Saturday, August 21, 2004


I’m in the airport waiting to board my plane to Bangkok. I was just trying to doze off then I found myself being kept awake by an American seated behind me, having a conversation with someone next to him.

He said that he was on his way to Bangkok, that he took a trip every year. He wanted to go to Manila but was advised against it due to security concerns. Then he mentioned that everyone hates Americans, that he doesn’t understand it. He says he’s a nice guy, doesn’t hate anything himself. He’s a teacher who just takes a big trip every year.

It occured to me that the people who hated them probably didn’t have much to love in life. I suppose if you don’t have much to have or love yourself, then it would be easy to hate those who do.


I remembered the Burnhams who were kidnapped by the Abu Sayaff three years ago. They were missionaries who were trying to provide for Filipinos what the Philippines itself could not, some education, probably some respect and attention. Then they were the ones kidnapped and killed, made into symbols of hatred against Americans.

I don’t know of any other nation that sends missionaries here so much as the US. I’m not sure whether that’s because we were a former colony or whether as a country, the US is the one with the most people willing to go out and help out where they’re needed. If the second were true, that would be the greatest irony that I can see. The seemingly most hated nation is the one who’s own people cares for others the most. And the caring is shown in its most basic and personal form. They’ll leave their own country to go to yours.

After a while, I found myself getting surrounded by more and more Americans. They’re missionaries on their way to Thailand and Laos. It seems that they’re off on some outreach program to visit schools and orphanages. When their whole group got together, they sat around and started to recite verses and prayed.

These are the people killed in the name of God.