Sunday, September 21, 2008

fight or flight

I love my country. Even if there are many unpleasant things about it. Especially now.

The more I read history, the more I find out about political and extrajudicial killings in my country, the more I am inclined to want to use whatever skills I have (in art and in my particular field in social science) to help bring about justice for the victims.

Tads, a classmate and friend of mine who died two months ago in a mountaineering accident (during a very bad typhoon), was supposed to be part of the forensic team that would help identify the victims (buried in remote areas) of the killings. Other than being a great mountaineer who can read the terrain and help set up camp, he was also a great anthropologist in the making. As part of the team he was going to be our visual guy, the one who took photos and sketched out faces to be identified. He was to be our forensic artist. Now that he's gone we're one powerhouse less.

Today I saw a small exhibit on the death of one of our country's heroes, Ninoy Aquino. I felt myself clenching my fists, at everything that caused it, and I remembered all the injustices not only in my country, but in the rest of the world. This was the social me talking. And I felt like doing something.

That experience today made me seriously contemplate (finally) being part of that forensic team. While I may not be able to take Tads' place as the visual expert, I can however take (okay) photographs. I can sleep anywhere. I'm not finicky about food. I can carry a conversation well. I ask. I'm not afraid of dead bodies and skeletal remains. No, I am not afraid. And neither should you be.

The ones we should fear are alive: those holding the guns, those who are capable of ruthless murder using whatever means, and the people who deny justice to those who deserve it.

So I say FIGHT.

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