A Massacre in the Philippines

November 28, 2009

Here’s the latest news on the massacre from an article by Carlos H. Conde in the New York Times, posted in the Dallas Morning News online.

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Most or all of the 22 women among the at least 57 people massacred Monday in the southern Philippines were sexually mutilated, authorities said Friday.

“It was horrible. It was not done to just one,” the justice secretary, Agnes Devanadrea, said on national television. “It was done to practically all the women.”

While work continued to identify all the dead, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said it appeared that 30 journalists and their assistants had been killed.

About a dozen of the victims were the relatives, lawyers or supporters of Esmael Mangudadatu, a local politician whose determination to challenge the entrenched Ampatuan clan in a gubernatorial election touched off the violence, investigators said.

I called Leah tonight to talk with her about the killings and violence.

“I’m fine, Cheryl.”

“It’s horrible,” Leah said. “More than 30 are from the media, television, radio. They were very very innocent. It was horrible.”

“It’s far from my place,” Leah assured me. How far? “A whole day’s travel from my place.”

I told Leah on the map it looks close.”Really?”

“It was politics,” Leah said.

Bloody politics.

President Gloria Arroyo declared a state of emergency. People question whether there will be justice. Again, politics.

In the shadow of the sexual mutilation and the massacre of women, Leah leads her simple life, teaching her students and taking care of her family, a day’s travel from the madness.

For now, I am happy that Leah is well and happy. She’s enjoying her teaching. She’ll have two weeks of paid vacation starting December 18. These are things to be thankful for, to celebrate.



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