Indifference

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IMG_0528We all have a lot to say about indifference, about people who are indifferent. Blind they are to what they see. Deaf they are to what they hear. They care much about their personal safety and their own reputation they don’t want to get involved.

There’s this little girl who was a victim of child abuse. What was her fault? She, out of hunger and need, dipped her hands into her teacher’s wallet. Or so I was told. Her uncle knew of it. And he taught her a great lesson.

Her uncle cared, not for the little girl who was hungry, but for the family reputation (because it was the girl’s teacher who complained!), and never mind if he and his wife themselves had dipped their hands into the funds the girl’s adoptive mother sent for her food, education and daily needs. Never mind if it was twenty thousand pesos they stole from the little girl’s bank deposit; but they mind because the little girl stole only twenty pesos.

The neighbors knew of the little girl’s plight. But they did not say anything. They could have called the little girl’s adoptive mother abroad; they knew her phone number, they knew her email address. They were afraid of the girl’s uncle. They chose to be silent.

The uncle, out of shame, as I said, decided to do something: Nip that in the bud. Bring the lesson home so early so as to create a generation who is afraid to steal. Shame must be repaid, justice must be imposed. The little girl was crying, and her cries could be heard that early Wednesday morning from a little hut deep in the woods. The auntie and the grandmother, who was around washing plates, thought that was needed to wash away shame in the family. The uncle dragged the little girl into the kitchen area, put her fingers on the chop board – four fingers, one finger for each five pesos stolen – and chopped them with a bolo. As simple as that.

The neighbors knew and the neighbors saw. They did not do anything.

I pass by the little girl’s hut on my way in and out of Babag Uno every Sunday morning. Four fingers wrapped in rags. Those fingers would heal, God would see to that. But the wound in her soul would not. And the wound in mine seeks redress for the abuse done to this little creature of God who is not even a relation.

It’s been four weeks since I wrote the agencies concerned about this incident, supplied them with information needed to pin down the culprit, but there has been no action.

Time will come, and I am sure of that, that we in this generation shall repent not only for the acts of bad people but also for the appalling indifference of good people.

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