Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A blast

Close friends have been asking how my brother, who took the Bar Exam last Sunday, is doing, if he has, by any chance, been injured by the explosion that left many wounded, some limbless, thanks to the mindless bomb throwers who did not, for any second, think that lives were at stake. The answer is that he is doing well, he is safe and is enjoying reading his books and catching up with his tv series. Thank you for your prayers and concern. Praise be to the Lord for His protection.

I was there, too, walking along Taft with friends on our way to the UP crowd, when I heard an explosion some 10 to 20 meters away.  Initially I thought it was an exaggerated drum beat, but when I saw people running against my direction, their faces shocked and terrified, I had a feeling that something was wrong. Seconds later I saw people carrying the wounded, blood smeared on their pants and tshirts, and their voice throttled with cries of help.

We had to go away—I heard my mother's voice in my head—because there could be another one coming. And so we rushed to the next street, the one parallel to Taft, and we saw a young law student, bleeding from her right hamstrings, being assisted by her two worried friends. They were trying to get a taxi to take them to the nearest hospital, but the driver didn't let them in.

Just yesterday, while waiting for a groupmate in the Blood Bank in PGH, I heard an ABS-CBN news reporter, Apples Jalandoni, interview a friend of one of the blast victims. I learned that Raissa Laurel, a 25-year-old law student from San Sebastian, had to have her legs amputated because the injury was too severe. She was standing close to where the bomb was thrown. (This is off topic, but if you watched TV Patrol this evening, you'll probably see me in one of the shots, sitting beside Elizabeth Ching and Ivan Burog. We weren't there to donate blood. We were only waiting for groupmates. We didn't realize the cameraman included a footage of us. I checked the ABS-CBN website; they haven't uploaded the video yet.)

Professor Theodore Te of the UP College of Law writes:
Looking at the crime scene while the head counts were being taken and the bomb blast site, I realized that if the bomb had gone off a few meters to the right, it would have hit UP Law people. It was that close and we were that blessed. As I looked at the bloodied Taft Avenue, with UP Law pennants, fans and tarpaulins and with undistributed flowers strewn all over, I silently thanked God for protecting us even as I prayed for those who were injured.
The police now claim it is a frat-related violence. And assuming it were, it is troubling to know that the people behind the attack could be our future lawyers—if they ever make it to the Bar, that is—and what a tragedy that would be.

Professor Te continues:
Many of us knew just how stupid and senseless fraternities can get when it comes  to proving their manhood and their brotherhood to each other but, that night, a new realization came to me—probably also to the others in the room—the savagery of these "greek lettered" "men" who beat each other and others to a pulp had transcended known civilized boundaries. 
There is no justification for lobbing an explosive into a densely packed crowd of people who are oblivious to everything but cheering for their friends, schoolmates, family and loved ones.  Absolutely none.
It was an act done with malice, with premeditation, intentionally with the purpose of inflicting mortal harm.
That Ms. Laurel and the others did not die is a testament to Divine Intervention;  that Ms. Laurel will probably end up a cripple is directly attributable to the cowards who hide behind the cloak of greek letters and the skirts of their "brods."
As one of our students, a frat man himself, has pointed out in his blog posts, it is time to go beyond words and condemnation and it is a time for more concrete action.  I agree.  
You can read his entire statement here


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