Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera
“Remove the Roots of Violence: Social Injustice & Structure of Violence”
“Red-tagging” has become common now-a-days in our country with red flags being seen along the hi-way as one travels, passing through some hinterland Barangays in Bukidnon but such is being negated by the Indigenous People-residents in those areas. While “red tagging” has loomed in the Philippines in the last decade or so, the same had happened in the country of El Salvador in the seventies. No less than the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador gave a pronouncement when he was still alive, that reverberated through-out the world when he said, “When I gave food to the poor, they called me a saint; when I asked why they are poor, they called me a communist.” It was not only the amazing archbishop asking that question but also the priests under him especially Jesuit Father Rutillo Grande whose major concern then was to liberate the poor and the oppressed, leaving no stone unturned and took-up the cudgels against the powerful oppressors.
The struggle to liberate the poor and the oppressed was not an easy task then in El Salvador against the powerful oppressors, thus, on March 12,1977, Fr. Grande was brutally killed that had pained Arch. Romero to the hilt. In his homily during Fr. Grande’s funeral, Arch. Romero made a very strong statement: “The government should not consider a priest who takes a stand for social justice as a politician or a subversive element when he is fulfilling his mission in the politics of the common good. Any one who attacks one of my priests, attacks me. If they killed Fr. Grande for what he did, I too have to walk the same path.”
The social awareness and spiritual consciousness of Arch. Oscar Romero was so amazing as he had showcased the amazing Gospel of the three Ps, namely, Prayer, Presence and Prophecy. No doubt, he was connected to the Unseen Formless Being and was then living a life of service that had brought him to that transcendental dimension where the Universal Intelligence governs. His Presence spoke of his oneness with the poor and the oppressed that had put in clear categorical term what King Solomon did declare in Ecclesiastes, “fame, power and wealth are meaningless, utterly meaningless; what is essential is how we have served the least of our brethren.” He was firm in his prayers and presence when he gave his well-like Sunday homily ordering soldiers to stop killing their own countrymen, “it is time to regain your conscience. In the name of God, and in the name of the suffering people, I implore you, I beg of you, I order you, stop the repression.” The late Archbishop had been described as mentioned in his biography, to quote, “Arch. Oscar Romero was an outspoken critic of government, the military and right-wing elements, spoke out against their continued oppression and exploitation of the poor.”
What is so amazing with the late Archbishop was his in-depth analysis of the social problems in his country, showcasing not only Prayers and Presence but Prophecy. His now famous homily before he was brutally assassinated while celebrating mass one Sunday morning in 1980, manifested his deep understanding of the painful socio-economic-political realities prevailing then in El Salvador when he said, “Awaken us to respond to our context today. I will not be tired of declaring that we really must effectively end the violence, we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all violence, structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens from the management of the country, repression.” The late Archbishop is absolutely correct. That truth should be in the mindset of all world leaders. Uprooting the root cause of violence is the solution to have lasting peace. As has been said, a hungry man is an angry man but while giving food to the hungry may cure his hunger and anger, the solution is not just to give him food but to correct social wrongs why there is hunger. Yes, don’t just give food, ask why they are poor and have nothing to eat. Would that make Arch. Oscar Romero a Communist? NEVER BUT A SAINT as what happened to the late very amazing and highly conscious, one of his kind Archbishop that could not be found anywhere else in the world except in El Salvador.
Indeed, the late Arch. Oscar Romero had exemplified the essence of Christianity to the highest degree. No less than Pope Francis has elevated him to Sainthood in 2018, lauding the late Archbishop in Pope’s homily for “leaving the security of the world even his own safety, in order to live his life according to the Gospel close to the poor and to his people with a heart drawn to Jesus and to his brothers and sisters.”
The saintly life of the late Archbishop that had exemplified the three Ps -PRAYER, PRESENCE AND PROPHECY should be our guide now to liberate our poor people from the quagmire of poverty, social injustice and gross inequity. We must have a clear and an in-depth analysis of the socio-economic-political-ecological realities besetting our country. Our country is so rich ecologically, in fact, the richest on earth but of the country’s resources, WHO CONTROLS? WHO DECIDES? WHO PROFITS? Only a few oligarchs in cohort with powers-that-be as economic power begets political power, forming a strong cabal of vested interest. Why has our country lost its ecological integrity and security and now the 4th hardest hit country in the world by Climate Change? Why is it that for those who have dreamt, struggled and even died for it, social transformation has been so illusive all these years despite 14 years of Martial Law and two people-powered revolutions? Why are the systems and structures breeding poverty still as formidable as ever? Why have our Indigenous Peoples now living in extreme poverty as hundreds of thousands of hectares of their ancestral domain have been transformed into massive plantations to earn millions, if not billions of dollars for the rich and powerful? Why are we continuously supplying the consumerist needs of the people in advanced countries with high value crops and fruits whi;e
we cannot even produce enough staples for our starving people as the Philippines is the biggest rice-importing country in the world? Why is it that some 101 IP DATUs/BAEs have been victims of EJKs (Extra Judicial Killings) in the last seven years? Let notice be served to one and all that unless deeply rooted social wrongs are rectified, the roots of violence will breed conflict. Unless structural wrongs are corrected, violent extremism may worsen. Thus, inspired by the saintly life of St. Romero, let us promote social justice and structural transformation for PEOPLE, PLANET, PROSPERITY AND PEACE as what Saint Oscar Romero had done. It is only then can we really claim that we are indeed a civilized and Christian country.
St. Romero had exemplified how to unfetter humanity from the fallacies of life and religions that has buried humanity to collective insanity, controlled by the super-ego (Satan), amidst morale collapse and religious apathy. Indeed, through corporate globalization, there is so much high veneration to the profit motive that has already captured the mindset of all governments, all institutions, all universities and even of religious groups that has deeply buried mankind deeply in unbridled materialism and consumerism, amidst denigration of spirituality. Let us therefore learn from the life of St. Romero who had exemplified to the highest degree the essence of Christianity who had sacrificed his life to liberate the poor and the oppressed in El Salvador. The painful realties besetting our country in terms of poverty, gross inequity and social injustices are worse in our country, thus, we need the likes of St. Oscar Romero. Indeed, there is no greater saint there is than the like of St. Romero who willingly gave up his life to free the people in El Salvador from oppression. We ardently pray that St. Romero, as consciousness now who have left the life of form and now with the Formless & Unseen Being, having leaped-up to that Ocean of Consciousness, let us as consciousness/awareness connect with St. Romero so that we can be brave and fearless enough to fight for what is right, what is true and what is just for our poor and oppressed people, all for God’s greater glory.