The Convenient Amnesia

People forget.

That is what happens months after a calamity strikes a society. The grief, tragedy and loss of the victims are buried under the pile of more current sizzling issues – issues that when looked upon closely deserve less audience compared to the intense need of the victims. But that’s just it.

After the news has gone stale, people naturally acquire a convenient amnesia to cover the fact that, NO, things aren’t still okay in the affected areas and that aid and relief operations are still very much needed. Let’s just admit it: not all people are willing to lend a hand and unconditionally care for years until full recovery. The attention lasts for a few months, tops. After that, the victims will just have to lean on the silent helpers of our society such as the devoted NGOs and various other humanitarian organizations to help them stand back up. But with the reduced work force, the supposedly resiliency of the said victims will diminish significantly so that recovery will take additional years to be achieved.

I am guilty of such charges. I was, at least.

I care enough ’til the fire burns out and then I just forget. I turn to the foolish optimistic side of things and think that the victims have also moved on from the tragedy just like how the media did. And that everything is alright now.

But attending the first meeting of our group with La Liga had me thinking. La Liga is a Non-Government Institution concerned with the Marikina Watershed and the area surrounding it after typhoon ‘Ondoy’ struck in 2009 where the cause of the massive flooding in Metro Manila was traced back to the Marikina Water Basin.

It amazes me how even years after the incident, La Liga, together with the Alliance of 7 (A group of the 7 cities closest to Marikina), are involved in a long-term project that aims to restore the forests surrounding the Marikina Watershed area so that calamities like ‘Ondoy’ will cause less flooding as well as damages.

I was inspired. Being involved in a great project like this concerning the welfare, not only of the current residents around the area, but also of the future generations that will reside there encompasses the true meaning of ‘helping’ in many ways that one.

If only we could all participate in a greater cause such as this.

If only all of us forget our Convenient Amnesias.




5 thoughts on “The Convenient Amnesia

  1. The title is very profound (or at least for me)! I appreciate the simple but sad truth being emphasized by this post. Although it got me to thinking, I, for one, seldom, if not at all, catch up with news. I believe that that alone stands as a huge obstacle in accomplishing the goal of active participation from the citizens. Anyhow, it’s good to know we’re both working with the improvement of DDR-CCA though we work for different partner organizations. Looking forward to our results! #OnePhilippines

  2. Sometimes it takes a disaster to bring people together, and something with the magnitude that the Alliance of 7 brings to disaster preparedness cooperation and coordination can really make some headway into setting examples for other local governments.

  3. I guess partly in fault at this is the way Philippine Media is sensationalizing every hot issue if the day, like the way we tend to forget our left-over dinner in the fridge and cook another dish the next day. For the last 20 years or more, they have institutionalized popularity porn in the consciousness of the Filipino audience, triggering that convenient amnesia you talked about in your post. Rather than awakening social mobilization from each and every one of us, there are times when the things being fed to us by the media become nuisance to what is truly relevant and important matter of the day. With the technology at our hands, now is the time that we maximize these information channels to their full potential, in such a way that we are creating a well-informed and proactive citizenry.

  4. I think it acts as an escape for the people who aren’t affected, to forget the misfortunes and not delve into the victims’ despair. It is human nature to not feel the pain of those who suffered unless you know them personally. And even if you do, you will move on. It’s not a matter of forgetting but a matter of moving on with their lives. We need to understand that people have their own lives to live as well, and as harsh as it may sound, those same people may not have the welfare of others on their agenda and plans. I’m not saying we shouldn’t help out, indeed, helping out such a cause is remarkable and I do agree on the idea that we should do precautionary actions and solutions to long-standing problems in our society such as flood-prone areas and the like, but convincing everyone to stop whatever they’re doing to help out seems more like a sugarcoated dream rather than a plausible solution. Bottom line: Not everyone will stand up for such a cause but there will always be people out there who will–let’s just hope they have the resources to back it up.

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