It is ridiculous that I haven’t posted anything about the stampede in Manila that killed more than 70 people. It’s even more ridiculous because I work in the news industry, and I’ve heard about every single development since the stampede a little over a week ago.
Thousands of people were waiting in line on Saturday, Feb. 4 to get into the first anniversary show of Wowowee, a game show produced by my host institution. So far some have noted the inherent tragedy of the stampede — that the people who died were the poorest of the poor, that the gameshow may have represented hope in what may have been an unhopeful world.
Still others have talked about how the stampede reminds us of the problems of the Philippines. It reminds us that there are many who live on practically nothing.
I can’t help but feel like all the talk is, well, talk. In the end, there will be many investigations with many “answers” about what went wrong. We will hear, from many viewpoints, who did what and who is to blame. But the real question is, will things change? What has to happen before we do something about the poverty here in the Philippines, and the poverty that touches every corner of the globe? Or are we too comfortable in our airconditioned homes to really know what it’s like to live day-to-day searching piles of garbage for food or for a glass bottle to recycle in exchange for a few coins? I am as guilty as the next person of inaction. I hope that by acknowledging the problem, we (myself included) can at least imagine a world where stampedes like last week’s don’t kill dozens of people, and where people don’t have to count on a gameshow to live out their dreams.