A bum stomach kept me from witnessing the ashen faces of friends from ABS-CBN when they got the news of the Wowowee stampede at Media Nation 3. By the time I joined the (by then decimated) ranks of the participants, the ABS and GMA contingents were gone.
As the Inquirer puts it, 74 dreams crushed. An investigation is under way. The Inquirer pens an eloquent editorial, and suggests the show must not go on. Even as country now joins the ranks of horrible stampede statistics, PCIJ says we are a nation accustomed to disaster.
Comments in the blogosphere have been extensive and wide-ranging, from the merciless, to the highly personal (the reaction of someone who once worked with the Wowee staff, for example), to the stunned, to the highly balanced, to the despairing, to the amazed, to the meditative. What gets World Famous in the Philippines’ goat is the claim the show helps the poor; Sassy Lawyer is outraged parents would place their children in such a potentially dangerous situation; bury me in this dress feels more thankful than ever for what she has; Kumintang is sickened by the posturing of the politicians; Measly Meanderings believes ABS-CBN responded to the tragedy with professionalism and compassion: and even offers up the network’s response as a model of crisis management.
The most appropriate response was vampire vlad’s: rest in peace. Indeed, first and foremost, our thoughts should be with the dead. The most creative response? Prose and poetry from Anakpawis, a National Democratic front organization (this from an email):
Anakpawis staffer on the Wow-wowie stampede that resulted to more than 80 deaths: “I don’t personally know any of the people who were injured or killed; but I very well know why they were there, and what fragile, tenous hopes they carried with them as they lined up and pushed against each other as they waited for the gates to open.
“The awareness and knowledge of what drives my people to such depths of despair is what makes me feel as if I’d known each one of them all my life.”
Also from an Anakpawis staffer on the same subject:
Minsan di ko na alam
Ano pa bang klase ng kamatayan ang gustong makita ng
gobyernong ito bago nya aminin na matindi, malalim at
laganap ang kahirapan sa bayan ko?
Nadapa, naapakan, nadaganan at nadurog ang 63 Pilipino
sa desperasyong makapanood ng isang noon-time show na
nangangako ng biglaang yaman.
Namatay sila sa paghahagilap ng pangarap ng
kaalwanan; mga maliliit na pangarap na walang gaanong
kahulugan o bigat para sa mga nagsasamantalang
malalaki at makapangyarihan sa lipunan na panandalian
“Gusto kong makatapos si Junior…”
“Pinaghahandaan namin ang graduation ni Nene…”
“Kailangan ng operasyon ng asawa ko sa baga…”
“Squatter lang po kami at gusto po sana namin
magkaroon ng sariling bahay kahit maliit lang…”
“Baon na ho kami sa utang dahil pinanlibing namin sa
tatay ko ang naipon naming pera na pag-eskwela naming
Mga linya sa pelikula na mga salita ring binibitiwan
sa riyalidad — sa araw-araw na luhaang karanasan ng
mga kababayan ko.Mahaba at walang katapusang kwento ng
kawalan ng pag-asa at kagipitan; mga larawang masakit
tignan ngunit hindi matatakasan kahit nandito ako,
malayo, sa isang dayuhang lipunan kung saan
bukambibig ang paggastos, pagwaldas, at pagkamal ng
pera at tubo.
Ipikit ko man mga mata ko nakikita ko pa rin ang
kagutuman at kawalan. Malayo man ako sa Pilipinas,
hindi nababawasan ang sakit na pilit pinagagaling at
pilit binabawasan para muli na akong makabalik.
Anong klaseng lipunan ba ang pinagmulan ko kung saan
natutulak ang mamamayan na magnakaw at pumatay,
makipagsapalaran kahit maaring mamamatay para lang may
Anong klaseng gobyerno at sistema ba ang meron sa
Pilipinas at ipinapaubaya ang responsibilidad ng
pagbibigay ng trabaho at kabuhayan sa mamamayan sa mga
palabas tulad ng “Wowwowwee?!!”
“Malas o swerte…
“Pana-panahon lang yan…
“Sa tulong ng panginoon mapipili akong contestant at
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