A TRIBUTE TO MARIANNET AMPER, ANTI-POVERTY MARTYR

This one is really depressing. Mariannet Amper, a 12-year old girl killed herself over poverty! Read the story here and here.


But there seems to be something good that came from her suicide: The Queendom miraculously acknowledged the existence of poverty and is taking full responsibility for the suicide. And, the suicide elicited a stern rebuke from the United Nations which also urged the Philippine government to speed up its anti-poverty program.

Please let me express my thoughts through a poem:


To A Twelve-Year Old Child Who Committed Suicide To Give Eyeglasses To Blind Leaders Who Could Not See Poverty Right Before Their Eyes

-A 12-year-old girl, who became despondent over her family’s poverty, hanged herself inside their makeshift house a day after her father told her he could not give her the P100 she needed for a school project.

-The government is taking responsibility for a 12-year-old girl who took her life because of extreme poverty but assured that steps are being taken to ease hunger and poverty, officials said on Thursday.


-News reports of The Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2007


The deep shadows that enveloped your home
And never retreated since you were born
Became the light that illuminated your mind.

I sorrow for your death, my dear child
Your mother’s milk on your lips barely dried
And she is not tired from singing cradlesongs
I did not tell you that there is life…still
There is life beyond a pad paper and a pencil
that fathers forced into shameful indolence
could not purchase, even with their blood
This world did not demand heroism from
someone so tender and innocent as you
Because it owed you; you did not owe it.

I sorrow for your death, my dear child
But I must release the black garb soon
for your small grave is a large gift
to every cold, famished child like you
An intensely brilliant light for a world
that is too dark; yes, too disgracefully dark
for the blindingly clear sparks and lightning
emitted by charged voices hoarse from
traveling too much space in too much time
You are the voice of the unheeded loud voices.

Your grave is the commanding energy
that will rouse a nation groping in the dark
for its soul fatigued from hopelessness,
broken promises and aimless wandering
Resigned to a fate worse than death
For there is no hunger in the cemetery,
not even cold, in spite of its glacial ambiance
Your corpse is the chance at redemption
of them that wear the crown but never
rode the horse to the unspeakable places
where every human blight celebrates
victory handed on a silver platter by the enemy.

I sorrow for your death
It is one death too many
the death of a million children
that should end with your death
But I will not slur your sacrifice
The tears that flow are an amalgam
of crushing grief and a song of hope.

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