If You Were In Their Shoes

Right now, sitting comfortably under the safety of your home, with water and bread just within reach, you can’t say “It’s wrong to steal”, “They shouldn’t have done that”, “No matter what, stealing is stealing” unless you’ve been in that same situation, with your family- your mother, your grandparents, your 10-year-old son or your 2-month old daughter- crying and begging for food and warmth. Because it’s human nature to protect those that we love.

I am not defending the looters. Neither am I defending those who steal what can’t be considered basic necessities at all- because those people are just taking advantage of the situation. However, we must not generalize.

If you and your family are on the streets,
losing every comfort you’ve established in life in a blink,
not knowing where you’ll sleep the next day
because somewhere your roof was blown away;

If  your mental and emotional health are a mess,
and your strength’s almost depleted,
your stomach’s growling in hunger,
and your eyes are no longer twinkling but somber,

Then you found a can of food or a clean loaf of bread among the ruins,
will you hesitate upon seeing it?
When behind you, the people who worked all their life to feed you,
are cold, hungry, and sickly?

I asked my grandmother, “Can you blame them?”
She said, “If I saw you so very hungry, I would go anywhere to find food for you to eat.”
And I almost couldn’t hold it in.

My seventy-year-old grandmother, who cried upon seeing news about Tacloban,
without even knowing a single person who lives there…
My only living grandmother, said she would steal if it were for me.
And I’m quite sure I’d do the same for her.
We could always repay it with kindness to other people who are in need when the time comes.

I’m just saying, let’s not judge those people who just lost everything so hastily.
If you stop and think, try imagining yourself in their place.
I’m sure to most, family comes first.


Again, I am not defending the looters. Let’s just try to see past what the media covers and let not other human beings who have feelings feel condemned for being normal, that when forced to choose, during dire times, between ethics and love, chose love.


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November 2013
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