Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sudden change...possible confusion

Sudden change...possible confusion


It's all but strange for today's administration especially with one of its departments trying to insist change: especially in native terms like "Pilipinas" for "Filipinas."

And if you were to choose, which native term should be used: Pilipinas or Filipinas? Pilipino or Filipino? Pinoy or Finoy?

Well,  that kind of topic this writer ought to write, partially based from an article made by Prof. Danilo Arao,  was made in response to the said order given by the "Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino" (KWF), originally known as Institute of National Language last April 12 whose intention is to "return the use of 'Filipinas' while stopping the use of 'Pilipinas' as the official and modern native name that recognizes its history and progress of its nationhood..."

KWF even encouraged to "change offial names of every institutions and movements carrying the name 'Pilipinas'"; and insisting, abit slow to "change the spelling in every stamp, letterhead, notepad, and any other tool with the name 'Pilipinas' into 'Filipinas'".

However, that said encouragement, or rather say, policy had been dealt before by certain experts on the Filipino language. As according to UP Diksyunaryong Filipino 2010 edition (dictionary from the University of the Philippines) stated that "Filipinas" is the name of our country (p.362), meanwhile "Pilipinas" as its own definition as its Tagalog term for "Filipinas" (p.971). In connection, the citizens of the country be called as "Filipino", also the same term for the national language "according to the 1973 constitution."

However, in the 1987 constitution, from its title "Konstitusyon ng Republika ng Pilipinas" and its preamble "kami, ang makapangyarihang sambayanang Pilipino...." (we, the sovereign Filipino people...) it used tagalized terms "Pilipinas and Pilipino" while in article XIV section 6 declared "Filipino" as its National language.

But at first, as insisted by the institute itself, through its revised Filipino ortoraphy (2013), they simply stated that the alphabet has been modernised and hence read according to English, except the Hispanic-sounding "Ñ", so is "F" as included in the 28-lettered Filipino alphabet that was originally 20 according to Lope K. Santos.

Furthermore, KWF perhaps tends to show history as its evidence to justify Filipinas, rather than Pilipinas in a way Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista used "Acta de la proclamación de independencia del pueblo Filipino", of course, since the declaration used Spanish, therefore they use the term "Filipinas" rather than the indigenous-sounding "Pilipinas" or rather say having Ilustrados contented in speaking, writing Spanish than the language of the majority such as Tagalog.
This may sound desperate for the KWF, especially that with the ortography had been lean closer to the English language rather than accumulate certain dialects into a one, major lingua franca. According to Prof. Arao, that the first edition of UP Diksyonaryong Filipino last 2001, for example, is a good start in showing ordinary citizens the richness of Filipino tongue, especially its words coming from different regions with the possibility of unifying them; one may dare to disagree other terms in the dictionary such as "Tarantado" or any other vulgar term, but it is still a good reference in regards to the language.

Otherwise, why the insistence of KWF to change? There's nothing wrong about "Pilipinas" or "Pilipino"! Like its "F" sounding ones, these are still a part of age-old Hispanic heritage yet indigenized by its inhabitants. Yes, it may sound comfortable for these inhabitants to use "P" instead of "F" or as what Prof. Arao also stated that  the Hispanic-sounding "Filipinas" had paved way for an indigenized "Pilipinas" for the people wanted to have its own identity no matter what it came from its colonial past yet wholly accepted for the present.

Aside from Prof. Arao, Atty. Trixie Cruz even criticized replacing the name itself, as according to her:

"I believe in a national language policy. I believe in an inclusive national language that incorporates sounds and words from all the major languages in the country. I believe that the bellicose reactions to the proposal of the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino is limited to Tagalog speakers so used to their own sounds in the national language, that they are slow in accepting the fact that the Philippine alphabet has already changed and had done so years ago. That being said, I disagree with the return to "Filipinas" from "Pilipinas" and not because it sounds awkward, but because it returns us to the name given by the Spanish, "Felipinas" or "Filipinas" after then King Philip or "Felipe". Pilipinas is our indigenized version, a way of making what was a foreign name, one of our own."

