Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thoughts before a World War II Memorial, St Paul University QC

Two images of the WWII Memorial at SPUQC

Dr Abe V Rotor

Xerxes' aide a thousand times
whispered, "Remember the Greeks!"
to keep memory of Darius, but -
revenge is all but the weak seeks.

A thousand times we cried in rage,
in hopelessness as countless died,

"Remember the Japanese!"
and left to time sorrow to subside.

Our cry died on marbled floors,
died in echoes and in the shade
of high rise buildings and halls
that the new generation made.

The memorial stands tall and mute,
cold as steel against the Flame;
three beams of a chapel before,
now a triad devoid of fame.
Shh... hear the cries in the dungeon,
the comfort women, their muffled moan,
the ashes left by countless souls,
bombed buildings against the moon.

Remember the tortuous Death March,
the saga of the Corrigidor,
the ghosts in concentration camps,
the nameless heroes on the shore.

Short is modern man's memory
amidst malls, cars and easy life,
multimedia and the university;
yeah, the Good Life sans strife.

Where does faith in Providence abide?
Goodness, lessons from childhood lie,
where once in the home and school,
Now along with evil they lie.

A new breed has risen - puzzled,
sitting on a fence in a throng -
remora on the manna of capitalism
and subsidy from the strong.

By design or chance or deceit,
gambler's luck, one waits for time
in idleness knowing no enemy,
without the essence of time.

Isn't the essentials of history
to refresh memory before it's gone?
Look up hard at the memorial
to trace the roots of freedom.

But it is harder to look back now;
nothing can be done with the past;
but revolution has a story to tell,
never, never the die is cast.

To tell us why we are here today;
Darwin also knew of such a test,
why fallen victims too, survive,
and once more live with the fittest.

"Remember the Greeks!" we may say,
or "Remember the Japanese!" -
two things different in their own way.
Look! The cold steel is never at ease.~

NOTE: St. Paul University Quezon City served as garrison of Japanese soldiers for four years (1942-1945), and was razed to the ground on their retreat and subsequent defeat. The author recalls the darkest hour of Philippine history - and of the whole world for that matter - when man's inhumanity to man eclipsed love, justice and hope - which represent the three pillars of the memorial. The memorial reminds the post-war generations that history has the capability of repeating itself. Another interpretation of the triad is the trilogy of the 18th century French Revolution - Egalite', Fraternite', Liberte' (Equality, Fraternity and Liberty.)

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