Forget hardship for one moment: It is Christmas day!
Again, we celebrate the birth of the child Jesus. Again, the festivity is associated with joy, gift-giving, generosity, social togetherness, and family reunion.
But, this year’s celebration is becoming more austere, tightening more the belt, and again, empty wallets and a few pennies inside the pocket. We are not improving since last year, and the other year’s celebration.
Already under post- Glenda and post-Yolanda economic pains, and burdened again by post-typhoon Ruby survival condition, the art of living has now become an art of daily surviving.
We have a bourgeois leadership – A President who has never known suffering nor feel the pains of hunger. A President who knows that 85 million Filipinos are in the poverty level, but they are only data and statistics for him, but he never has the “feel” that his decision may add more Filipinos into the poverty statistics.
Among his peer group of decision recommenders and policy makers are scions of the ruling oligarchs who have dominated the economic scene in the pursuit of profits, driven by greed.
Among their thinking, who cares if tribal groups in Mindanao are uprooted from their ancestral domains to give way for giant mining firms?
In their consensus, the money and the profits come first today, and let the environment defenders and ethnic activists howl in the wilderness several years from now after their terms in office.
Today, wealth, power, and profits are of prime importance. Social conscience shall take care by itself in some moments in time, and several cash envelopes as donation to their favored church may wash away any guilt feelings. These are their credo.
Christmas is only for the poor and the children, they say. The 13th month pay, the Christmas bonus, and the “little extras” can subdue the grieving factory worker from revolt, and the government employee from any foreseeable work slow-down as manifestation of dissent.
The elitist leadership believes the palliatives of 4P’s, the welfare dole-outs, and job placements abroad can stifle dissent and guarantee among the Filipino masses “virtual reality of prosperity”.
The national leadership, with firmness and ruthlessness, can just unleash the “dogs of war” to stifle and destroy dissent when the social-economic palliatives do not work out.
It is Christmas. But, have we forgotten its meaning?
Is it because we have been desensitized by poverty and daily hardships of belt-tightening that we have forgotten to pause for a minute, and reflect that, there was a moment in human civilization history when a child, the Son of God, was born inside a stable of working animals?
If he were born today, the Child would not be born in Ayala Alabang village, not in Forbes, not in Dasmarinas Village. He would not be born from a family of oligarchs, nor from a family of powerful politicians, never in the Vatican nor in Malacanang Palace.
Surely, he would be born among the poor, for these people belong to his kingdom.
BicolToday.com Staff and Family