Batuhan: Blowin’ in the Wind

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By Allan S. B. Batuhan

Foreign Exchange

Saturday, January 4, 2014

HOW many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can really see the sky?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind”.


Many consider the singer and songwriter Bob Dylan to be a modern prophet, whose songs speak of the realities of our times. His songs have been likened to the words of the great gospel writers, because his words move people into thought, and from thought, into action. The song Blowin’ in the Wind, whose lyrics appear above, is perhaps one of the best known, and a song that has been interpreted to mean a lot of things, depending on the context against which it is sung.

I thought the song symbolizes 2013 in many respects for the Philippines. A wind, literally, came to pass over us in the form of super typhoon Yolanda, and – like in the song – uncovered for us the answers to a lot of questions we have been asking, which previous to the great “wind,” we did not know the answers to.

How many times can we turn our heads, pretending we do not see?

After Yolanda, it is hard to turn our heads again. We saw how ill-equipped and unprepared our government was to handle the disaster. And instead of owning up and doubling their efforts once they were found wanting, many of our politicians resorted instead to grandstanding, preferring to window-dress their images, rather than getting down to the root of the problem and doing their best to solve it.

More than anything else, how many times can we still turn our heads to the corruption such as the likes allegedly perpetrated by Janet Napoles, along with the cooperation and collusion of powerful lawmakers? We had three functioning C-130 planes to ferry supplies and relief goods up and down the typhoon-stricken areas, but the money that was plundered from our coffers could have secured plenty more for just such an emergency.

Bob Dylan’s songs have inspired revolutions, and not always of the bloody kind. Revolution which means change for the better, inspiring people to hope that better times can still be ahead, if only they put their hearts and minds to it.

My friends and countrymen, we have been turning our heads away for far too long. We have countenanced corruption, and in many instances, have in fact aided and abetted it by voting into power people we know are predisposed to thievery and wrongdoing, in exchange for just a few measly pesos.

Yolanda blew away all our excuses for our dire predicament. We all know what we need to do. Let us make things right in 2014!

( &

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 04, 2014.


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