In the news today, Lolong, the 21-foot crocodile caught in the marshlands of Agusan still refuses to eat, according to the Inquirer. The crocodile, was caught last September 2, 2011. The crocodile is suspected to have eaten a farmer, a 12 year old girl, and some farm animals including a carabao. The crocodile may be the longest crocodile so far as the last recorded crocodile caught was only 5.5 meters long, compared to the 6.7 meters of Lolong the Crocodile. The crocodile is now in an eco-park somewhere in Agusan.
According to some animal experts, the reason why Lolong is unable to eat is that he is too stressed to eat. After his ordeal during his capture, there were instances that he became too hostile, and probably, the reason he was captured was because he became weak after a long arduous struggle to set himself free. He may be in an eco-park but that is not his natural habitat. Since the croc was born not from captivity, its ability to adapt in an enclosed area may take some time if not at all.
My point here is the croc’s natural habitat belongs to the wild. It feeds on living or maybe carcasses of animals. Its capability is to hunt down, strike on its prey and eat. That is its nature, and a living animal like him belongs to the wild and this is the only way he can survive. Take him away from it and who knows he can die of stress and inability to adapt.
We humans are extraordinary beings. We are extraordinary in the sense that we can go beyond our natural animal instinct. Apart from our beings as an animal, we have one distinct characteristic: We are rational beings. We are endowed with an ability to understand the things around us, adapt on it, do something about it and develop ourselves and our community.
But for a human being to fully actualize his abilities, he needs the same thing as animals do. Food, water, clothing, shelter, fellow beings and the like. But as human beings, we need more than that. We have a natural propensity to develop. Here comes education, jobs, decent wages, family, clean environment, technology and the like. One good thing about us humans is that our consciousness can go beyond the self and extend to others. No! I am not talking about mind control! What I mean is that we don’t just think about ourselves but we also think of the betterment of the others: Conscientious, emphatic, sympathetic, solidarity.
Now take away all of it, what becomes of a human? Like what Lolong experienced, from being taken away from his natural habitat and being a captive and displayed like a prized trophy, we are all taken off from our natural being. Dehumanized is the best word to see it. The sad part is, the more we fight to regain our humanity, our dignity, the more we are challenged to regain back what is ours for it is not given like a piece of candy. To retake it, we must pay for it with our blood and sweat. Our heroes have done it and we still have to continue the fight.
In this day of commemoration of martial law, let us not forget that during those days, our life as a human being and as a freedom loving Filipino was salvaged and we’re brainwashed to accept that it was a necessary step for peace and order. That it was Marcos’ key so he can amass more power and wealth and to destroy the very fabric that the nation our heroes like Bonifacio, Rizal, Jacinto, Sakay, Ninoy, Alejandro and the countless, nameless, faceless victims of martial law died for. Let us not forget them for even animals do not forget their prey and aggressors.