Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Julia in the Philippines

A sane person will only leave his comfort zone for two reasons: either he wants to or he needs to. Julia Campbell, I guess, left hers for both reasons--she wanted to help and she felt the need to help. At 38 she left the "rat race in New York" to join the US Peace Corps and "boarded a plane for Manila." That alone is commendable. She could've enriched herself even more by chasing stories as a journalist and getting paid for them. But she chose the hard way, a way that's less traveled because it requires sacrifice, courage, and the threat of the absence of decent toilets. In her own way she initiated good changes in Philippine communities whose cries for help are drowned in the monotone of political bickerings.

And we know the next part of the story: she got killed, her body found half-buried and rotting in the mud a couple of days ago. Whoever did this to her deserves some form of punishment. After reading the news about Julia I felt a sense of shame. It's shame to know that a Filipino--one of our kind--may have killed her. It's a shame to hear this country's Justice Secretary blame her for her own death, citing her "irresponsibility" as the cause. Above all, it's a shame to admit that a person working for the good of this world could die just like that.

I've been reading Julia's blog, especially the comments posted on her last entry before she died. It's full of good wishes, condolences, and tears. May more people rise to follow her cause.

Her legacy lives on.

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