BAYAN-USA’s Tribute to the Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan on the First Anniversary of Haiyan’s Landfall

The Bamboo Curse
Resilience is the curse of the bamboo.
Suffer the storm,
swim through the floods.
Bear the stench of corpses
and the hunger
that does not go away
with praise.
Forget the greed
that levels mountains
and changes wind and seas.
Forget the president
who walks out,
Forget the aid
that crawls slower
as we wait.
The bamboo bends and sways
with the wind.
We are human, only human,
All flesh and tears and bone and blood.
Forgive us our anger
as we seek for justice
in our grief,
in our inconsolable grief.
     ~By Joi Barrios LeBlanc

On the first anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, BAYAN-USA salutes the resilient survivors of the supertyphoon in your quest for justice. While President Aquino coldly abandons his responsibility to you and the nation, you persevere in rebuilding your homes, your farms, your communities in the face of government corruption and repression. We commend your resolve to hold Aquino accountable for his criminal neglect and militarized response to the tragedy of Haiyan. We add our voices to your righteous cry for justice. Your courage inspires us to continue believing in the power of the people to create genuine change, so that we rebuild both for today and for future generations.

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(Following is the Filipino version of the above poem)
Sumpa ng kawayan
Matibay ang kawayan.
Iyan ang sumpa.
Hayaang ipaghampas-hampasan
ng unos,
lumangoy at magpaanod
sa baha.
Pigilin ang hininga
at baka malanghap
ang bangkay na naaagnas.
Tiisin ang gutom ng sikmura
na kahit sa papuri,
ay hungkag na hungkag.
Kalimutan natin ang kasakiman
na sa kabundukan
ay nagpapatag,
at nagbabago sa daloy
ng hangin at dagat.
Kalimutan ang pangulo
na mainit ang ulo
at sa sariling pulong
walang pakundangang lumalabas.
Kalimutan ang ayuda
na higit na bumabagal,
sa ating paghihintay.
Yumuyuko at umiindayog
sa hangin ang kawayan.
Ngunit kami ay tao, tao lamang,
Balat at dugo, luha at buto.
Ipagpaumanhin ang galit
at pusong nagpupuyos.
Naghahanap kami ng katarungan
sa gitna ng dalamhati’t pagluluksa,
sa aming di matapos-tapos
na dalamhati’t pagluluksa.
    ~By Joi Barrios LeBlanc
[Author’s note: This poem was inspired by Soleil David’s piece “Resilience is a Dirty Word.”]