Letters when grouped and arranged in a certain way create words. When rearranged or set differently they create new meanings. Take the word affection. It means tender attachment or fondness, a positive word by nature. Insert the word AT between the letters T and I and the word affectation is created. The latter means an attempt to assume what is not real or an artificial behavior. Affectation is a word that reeks of falsehood. Both words though share the same root word which is affect and it refers to the experience of feeling or emotion, to have an influence or bring about change. Indeed, affection and affectation can make anyone experience certain feelings or emotions; be influenced; or, even be changed.
Affection is assumed to be inherent among siblings especially among us Filipinos who grow up with the family as the center of our universes. The older children are constantly reminded of their responsibility to take care of the younger ones and the extent of patience that must be exercised. Younger siblings are continually told to be obedient and respectful towards the older ones. The affection that is inculcated by the adults is assumed to remain even when the siblings get married, have children of their own, and pursue careers within or outside of the country. Tolerance, compassion and understanding are commonly called for when a sibling commits indiscretion, misdemeanor or any form of wrong doing against the family or society. Older siblings, inspired by their affection for the younger ones, strive so hard to finish college early and get a job so that they could financially support their siblings. Among Filipinos it has become common that the eldest postpones marriage before he or she has sent brothers and sisters to college; it is not an obligation but more of a noble act of affection.
Due to certain reasons or circumstances such as favoritism and lack of opportunity to bond, siblings fail to develop affection. In order though to retain the approval of parents and the elders in the family, an affectation for such is crafted when the children are younger. As they grow older, become more independent and get a greater share of life’s challenges less any favorable circumstances that would augment sibling relations, the affectation disintegrates and becomes dangerous. There are brothers who shot or physically assault their brothers over a piece of land, an insulting remark, or a woman. There are sisters who had written off their sisters over bitter words, gossips, or criticisms.
Recently the national channels and newspapers had been full of news, opinions and other articles regarding the death of Ramgem Revilla and the alleged involvement of two of his siblings in the commission of his murder. People gathered in small groups in restaurants, public transportations, and even in the privacy of their homes speculate as to the events that brought about this sadness to the Revilla family. When the two siblings became the prime suspects there was a general and shared aghast. Some said that the victim must have been such a bad person that his siblings had him murdered. Others said that the siblings must be very bad persons because they had their brother murdered.
Their story is not unique because in the history of human race, stories of fratricide have been told and one of the most well-known is that of Cain and Abel. In Roman mythology, Romulus killed Remus over who had the blessing of the gods. There was a time when a new Sultan of the Ottoman Empire started his reign by imprisoning his living brothers and commanded to have them strangulated once he had produced a male heir. Whatever the real story is, it is their story. Whatever their story though, it must be about affection and affectation.