This was read on a broadcast of Classical Underground on Wednesday, April 8. Classical Underground is heard Wednesdays, 6-8pmEDT at CIUT89.5FM
My lolo, that is, my grandfather, called us to sit on the table where laid out in front of him was a plate with a piece of lamb, a boiled egg, sprigs of the bitter ampalaya leaves, sprigs of camote leaves and a piece of honeycomb, dripping with honey. He held my hand as I reached out for the sweet treat and asked me what this all means. Then he recounted the story of God who freed people who were enslaved by a cruel king. The story so affected me that the story of a powerful God who will always be on the side of those who suffer, and will free them, inspired me to this day. I was about five, not yet six years old.
At that time, I recalled my parents’ hushed conversations while they grieved the death of one of my brothers. Antonio Sian Lampitoc was born in 1957 with an enlarged liver and did not live past a day. I recalled them also talking about the births they were beginning to hear and read about from Marshall Islands, of babies being born with no limbs, of babies that were like jellyfish, born with no skeletons. These were the results of nuclear testing by a very powerful country at Bikini Atoll.
I wondered then, that if a country so powerful and so rich that can produce such awe and destruction, why they never used this power to bring these babies back to life.
Reading from Isaiah 14:12-17 NRSV:
How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart,
“I will ascend into heaven;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
on the heights of Zaphon;
I will ascend to the tops of the clouds,
I will make myself like the Most High.”
But you were brought down to Sheol,
to the depths of the Pit.
Those who see you will stare at you
and ponder over you:
“Is this the man who made the earth
who shook kingdoms,
who made the world like a desert
and overthrew its cities,
who would not let his prisoners go