Friday, December 21, 2012


In a few minutes, standard Arabian time, it will be the 22nd of December 2012.

It isn't an important date by any means, not to me at least.  Tomorrow will just be another day here in Saudi Arabia, another cold day in Riyadh in a succession of very cold days.  I am not making a reference to all of the millennial talk, to the "end of days," or some other facsimile of signs that the Apocalypse is upon us, namely the passing of the Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines.  Hardly made a dent in world consciousness.

I am glad that life continues on giving, and giving, and giving.  Whatever the impetus, new life comes forth and within that moment of tenderness, of vulnerability, one finds all the reasons needed to live.  As for death, it is always unwelcome, whether in the ICU or on bullet-riddled, blood-stained kindergarten walls.

It is awe-inspiring that the cycle of life continues even with all the dumb mistakes we humans commit everyday.  While we have reduced Evil to a small "e"  I am very thankful that even with all the buttons waiting to be pressed for a worldwide conflagration, cooler heads have managed to hold onto the tiller.  At least for now.  Every time I see a video or a picture of children growing up, even though they are not my own, I am grateful for time's passage and the blessings these children have made possible to their families.  It hurts me, it pains me that any one of them has to face a moment of privation.

It is therefore bewildering that for all of our aspirations to virtue, only we have the capacity to be inhuman to ourselves.  How, instead of teaching future generations how to live, love, and learn, we are teaching them to hate, maim, and discriminate.

Out of all this bleakness, it is not unreasonable that one learning we can take out of this is that the best intentions aren't enough.  Loving and cherishing one's family is not enough if the primacy of the family means oppressing other families.  Learning and developing new skills must not prescribe that others not as popular should be excluded.  Celebrating one's personhood means also appreciating others, especially those people whom we find so different from ourselves.

It is also not unreasonable that we prepare ourselves by being fooled by this season of glee to expect that somebody else will be doing the hard work, the pedal-pushing, the small sacrifices. We can dream of good things for everyone, just like ol' John Lennon says (bless his soul), but we can't stay dreamers forever.  It is time to wake up and do something.

Merry Christmas.

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