Our Common Humanity

The scenes captured on video, in still photos and through words, continue to break our hearts. But juxtaposed with the sadness is the celebration of "our common humanity" (to quote President Obama) that we witness as donations flow, tons of relief goods are unloaded, fundraisers in various nations take place, international teams of medical specialists go to work and the military might of the most powerful nations on Earth converge to help our kababayans get back on their feet.
Then there are people who have lost everything and have every reason to despair, but they don't. They smile, they greet the foreign aid workers graciously, they laugh at their own adversity, they play basketball amid the ruins, they joke, they sing, they help each other any way they can. In so doing, they have baffled and amazed the foreign journalists who have seen disasters before but are just now realizing that there is a natural exuberance in the Filipino spirit that defies explanation. And logic, especially logic.
Of course, there is also the dark side — the self-aggrandizing politicians, the haters and the scammers who treat this tragedy as a means to make a quick buck. Their day of reckoning will surely come. 
But this global coming together, this universal cooperation, this exuberance for life and defiance of defeat — this is how the world should function, don't you think? I hope we won't be needing disasters to remind us that when we rise above our human weaknesses and dismantle our man-made divisions, we can face nature's wrath together and live, if not in a perfect world, at least in a peaceful one.

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino