Who’s coming to town?

When I think of Christmas, I think of Santa Claus.

In my nineteen years of existence in this world, I have always been a fan of this big plump man in his famous red suit and long blonde beard. Every 25th of December, I wait for his arrival to fill my knitted socks with wrapped presents. We do not have a chimney, mind you. But he was always welcome to come in using the front door, so I never thought it mattered anyway.

Well, it is December once again. The air is starting to feel chilly, kitchens smelling like cinnamon and peppermint, and cities becoming more alive with brightly colored lanterns on the streets. I guess, like myself, the rest of you probably start to welcome this Yuletide season with a quick reminisce of your own Christmas stories as well.

This year, however, the Christmas stories of our fellow Filipinos in Mindanao are bound to change.

With roughly one month to go before Christmas, the whole Philippine archipelago was bombarded with devastating news about a massacre which occurred in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province. This dreadful event may not be your favorite research topic to find in Wikipedia, but by now, it is considered as the Philippines’, if not the world’s, one of the most vicious massacres of all time.

If you ask me, there is a big fat difference between electoral candidates who are simply determined to win and those who are willing to do everything and anything including monstrous murdering of people who get in the way. The Maguindanao massacre is only one manifestation of how dirty politics can be in our country. And it is not exactly the Christmas story all of us are probably expecting this year.

More than sixty people were killed, majority being journalists. These are Filipinos murdering fellow Filipinos because of an absurd political war. And the most disgusting part is that they did it in the most inhuman way possible.

How can we expect to build families in a land that is run by officials who themselves are threats to the human race? How can we sleep peacefully at night knowing that there are criminals lurking freely when in fact they deserve to be behind bars? How can we sing Christmas carols when there are families in this part of the nation who are weeping in search for justice?

It is the yuletide season, my friends. People are expected to give love on Christmas day, and not slaughter one another as if they are animals to be sold in the market for Noche Buena. For crying out loud, we are supposed to be wrapping gifts and not dead bodies! But instead of building Christmas trees, we are choosing to build a political dynasty where an era of evil reigns.

I am absolutely not sure why it is taking so long for the government to find justice for the victims of Maguindanao massacre, but I do hope they are not waiting for Santa Claus to do the prosecution himself in order to bring righteousness and equality to this country.

Because for the record, Santa Claus never came.

*     *     *

This column was published for the The Bedan volume 67: Christmas issue. I wrote this when I was the editor-in-chief of the student publication.This article represents my feelings towards the barbaric massacre that happened in the province of Maguindanao, Philippines.

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