By Dr. Val Gonzales
Currently, we are here in Davao. The night market where the recent bombing occurred is less than a kilometer from where we are staying.
I have intentionally gone around areas considered soft targets to prove to myself that I will not be regulated by collective anxiety over what happens. In my mind, I say if it’s time to go I go. After all isn’t that what I teach?
This does not mean I do not seek the wisdom of caution. But for how long do I need to be cautious?
I appreciate good friends from all over the world who would say they pray for my safety. A dear friend even asked to be updated daily of our whereabouts. That is truly a treasure.
Then I read an article about the recent hoopla between the Philippine president and his American counterpart. Further explanation of what really occurred is more media- hyped than reality-based.
As I go around I see the pain in people’s faces. I hear the agony of taxi drivers. Their livelihood has been disrupted because of frequent stops in several military checkpoints.
A family member of one of the victims faced a tv camera saying, “We are innocent people. Please don’t include us in your atrocities.”
Apparently, he was referring to whoever was responsible for the blasting of a privately made mortar-based bomb. Of course the responsible will not have ownership of this! Only the courageous will admit responsibility .
But another voice also emerged from this tragedy. It’s that of the “merisi” sayers who clapped their hands and say, that’s the result of the unrefined language by this current president.
I am still grappling with the origin of this mentality. Perhaps you have some thoughts to helping clarify this mindset to me. Why would a fellow Filipino express such gratification for such nonsensical tragedy?
Then I came across an objective analysis about how the USA had massacred almost a million Filipinos during the Philippine -American war. The author wrote about Filipinos as described by their captors as non-capable of governance and behave as Neanderthals. That really hurts to the very core. (Adele Webb, 09 Sept 2016)
We are a people in deep unresolved collective pain. The endemic corruption, pervasive addiction to mind altering substances, the never ending the struggle of the peasants and the dispossessed, and utter lack of unified identity are just concrete samples of this pain.
Meanwhile, the oligarchs of the land with the coalition of institutionalized religion continue to maintain their stronghold both politically and economically at all cost. And the poor remains poorer. All of these are being addressed by this new administration but the detractors remain fixated at his uncouth language.
The principle I observe as a professional psychotherapist is this: address the unresolved pain if you wish to move forward!
We cannot resolve our pain by laughing at them or by putting responsibility onto others. A good start would be to look at ourselves and search if we have a share of this pain that we unwittingly transmit to others by our attitude, speech, or behavior.
Once the self is examined let us look at others with true gratitude because each of them bears the image of the Divine! And as we have been gifted let us do our share in demonstrating love for our needy neighbor.
Some naysayers will say this is rather simplistic. My response is this: the best things in life are not complicated .
It is our sense of shame that complicates matters! And by the way, before you hurl your critique, have you tried it? Shalom everyone.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jonathan Vincent Tan via Flickr Creative Commons License