On Becoming a Human Rights Lawyer: Thoughts of a Young Boy

It was a fine, summer day. A certain young boy was reading his favorite classic novel over the mango tree. For the young boy, the branches have served his cradle; the tree, his world. He would always look at the sky and stare at the grandeur of the sun-lit firmament for what it seemed an eternity. He always dreamed of being a star, an Alpha Centauri which has been known through the ages as the second nearest star on Earth. During those starry nights, he would sing the melodious anthem which his grandfather had taught him and, again, dream of being an astronaut someday. He wanted to build a mansion in the moon but later realized that such was an impossible endeavor. He never gave up in dreaming for he thought that, aside from the water which he drinks and the oxygen which makes him breathe, dreaming was the only remaining thing on Earth which has no price and is free. He dreamed of having a complete set of a novel series which stars a young, bespectacled wizard as its protagonist but it was a rare commodity back then in their town and, thus, was considered a symbol of status and rank.

He dreamed of too many things – too many that he himself could not remember anymore. But in this array of dreams which he had, one dream struck him. That was to become a lawyer someday. When his friend, who is two years older than him, was beaten in public by his demised father for a wrongdoing which he did not bother to know anymore, his eyes blazed in wrath. No one defended his friend. Even his mother and his elder siblings stood motionless as his friend was being tormented and agonized. Even the peacekeeper of the town, who came upon hearing the spectacle, ignored the lamentations of his friend and turned to watch the beating as if it was a wrestling match. There was no defender but there was an oppressor. That should not be the case, he thought. A defender must come to rescue the oppressed because in a world where the society’s great ills still persist, one should draw the thick line to suppress, if not lessen, the repressions which those miserable people experience.

I had told this story for a number of times. You might as well guess who that young boy in the story is but that does not matter anymore. It is because that young boy had already grown up and, now, is a Political Science student at the renowned University of the Philippines Manila.

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