Sunday, March 05, 2006

Dawn of the Dead by TM Edwin Ebreo

The dawn of the dead is upon us

Look around you, when you walk the streets, when you drive your cars, whether day or night, when you are stuck in traffic, you will see them, walking aimlessly so it seems, but what they are doing is waiting to pounce. Look in their eyes and you’ll see glassy emptiness. They look at you as if they see you and yet they don’t. What they see is food, food for their empty stomachs.

What in heaven’s name are you talking about Ed? Well, I happened to watch the movie Dawn of the Dead in DVD lately. Who among you have seen a zombie movie? There are many of them, "Attack of the Living Dead", "House of the Living Dead" and lately "Land of the Living Dead". I’ve always found these movies rather silly, with dead people walking around like this… the zombies were rather slow and witless you can practically live with them. When they attack you like that, you can just say, "get out of my way". That’s where dawn of the dead is different, the zombies in the movie moved fluidly, very lifelike without the catatonic rigidity of the old zombie movies but with the same menacing behavior. But I’m digressing from my real topic which is the social relevance of these zombie movies. Would you believe that after watching so many of them I finally realize that they do have social relevance.

It dawned on me just last December, while I was inside a cab. I got caught in traffic. A beggar knocked on the car window. I’m not so fond of giving alms but for the sake of Christmas spirit I gave the beggar the few coins that I got in my pocket. In a matter of seconds, about five or six more of them are now knocking on the car window doing this… It reminded me of a scene in the movie when zombies attacked one of the protagonists inside the car. Can you imagine it? You might say that the comparison is cruel and far-fetched, but listen. The truth is the only difference between the living dead in the movie and the living dead we have in our midst is that the ones in the movies eat people.

Living dead, that’s how some people have practically become. They stopped living, and are merely surviving, with goals reduced to finding food… or drugs, in whatever means possible. It is a sad pathetic life, if you can call it a life, with aspirations given up, with no contributions to give. They sit there on the pavements or walking around aimlessly, begging for alms, or stealing, victimizing the living. I see more of them today, than when I was twelve. If things go as they do, there will be more of them in the future, and no sooner will we become a land of the dead. Dead hopes that is, a dead opportunity to live a descent respectable life. What can stop it? Can we do anything about it? Individually no, but as a whole community we can. We can help them live again.

These people, they don’t need alms or pittance. They need hope, a chance to live again, an opportunity to become a contributing member of the society. They need work. They need to learn how to work. You might say, you are asking too much of us Ed. I don’t need you to act now, I need you to think, to keep what I am saying in your mind, and maybe in your own way help them, help themselves. Find organizations that aim to help these people by giving them work or teaching them how to do work, and support them. In our own little way, I’m sure we can make a difference. If you give them fish, you feed them perhaps for a day , when you teach them how to fish, you feed them for their lifetime.

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