At the start of the year I promised myself I would write an essay every week ostensibly for my column for Metro Post, a small newspaper in Dumaguete. Nothing too heavy, not even social commentary, just something light because I didn't want to work too hard and besides there's I did well enough for January and I thought I'd gotten back into my groove. And then the tragedy at Mamasapano happened.
Like so many others, I had strong feelings about Mamasapano. The whole incident put me in an emotional fug, one that I'm still not fully recovered from. Like so many others, I wanted to put those feelings into writing, to put in my own two cents into the ongoing conversation. In my mind, I already had a whole essay outlined and written out. I told my wife that I had this long impassioned tirade all primed and ready to go.
Do you really want to do that? she asked. Emotions were running high. I might write something I would regret later on.
So I thought about it and I let the deadline pass. Then another one. Then another one.
It seemed disrespectful to write about anything else and I didn't feel I was ready, after all, to write about Mamasapano. Instead I lurked in the sidelines, following the news as they came out, and mulling over the comments and opinions.
In the end, I was glad I didn't write or comment about Mamasapano. Emotions were running high, as my wife said, and the whole affair is very complicated. The story came out in bits and pieces, indeed, it's still coming out, so it's hard to come out with any right judgment. We want justice for the fallen and we want those responsible on both sides to pay for their incompetence and treachery, but considering our track record, would such a thing actually be possible? We want peace, but would we be willing to pay the price for such a peace? We want war, but would be willing to pay the price for such a war?
Much digital ink has been spilled over Mamasapano. Opinions throughout the spectrum have already been written. Could I have added anything useful to the discussion? Could I have said something that wasn't already said?
Just this, then. In all the weeks since Mamasapano happened, I haven't really read or heard much by way of calls for prayer. All the solutions proferred have been social, political, and judicial, in other words, merely human. Not that we should abandon those avenues in pursuit of what is right, but in the face of this great evil and the confusion and the fear that follow, perhaps we need prayer and fasting to exorcise these demons.