Thursday, November 24


'My child, we have won'

Won: because it is war. It is bloody. There were casualties. There were spoils. And child: because it has gone on for generations. Because it has gone on long enough.

That said, there is little to gain in romanticizing the Supreme Court's decision to distribute the land of Hacienda Luisita to its farmer-beneficiaries. The machinations of the the powerful are complex, and their ways are many. There are accusations that the decision is more vindictive than just; an attempt to spite rather than to end -- and begin -- a too long a saga to give people what is rightly theirs.

We will never know: what it's like to work ten-hour days for P9.50, to have the sun on your back and neck and arms, to have sweat drop from your brow to the arid land, and to bear the unkind knowledge that this life -- of so little joy -- will also be your children's life, and their children's life, and so on. We will never know.

And so we cry. We, well-meaning middle-class city folk who have neither planted nor harvested a sugar cane in our lives. In our comfortable posture chairs, in our carpeted offices, our twin beds, in our shelves with a history book with a cursory chapter on feudalism, and in our classrooms that echo an indignant rejoinder to a classmate who found the cinematography of "Sa Ngalan ng Tubo" too bright.

But once or twice, our journeys may have brought us to places beyond our comfort zones, our perfect worlds. It doesn't take a lot -- in fact, a mere opening of eyes, the upturning of ears -- to see and hear what had been normalized, what some attempt to disguise. In Hacienda Luisita, there are mini-chandeliers in the McDonalds outlet. Kris Aquino, the "queen of all media," had said, with absolutely no remorse, that her jewelry are "katas ng Luisita." The hacienda is two and a half times as big as Makati.

While this victory is not ours, us in our trifling motions in our uninhabitable cities, let us bask in it for the future that it conjures: a society where grueling work is afforded grueling gifts.

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