Sanayan lang ang pagpatay

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(Para sa sektor nating pumapatay ng tao) 

Pagpatay ng tao? Sanayan lang ‘yan pare.

Parang sa butiki. Sa una siyempre

Ikaw’y nangingimi. Hindi mo masikmurang

Tiradurin o hampasing tulad ng ipis o lamok

Pagkat para bang lagi ‘yang nakadapo

Sa noo ng santo sa altar

At tila may tinig na nagsasabing

Bawal     bawal      bawal ‘yang pumatay.

Subalit tulad lang ng maraming bagay

Ang pagpatay ay natututuhan din kung magtitiyaga

Kang makinig sa may higit na karanasan.

Nakuha ko sa tiyuhin ko kung paanong balibagin ng tsinelas

O pilantikin ng lampin ang nakatitig na butiki sa aming kisame

At kapag nalaglag na’t nagkikikisay sa sahig

Ay agad ipitin nang hindi makapuslit

Habang dahan-dahang tinitipon ang buong bigat

Sa isang paang nakatingkayad: sabay bagsak.

Magandang pagsasanay ito sapagkat

Hindi mo nakikita, naririnig lamang na lumalangutngot

Ang buo’t bungo ng lintik na butiking hindi na makahalutiktik.

(kung sa bagay, kilabot din ‘yan sa mga gamu-gamo.)

Nang magtagal-tagal ay naging malikhain na rin

Ang aking mga kamay sa pagdukit ng mata,

Pagbleyd ng paa, pagpisa ng itlog sa loob ng tiyan

Hanggang mamilipit ‘yang parang nasa ibabaw ng baga.

O kung panahon ng Pasko’t maraming paputok

Maingat kong sinusubuan ‘yan ng rebentador

Upang sa pagsabog ay magpaalaman ang nguso at buntot.

(Ang hindi ko lamang maintindihan ay kung bakit

Patuloy pa rin ‘yang nadaragdagan.)

Kaya’t ang pagpatay ay nakasasawa rin kung minsan.

Mabuti na lamang at nakaluluwag ng loob

Ang pinto at bintanang kahit hindi mo sinasadya

At may paraan ng pagpuksa ng buhay.

Ganyang lang talaga ang pagpatay:

Kung hindi ako ay iba naman ang babanat;

Kung hindi ngayon ay sa iba namang oras.

Subalit ang higit na nagbibigay sa akin ng lakas ng loob

Ay ang malalim nating pagsasamahan:

Habang ako’y pumapatay, kayo nama’y nanonood.

***

Last June 14, I visited the small chapel where Fr. Richmond Nilo was brutally killed. His blood is still sprawling on the elevated portion of the altar. the deep red roses resemble the blood of the martyred priest. 

Now, the way the news is directing our minds is toward a religious debate with another church. I don’t buy this. This whole culture of death, or a surplus of cruelty, cannot and must not be reduced isolated acts. 

We have been thrust into a social fabric where killing has become a routine. Sinasanay tayo sa patayan. And that is why my poem keeps on reminding us that we must free ourselves from this evil spell.

In my poem, ‘Sanayan lang ang pagpatay,’ I describe the ugly practice of killing, and yet what makes murder worse is the timidity of bystanders. And the whole society at times displays this type of pathology. 

The poem is a shorthand for the complex issue of tolerance for violence. Many factors contribute to this—mediatization of violence, routinization of killings as news, trivialization of the death of the poor, etc. 

But the Church needs to also confess its own contribution to this mess. Perhaps, we have not really preached the Gospel as Gospel; instead we have burdened the laity with unhealthy parochialism…I attended a meeting of the clergy… There was the comment of a bishop. We priests seem to be too focused on our traditional roles in the parish, in the schools.

Despite so many killings, the lay people—and the priests—seem to tolerate the attack on our democratic institutions, on our cultural values, even on our language. Why is there no rage? Even in parishes where a number of people have been killed, not much reaction emerges from below.

***

Fr. Albert Alejo is a Jesuit priest, anthropologist, artist, activist. Author of Generating Energies in Mount Apo (social anthropology), Sanayan lang ang Pagpatay (poetry), Ehemplo (anticorruption), among others. He is co-founder of Apo Governance and indigenous Leadership Academy. His MTVs, like Meme na Mindanaw (lullaby for peace) are accessible in YouTube. He is also a former Varsitarian Filipino writer.

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