When the Grounds Fall On Independence Day

By Santy Asanuma

I do not know about most of you but I am real worried about the declining economy and how we are going to manage life as we know it in Palau. My biggest fear is it is still going from bad towards worse and I do not see the bottom yet. As I searched in my mind for inspiring and profound statement to say on this special day, I could not come up with any. But a light hit me as I was listening to the scripture reading being read on Sunday.

“How terrible it will be for you that have such an easy life in Zion and for you that feel safe in Samaria…how terrible it will be for you that stretch out on your luxurious couches, feasting on veal and lamb!…you drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest perfumes…your feasts and banquets will come to an end (Amos Chapter 6).

I am so stuck with the idea of keeping the easy life that we have been accustomed to and am more worried that it is in the process of slipping out of our hands. It has become harder for me to see the alternative way of life that calls me out of this comfort zone which requires more work and sacrifices. This problem is what Prophet Amos warned the people thousands of years ago.

So now that the status quo (sel ngii a bla bo desau er ngii) where Uncle Sam grants every wish and amount that we asked for during TT days and the first fifteen years of Compact is on shaky grounds as US is also having money troubles into the unforeseeable future, the celebration (ke di milil e oldeu a rengud el beluu) is coming to an end.

So on this most auspicious 16th Independence Day, I ask you my countrymen if we are more independent than our forefathers and foremothers before us now that the generosity of our great benefactor is running out?

I am also weary (mla mo mesaol a rengud) because many of our lawmakers like the easy way out and now are using this situation of no money to push for casino and foreign owned companies in the name of investment or more money. But for who is the better question that must be asked. More money has never before meant more money for the people so why should we believe it this time.

Though this may be the situation, I am further convinced to bank with two biggest assurances: cultural heritage gives me the hope that we as a people should rely on our traditions in helping each other as we have done so for thousands of years and not let the weak in our society sink deeper in this time of economic crisis.

As I sat listening to the gospel of Luke after Amos’ warning, I am happy for the fact that Palau is a Christian nation. My faith is renewed when at the end Lazarus was raised out of his misery. As Christians we must do what is right even if we suffer like Lazarus and that we must help the poor.

So I embrace my cultural pride and Christian faith and steadfastly move forward to proclaim my independence. God bless Palau and happy Independence Day!

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