A small dagger..!

ITS a small dagger I hold in my hand, deadly, dangerous, a present from the Mayor of Batangas in the Philippines. He was a young mayor and I heard quite a gangster and war lord who had literally inherited the post from his father who had gone up in the Philippine hierarchy. There was a reception at the mayor’s place that evening and one had to see the place to believe the luxury the rich Philippinos live in, but below everything was the undercurrent of violence which the dagger in my hand personified.
And as the evening wore on, suddenly the night burst into song and dance. I have rarely heard voices so beautiful. There were songs which had singers imitating the sound of birds in the background with one plaintive voice singing to his lover. There were religious lyrics and classical numbers and I was spell bound with the harmony that came from the throats of these strange though beautiful people.
Strange because harmony and violence existed an inch away from each other. I remember walking along the shore of Manila Bay and hearing the voices of the people, some of whom came up and talked with me and were so friendly, and then near the palace of the former President Marcos, I saw a local who had been playing the guitar, suddenly getting violent and before you could say Hortaleza Cortez, the police had twisted him onto the ground.
Harmony and violence, a strange mixture. And maybe therein lies the reason why a country with people who are basically good natured, simple and friendly but poor have this violence running alongside. They feel that their simpleness and goodness is being exploited and they are on guard all the time.
To a great extent that seems to be happening to our country. We are by nature a peaceful people. We won our independence by gentle means. We have drifted through sixty years and more of democracy like a sailing boat that obeys the waves and does not fight it.
But slowly and surely a violence seems to be coming on us. Millions of rupees meant for the poor, go into the wrong pockets. The poor remain poor and watch their leaders grow with fat with plentiful. The bullock cart with worn out wooden wheel rides down furrows while a few metres away foreign fancy limousines cruise. Fodder meant for cattle, make scam headlines.
Religions which taught tolerance now are seething with rage. We are riding on a tidal wave of a rumbling rage that will at any moment roar into a crescendo of untold violence. We need to right this situation, before anger burns the country. In our small areas of authority see that justice is meted out, that fairness in dealings is observed. Stand behind those who stand alone. Its a small dagger in my hand, but its lethal..!

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