Anatomy of two young suicides
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-11-15
The recent suicide of 12-year old Davao City pupil Marianeth Amper and the not-too-recent suicide of another youth, American student of Korean descent Seung-Hui Cho are two different youth suicide cases united only by their common deep sense of alienation.

Leaving behind a diary that immortalized her angst, Amper decided to take the one thing over which she had control — her own life.

Before taking his own life, Cho, 23, killed 32 innocent people at Virginia Tech who he believed symbolized the systematic cruelty inflicted on him by society. Cho wanted only to vindicate the violence he felt this cruel world had done to him.

In the video message Cho sent to a news network prior to his suicide, he said (SIC):

"Do you know what it feels to be spit on your face and to have trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave? Do you know what it feels like to have your throat slashed from ear to ear? Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon on a cross? And left to bleed to death for your amusement? You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life. Did you want to inject as much misery in our lives as you can just because you can?

I didn't have to do this. I could have left. I could have fled. But no, I will no longer run.

You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today, but you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands."

Amper's desperation did not make her angry and vindictive. She just wanted out. But Cho was deeply hurt and angry and he wanted to make people pay before making himself the very instrument of his own revenge. They were two young suicides of two different personalities in different circumstances and in two separate worlds.

Many would tend to say that Cho was the greater tragedy because his shooting rampage resulted in 32 casualties. But on the other hand, Marianeth's death has become an indictment on the callousness and neglect of this country’s leaders and society as a whole.

This was even dramatized by the despicable politicking of two of Davao's elders — Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and House Majority Floor Leader Prospero Nograles who blamed and cussed each other for causing the circumstances that led to Marianeth’s suicide.

Marianeth was a beautiful person who was loving and caring. At 12, she even wanted to work in a noodle factory in order to alleviate her family's plight. Had circumstances been different, Marianeth had what it takes to be a real philanthropist. She was the type who was willing to undergo sacrifices for the benefit of others. Perhaps, the sacrifice of her own life will help bring this about one way or the other.

On the other hand, Cho epitomizes the dangerously disillusioned and angry. These are also the raw ingredients for mass mayhem and violent civil conflict which have happened in Africa and in many other societies where poverty and want had assumed diabolical dimensions to exact revenge on the haves.

Cho's demons were imaginary — but in the Philippines, poverty's demons are real and very much alive. What happens if millions of victims of poverty unleash itself against the demons that continue to hover in our social and political system?

It is just a matter of time before that tipping point is reached and other options to suicide are considered. When there are enough of them who manage to gravitate around an ideologue like a Lenin or a Mao Zedong, then we will have a class revolt — such as what was seen in France during the 18th century Reign of Terror.

Except for the mystics and the deeply spiritual, man by nature is a social animal. Easily 99.99% of humanity will seek the harmony of living with their tribe and peers. The feeling of being so alone can be a very big burden to bear for most people, one that can drive a person to do extremely unusual and shocking things like suicide.

The October 2005 Pulse Asia Coping Survey revealed that 33 percent of Filipinos were open to committing illegal acts (21 %) or supporting an overthrow of the government (12 %) in order to obtain relief from poverty. That was in October 2005 and the misery index has worsened for the poor.

Per the October 2005 Pulse Asia Coping Survey, there are over 25 million Filipinos with a dangerous mindset.

If only 5% of Filipinos decide to revolt, there is no armed force in this country that can stop over four million angry and hungry desperate souls who have had enough.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

[Click here for the Archive]

Home | As I Wreck This Chair | High Ground | Career Brief and Roots | Advocacies | Landmarks Copyright 2006 The Chair Wrecker by William M. Esposo