because in times like these i tend to think that none of what we do actually means change. that all of it is just a matter of getting from one day to another, getting through one day at a time. no vision. no plan. just immediate hunger and need. just the urgencies that tragedy shines a light on, tragedies that have always been there, but which were ignored. now there is no ignoring hunger and need and poverty, because in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, it has multiplied, twice thrice over. meanwhile:
the column over at The Times is still happening, the only one i’ve been able to keep going. today, it is about criticism.
This is a government that has always celebrated social media and how it has allowed for a sense of a national response in times of tragedy. But social media also provides us with an alternative to the kind of narrative that government is creating about itself, about this tragedy.
Because yes, there is the voice of government, there are people there who we know are doing their jobs as best as they can. I do not doubt the sincerity of DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman for example. Neither do I doubt that she was moving hell and high waters to try and get enough relief goods, to go and get them to the people in need, right away. And this is not to question her reflection on the state of things in Tacloban, something that she posted on Facebook.
But also Facebook and Twitter provide for us an almost an alternate universe from that which government speaks of. What social media forces us to hear are the calls for relief goods in Hospital Village Guiuan or V&G Subdvision in Tacloban, Libacao Kalibo or Culion Palawan. It is social medis that allows people to say that they are still hungry, they are still thirsty, that there are still barangays not being reached by relief goods, even as the government and DILG have said that they have distributed goods to 30 out of 40 Leyte towns.
Criticism allows us to see these two very different narratives about what has happened, and what exactly is going on. And while one might believe the government’s stories, while what might matter to the next person is the official accounts of our government offices; certainly that cannot invalidate the suffering and need that we hear from the ground.
i obviously do not agree that one shouldn’t be critical at a time like this. neither should criticism mean being unable to help. i would even argue that it is being critical that allows us to extend the help that’s needed. it is being critical that allows us to see what is being forgotten, what is not being heard, in the task of helping those in need.
being critical allows us to see people and not statistics, to hear people and allow that drown out government propaganda that’s trying to save itself.
Angela’s been putting up first person accounts from Facebook, before these get lost in the amount of information — of words — that’s been coming out. these are the voices we must hear in order to help. these keep us critical. nothing else.
Help in any way you can, there is much work to be done. We must also keep our eyes on Leyte and Samar, Northern Cebu and Iloilo, Masbate and Romblon, Culion and Coron, and many other towns affected so that we might help in the rebuilding.