Hell in Ngerchebal Island

By Santy Asanuma —-

Insignificant as a piece of a rock with sparse vegetation, Ngerchebal Island, has always been there for most residents of both Koror and Imeliik (the correct spelling if I may add) to see out in the sea between the two traditional communities that are now declared as states. Many countries today are at war in the Asia Pacific region over similar islands. Philippines versus Indonesia; Philippines versus Taiwan; Philippine versus China; Japan versus China; Bangladesh versus India and other players are also in kind of disputes or fighting over some small islands in the sea. Is it worth it?

“The darkest places in hell are the places reserved for those people who declare their neutrality (ng diak el le bong ma diak el le mei-ng di ngara belengel) during time of moral crisis” (Dante). I recently came across this quote and it inspired me greatly to write about it. I have been struggling to look for explanation as to why there seems to be so many unresolved disputes or conflicts in our Palauan society today. It seems that the usual act for people is just to walk away from problems as an amicable (ungil e mededaes) solution to avoid more confrontation. And it has become typical for people to use the expression “ng unsolved” to refer to problems that continue to exist without acceptable solutions to them. This is as if it would make

Day in day out I would run into a person who would express bewilderment (rrau el reng) why there seems to be many problems everywhere he/she turns to in our society today. There seems to be a lot of this anger/conflict in families, work, and in all imaginable social circles that people are involved with. And we cannot deny that this anger/conflict is clearly in the way of things getting accomplished in our communities because people just do not like to deal with certain people who are in the situation. Government problems, cultural/traditional issues, disputes on chiefly titles, unaccounted money/resources for organizations, bad/abnormal social behaviors/conducts, violence by almost the same people, poor or no law enforcements, suspicious court judgments, neglected family responsibilities, increasing drug trafficking and prostitution are unmet (ng di mechoit) because we have to confront a person or people in the process.

This is probably the kind of neutrality (ka le bong ma ka le mei) that Dante is talking about. Whoever we are we take comfort in our corners and look at all of our societal problems passing by and unfolding before us without so much in saying anything in protest or taking some kind of action to stop such problems. As in the knife killing spree that has become a social phenomenon on the rise but we only get weak to curious response from the community. No protest or outcry. In a way, this attitude has allowed Bem Eremii bloody knifing incident number two to happen not so long after the first one. And the recent rape of a twelve years old girl by her step-father can only be attributed to family members not wanting to say or do anything in the first place.

If I have missed making my point clear, the moral crisis that I can point out in all the mounting problems in our society today is that most of us and as a whole society have opted to neutrality (might as well be the hell Dante is talking about). Well, I only hope that we Palauans as the sole stakeholders of our society do not allow Palau to turn into hell before we say or do anything. Yes, you as individual can say or do something. It has to start with you!

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