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Thoughts in Transit

Faces in the Crowd

PHILIPPINES | Sunday, 13 May 2012 | Views [415] | Comments [1]

Today I walked to the spot where barely a week ago someone lobbed a grenade in the way of a busy intersection in my home city. As I came up the street I noticed people slowing down and stopping by a particular electric post with eyes heavy and heads bowed.

It turned out that a tarpaulin had been put up with the names and faces of the two students who had died in the incident. Cars and pedestrians all paid a respectful pause as they passed by. The persons on the wall were so unremarkable and so normal that Looking at their pictures I felt a cold dread welling up from within (and I know everyone there felt it with me too): that it could have been anyone of us who had died suddenly and senselessly on that spot. I don't know these victims personally, but the heaviness of their deaths became real when I realized that it could have easily happened to me right there.

I could have just been minding my own business, walking on the way home, getting a bite across the road, making photocopies at the nearby store, whatever. Everyone walks that way at least once in a week to get anywhere in town. Apparently that wouldn't be enough. Even then I could still meet an untimely death while just spending the night out with friends, like Djay and Jonel did, or incur severe life-changing injuries as the 24 others in the hospital have.

Most suffering is endurable once you know the purpose for which you bear the pain. It starts becoming unbearable once you are tempted with the thought that the pain in the loss is ultimately for naught. I guess, then, that this could only be an exercise in ventilating frustration, since I do not write this as someone who knows exactly why it happened. And such is the nature of frustration: that intangible weight of unanswered yet intimate questions just tearing at your heart.

Theories abound as to why someone would throw a grenade at random bystanders. None of which really matter or are worth putting here. The point is nobody knows. I'm sure somebody somewhere is responsible and should be made to answer for it. But until then, we will have to remain for now good neighbors, living and coexisting together.

Tags: death, grenade, iligan, mindanao, violence




An incident like this remind us of our mortality. We think we have forever to live for but no one can tell when death would kiss us goodbye.

  dkbg May 17, 2012 11:04 AM

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