Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Shared Destiny

Here they come again --- the bombings in Tel Aviv have torn open this wound that has hardly healed. This wound is a cancer that eats on the hope that there will be a just and lasting peace. My reflection on this draws a lot from the popular mass song --- "Neither Heaven is at peace / when we live not in peace."

Peace is never the end, it is the means.

My soul preached to me and showed me that I am neither more than the pygmy, nor less than the giant.
Ere my soul preached to me, I looked upon humanity as two men: one weak, whom I pitied, and the other strong, whom I followed or resisted in defiance.
But now I have learned that I was as both are and made from the same elements. My origin is their origin, my conscience is their conscience, my contention is their contention, and my pilgrimage is their pilgrimage.
If they sin, I am also a sinner. If they do well, I take pride in their well-doing. If they rise, I rise with them. If they stay inert, I share their slothfulness.
-- (Kahlil Gibran, Thoughts and Meditations)

As to the events in Manila, I can't help but admire --- in the same way I admire and dread the deadly killing abilities of a cobra --- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. On the one hand, she goads her rabble in Congress to push for constitutional change, for she knows that the public distrusts their own representatives, and will resist such initiatives. On the other, every single bit of resistance buys her more time to rally her flagging strength. The deadlock will be all the more to her benefit.

The second loop in this program is even more insidious: should the charter change initiative pull through, she would be in the best position to dictate the terms of how she will wield the power after the change pushes through. Again, should these changes meet resistance, she secures her flanks and if necessary, she can let her allies take on her opponents, and let their squabbling keep her afloat for another day.

She may yet go down in history as one of our most astute politicians ever.

Which is why it is all the more important that our countrymen realize that we share our destiny, and should we fail to engage the problem at its source, we will fall victim to our own hubris.

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