Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Letter From 2009

Hello, my name is Isabel. I live in the largest Philippine island, Mindanao. It's 2009 and I'm currently 21. There are many things to be happy about being alive in this time and in this planet we call Earth. I have a family that enjoys eating and laughing and driving around the city. We seldom fight and we say things we don't mean because of anger. Things that we take back after twenty minutes. There is nothing special about the family I come from and the kind of life I have. Messy, unpredictable, imperfect and solid. I have three dogs whom I love with all my heart. They make me happy even when things aren't going well for me. I have a home. A small apartment with a veranda that overlooks the center of the commercial district. It is quite old, and we have very little space. But we have everything we need and it is ours, the only place in the world where we can be ourselves and not worry about what other people will think. I am a nurse. I enjoy my work despite the many tragedies I see everyday because I have been blessed with the great privilege to save lives. I think about that every morning before I go to work and it gives me strength and courage to face the day regardless of how it may end. There are many things that I am happy about in the world I live in. There are also many things in the world that have caused pain, suffering and destruction. There is war, poverty, hunger, animal cruelty, injustice, abuse and violence. Many people suffer because they are robbed off of their right to a good and honorable life. the war has torn apart many families and homes. Wives lose their husbands, children lose their fathers, mothers lose their sons because their country demands to be defended. Homes are torn apart, children have become the casualties of war. Countries go to war because of disputes and differences. But there are no victors in wars, there is only death and a foreboding sense of lost hope. Many people die of hunger while others have more than enough. This unequal distribution of resources deeply sadden me. People in my time spend so much energy seeking happiness through material riches. They forget that happiness cannot be found in the things you have but in what you do with your life. This is the greatest fault of my specie, we spend so much time thinking about ourselves and our worldly desires that we forget the plight of those who suffer around us. People foster anger and allow hate to thrive in their minds and hearts. Hate is a toxin in the body that eats away our ability to feel compassion and empathy towards others. War, cruelty, abuse and violence is the product of hate. Animals are in grave danger for there are many people who violate their inherent rights to live a good and decent life. People often forget that these animals are just like us, they feel pain and suffer grief. We are the stewards of the world, it is our right and obligation to take care of the animals and the environment, to make sure that the future generations will still be able to enjoy the gifts of mother nature. We are the voice and the protector of those who cannot speak for themselves. Many people forget this. People have become indulgent consumers. Wanting more and more from the world and never giving back. People also suffer injustices because of prejudice and intolerance. People are discriminated according to gender, social class, sexual preference, race, religious beliefs and appearances. Gays are denied of their rights to marry simply because they happen to love a person of the same gender. People are denied of their rights because of their skin color, their appearances, their religion. Many women in various parts of the world are killed, beaten and molested because they live in a society that believes they are inferior to men. There are many women who live in the shadows of patriarchy, fear and intolerance. While I enjoy the freedom my ancestors have fought for me, so that I could vote, be employed, choose who I want to marry, wear the clothes and shoes I want, and most importantly, live the kind of life I want with not a single speck of fear, there are many women around the world who die and suffer everyday because they are chained in the shackles of their country, their society, their religion and their family. There are many things from my world and from my time that I would like to see changed in your generation. I wish that there will be no room for hate. I wish that people would place a greater significance to what is similar in each other instead of what is different. I wish that people will respect their differences for there is always something good we can learn from each other. I wish people will be more compassionate and empathetic, to learn to put one's self in the other's shoes so that they will be able to think more carefully and make better decisions before they act. I wish that nobody will ever have to suffer for the sake of war. I wish that people will learn to communicate better so that misunderstandings can be avoided. I wish that your generation will take better care of all animals and mother earth for these are the only riches we can leave behind to the next generation. A great man called Gandhi once said, The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be judged by the way it's animals are treated. I wish that no child will ever go hungry ever again. I wish that you value everything you have so that those who have none will have a chance to have some. I wish that you raise your children with a compassion for others, wisdom to choose what is right and what is best for all regardless of their religion, color, gender, sexual preference and appearance and the fortitude to never stop fighting for what is good and just. I wish that you live a good and honorable life for it is what you deserve and it is what we are fighting for everyday that we are alive. I wish that you live in a world and a life free of hate, greed and pride. I wish that you uphold what is good and what is right at all times, in whatever you do and whoever you may be. I wish you love with all your heart for it is the only way you will be able to truly appreciate life.  

It is 11.35 in the evening, I am in my bed typing this message. My siblings are watching TV, my dog is asleep, my mother is in the bathroom and my father is watching the evening news. My life is simple and ordinary. I am no one special. The world I live in has many things to work on, to change. Everyday more and more people are waking up to the reality that if we want your generation to live a good and happy life, we must do something today and everyday until we die. For it is only what we leave behind that matters long after we have expired. To you, whoever you may be, I wish you love the life you have as much as I love mine for everyday that you are alive, is a new hope for a better world. 

To find out more about KEO and how you can submit a letter, click here.

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