“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”
grief carves deep into me. and it holds me close to dexter, my beautiful Ati brother. the bullets shot into his body could not possibly, could never ever possibly, kill his enormous light.
with him laughter would rise bubbling up from our bellies. his long kinky hair always caught by the sea winds. yellow polish on his nails, i would tease him for. the mounds of rice we shamelessly ate, giggling, after a long day’s work. i loved being near him. he was sweet lightness, but also a felt and very respected presence. happiness was so so easy for dexter, even if long years of backbreaking and heartaching work have been set on him. as he helped bring his people together many years ago, the Atis of Boracay Island for the first time dared to dream that they can, and rightfully so, live on their ancestors’ land.
my grief is not for dexter: i know, i know he is oh so alive!
this grief is instead for the unspeakable violence that breathes all around us. how corporate greed and economics have turned into power, hoping to kill the strength of cultural wisdom and the human spirit. dexter knew of injustice very well; he and the Atis live it every day. but he never could accept it. and i too promise to never look away.
to stand in dexter’s light, and to be in solidarity with the Atis, join the Boracay Ati Community page, and share it!