Every so often, a nation is sent reeling by an horror so dark, and so unexpected, that it rocks citizens' faith in a just world.
I am referring, of course, to recent events that have shaken the Philippines.
Filipino boxing phenomenon Manny Pacquiao, a hero to his people, is widely believed to have suffered injustice following his June 10 fight with rival Tim Bradley in Las Vegas. Judges ruled that he lost the match. Fans, pundits and fellow boxers insist that he was robbed of his rightful victory.
If newspaper op-eds are any measure of a nation's grief, Filipinos are taking this one really hard.
"Life goes on whether Pacquiao wins or not," reads a piece titled "Seven Lessons From the Pacquiao 'Loss'" printed by the major Manila outlet ABS-CBN News.
"If you’re depressed, don’t be. If you’re miserable, please stop. If you’re confused, do something else. Pacquiao will be fine ... We can’t sulk too long. Lesson is: internalize it, accept it and then move on."
The counseling continues in the op-ed column at another outlet, the Sun Star Davao.
"One thing we must remember: we are not the ones who are receiving the punches nor having to endure the tough trainings. Let’s leave it to the boxers whether to rise up to the occasion or step down as the judges decided."
Even this straight news story from the Philippine Inquirer portrayed Pacquiao's defeat as a test of spiritual faith:
"Pacquiao took a leap of faith from the ring to the pulpit less than 24 hours after his loss. He appeared as the main guest of the Jesus Is Lord evangelical meeting here and showed promise as a pastor."
One could surmise that Filipinos, failed by inept leaders within politics and the military, have instead placed their faith in a sporting champion of great prowess and resolve.
But that contention would be complicated by the fact that Pacquiao, when he's not busy ambidextrously beating the brains out of his opponents, acts as a sitting congressman and Army lieutenant colonel.
In fact, the Philippine Army may even ignore the results and offer their own honors (complete with motorcade) for his deserved victory.
Perhaps that would offer some comfort to Pacquiao's mom, seen on TV collapsing after the judges' announced their decision.