A blessed Thanksgiving to all!
The events of the past few months run the gamut of human experience. In the worst flooding in 40 years, we saw death and destruction, but we also saw kindness, compassion and unfathomable generosity. We saw Manny Pacquaio and CNN Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida bring tremendous honor to our country – one for his prowess in sport; the other for his quiet but determined work to educate children in the poverty-stricken areas of Cavite.
Just a few days ago, we have been confronted with the most despicable crimes in recent memory in the Maguindanao massacre which resulted in the killing of at least 57 innocent Filipinos – unarmed women, lawyers, journalists, and civilians going about their daily lives.
How do we deal with this tragedy of monumental proportions? It was the German poet Rainier Maria Rilke who said, to endure is all. But surely there is more to life than enduring. We celebrate the triumph of spirit that Manny Pacquiao and Efren Penaflorida exemplify. We try to learn from the lessons of Ondoy and Pepeng in order to re-orient our urban planning to take into consideration the limits of development and the need to respect the laws of nature. The recent massacre, we can only hope, will strengthen our resolve to demand accountability from our leaders to end the culture of impunity that political exploitation and warlordism have spawned. Our weapons against such wanton display of power is education, the reduction of poverty, the inculcation of moral values, the strengthening of our democratic institutions, and the election of servant leaders through a truly honest and clean election in May 2010.
In this season of thanksgiving, let us pause for a moment to thank the good Lord for giving us our lives, our family, and all the blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us also respond to His call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, educate the children, shelter the homeless. You may wish to visit our website at http://www.af-usa.org/ to choose a project that will feed one child, educate a student, heal a sick person, plant a tree, or provide a home for a family.
Perhaps our individual acts of kindness and generosity, no matter how small, will spark the flame of compassion, of caring, of giving, of sharing, and of loving our fellow Filipinos.
Mabuhay and God bless!
Victoria P. Garchitorena