While sorting out Rock Ed photos of Leyte, I suddenly had a flood of imaginary sounds. With each light-shift of the slideshow I heard the hum of suffering, voices of people in relief centers desperate with hunger and disease.

Next came a fast audio-montage of suffering, torture, fear, loneliness, degradation of the planet, and what it foreshadows for the future. On and on the noise went.

I realized my feelings of compassion had always occurred at a safe distance from the actual suffering. I always had the light-blue frame lines of a video camera between me and the texture of real struggle. Now my heart is being ripped apart and I was dead center in the pain. A rising panic set in as my belief that a tragedy like this ‘has nothing to do with me’ began to dissolve.

I stopped after just one set of photos. Turned off the computer. The horrible slideshow ended but the gash in my consciousness remained. I had entered some other zone of awareness and I couldn't seem to go back to my old ways of seeing. A view which was tolerable and made sense. My psychic walls could not protect me any longer. I needed to do more to endure all that I've seen that day. It was as if a veil had lifted and blown away.

Rock Ed invites you to help raise funds for Leyte. Even if it is no longer in the news. Let’s try vigilance this time around and take now until August as our ‘fund-raising stretch’ for the survivors of Southern Leyte

Watch the concert. Buy the shirt. Sell your old stuff. Volunteer. Organize your own event. Pitch in. Pass the hat. Anything.

Let’s try a different kind of revolt this time.

Frustrate the cynics.

Note: Thank you to the ADMIT ONE group and SAGUIJO for being part of the “Para sa Leyte” series. Watch out for upcoming events at the Hard Rock Café and other venues who are willing to help us out.

Text: Gang Badoy
Photo: VJ Villafranca © 2006