SOJOURNER’S VIEW: Christmas Greetings

Dear Mindanews Readers,

For most of this year, this column was quite inactive. I found myself in a “mental block” and had difficulties putting words together. Many reasons accounted for this including a deep frustration as to how the political landscape has been playing out in these troubled times. Hopefully, I am back on track. In fact, I just finished writing a book which I hope to publish early next year.  To break the silence, here is a poem I am offering to all as a way of wishing you a Blessed Christmas!


What is there for me to share to friends this Christmas season?
Me, a descendant of one of the three who came from the East
To offer a gift to a refugee family caught in a crisis situation
Whose story we never get tired of remembering, year after year….

Just a note to say the past year turned out to be a better year
Than the past recent ones only because I remained functioning
Most days unless my creatinine count makes it imperative
to take a day off or when the blues strike and I’m in limbo.

I did the usual thing – spent countless hours in classrooms
making sure my millennial Theo & Anthro students get busy
even as they get lost deciphering my scribblings on the board
and plotting a revolt oppressed by my authoritarian streak!

Being a Red, I have to be out there with the hoi-polloi
I crisscrossed the highways of Bislig, Surigao del Sur in the east
and Bukidnon in north troubleshooting in our mission endeavors
while wishing the people will rise to the challenge of the times!

But alas, these are not the good times for the prophets & poets
to claim their voices in the wilderness and darkness  of a State
devoured by the alliance of the pork-loving decaying regimes
who refer to the Almighty as idiot while their adoring crowds cheer!

What is there to share to friends this Christmas season?
But a deep longing of a dissident for a way out of this mess
And perhaps hope that despite the lonely gloom of a dark night
We like Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar will find our way home!

(Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar, the most prolific Mindanawon book author — at least 20 since 1985  — is a church worker, anthropologist, artist and professor who has written several books on Mindanao history, peacebuilding and Indigenous Peoples. He has also been a recipient of several awards from various institutions, this year the Datu Bago Award from the Davao City Government and the Pro Deo Et Patria from the Ateneo de Zamboanga University)