A lesson, not just a victim
To the Filipino youth:
We will never know the fear that Kian delos Santos must have felt in the final moments of his life. We will never know the depth of the wound inflicted on his family by his death. We will never know if it will even be possible for that wound to be healed. We will never know if sifting through the rubble of these troubling times by means of social media will make even just a tiny difference in the fate of the fight for justice.
We will never know many things for the moment because where we are now, there is a major pause button where a question is asked: What’s next?
I hope we don’t get stuck with words. I hope we don’t just show our stand for Kian through hashtags. I hope the fight that we are taking will not find itself in a dead end. I hope that after everything has been said and done, Kian will not remain just a victim. I hope, above all, that he becomes a lesson. I hope our lives will be better for it. I hope that the unthinkable death that the 17-year-old has suffered will impel us to take a closer look at our own lives. I hope that it will move us to get to know justice and fairness as early as now. I hope we will learn to struggle and gradually turn ourselves into its better version, as the real ramification of the uproar that sings the cry for justice.
I commend how we are becoming the voice that was once asleep, and the world is getting to know that the young have something to say. Social media has made an easier way for us. But I hope it will not stop there.
We cannot bring Kian back to life. But we can make another story to tell.
It is one thing to tell the oppressors, “Look what evil you’ve done!” It is quite another to say, “This is who we are.” So dear young people, let us show our revolution by improving the quality of the life that we are living. Let us become the person Kian might have become if he had been given a chance to fulfill any dream he wished for himself and his family.
There are still many other youngsters out there, whose names we will probably never know, who have suffered the same cruel fate of extrajudicial punishment. We will never know their stories. We will never know the pain of those they left behind. But we can make our stories theirs as well. And we can only do that if we see ourselves as part of a much bigger picture where we never try to build castles on the ruins of others’ lives. We could be teens in search of our own place in this world, but I pray that in the process, we will not overlook the fact that the first place where we must be is in being a good son, a good daughter, a good person, a good citizen.
We easily identify ourselves in the face of Kian, but let us be careful so as not to become the hands that pulled the trigger that terminated his life.
All these are easier said than done, no exceptions. But in the end, if we truly want justice for Kian and many others who suffered the same fate, I hope our lives will mirror what we believe.
* * *
Amante A. Julaton, 21, is a philosophy seminarian of Nazareth Formation House in Calbayog City, Samar.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.