we realize the depth of our folly?

A nuclear Iran, the trial of Saddam Hussein, the fragile peace of Palestine --- athletes waltz against the klieg lights and the sparkle of the snow at the Olympics.

Where was I when you have fallen? What hope could I hold for you?

Who would remember you and your shattered dreams?

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