Furthermore, there were other books that used much earlier term "Philipinas" aside from "Filipinas" as in "Anales Ecclesiasticos de Philipinas", a history of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines from 1574-1682.

Like Prof. Arao, would say that Atty. Cruz tends to say that Pilipinas is itself an indigenized term, while at the same time keeping  "Filipinas" as part of heritage. It may sound strange that KWF, originally created to create national identity through language, had to revert its indigenized term into its Hispanic original, then may as well replace "Araw" with "Arao", "Santol" with "Santor", and "Laktaw" with "Lactao" for KWF had insisted.

Meanwhile, Eugene Carmelo Cabanilla-Pedro had took the side of KWF in regards to the use of other letters in the Philippine alphabet, as he said:

"The Filipino language is supposed to be an amalgam of all Philippine languages, with Tagalog as its based. As an amalgam, it ought to include elements from other Philippine languages, including sounds, and some languages in the Northern Luzon, such as Ibanag and Itawis have fs and vs and zs; who are we to say then that an f is un-Filipino? The Commission merely recognized the fact that the phonology of Filipino ought not to be based on Tagalog alone."

Well, Tagalog alone? Prof. Zeus Salazar is a Bikolano that can't pronounce "F".
Mang Jun, a farmer from Visayas, would rather say "B" than "V" in the term "Visaya".
And Lean Galvez would say "Indi" than "Hindi" for most Kapampangans can't pronounce "H".
So to think that the term "Pilipinas" is simply "Filipinas," but only with a P; and people may deemed as deliberate and not through natural linguistic evolution, and yet to other communities such as Bikol, it had been natural enough especially in regards to Mang Jun and Prof. Salazar.
Tagalog may had been a foundation, yet it considered as well Waray, Sugbuhanon (Cebuano), Ilocano, Kapangpangan, and others. And Mr. Cabanilla-Pedro may also have not noticed that Tagalog had also sub-dialects such as from Bulacan to CaLaBaRZon area; that one speaks of "Undas" while another speaks "Undras" for All saints day.

Anyways, as this writer had read every debate in Facebook, there are still people who are just and simple nostalgic about Hispanidad while others care about building a modern, yet native identity that requires indigenization of things foreign. That the name "Pilipinas" has acquired general acceptance while reverting back to "Filipinas" rather creates a lot of confusion, as most people, especially the generation that struggled for a modern, native identity have identified ourselves with "Pilipinas" more than the Hispanic, Criollo, Peninsulare-centric "Filipinas" those who care about Hispanidad speaks of.

So again, if you were to choose, which native term should be used: Pilipinas or Filipinas? Pilipino or Filipino? Pinoy or Finoy?

Otherwise, this kind of question isn't limited to ortography, but in building an identity, interpreting colonial pasts, and a collective insight both today and in the future.  


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

"Too late..."

"Too late..."

(or how this writer made his writeup after reading a post from a LaSallian)




"Bureaucracy with all its attendant ills arises from a system that prizes efficiency more than humanity, money more than compassion and common sense. Social insensitivity is part and parcel of a system that has normalized inequality, promotes fear and distrust of the “other” -- especially the “rabble on the streets” that we would rather flush away."

-CJ Chanco

Sorry for being Ulrike Meinhof-esque in this kind of writeup all after reading Mr. Chanco's post a day ago. Quite lamenting though, especially that the guards and the clinic of De La Salle University had apparently refused to grant him entry nor given aid as much as possible in its very own clinic, yet too late to respond for what they revive is presumed dead.

And fo Mr. Chanco himself, he would say that he, as a student of DLSU with the incident had happened near his school would say that he tends to curry aid from the school he studied, or specifically through the guards, clinicians, authorities to provide aid for the ailing person that end up too late. Even for some "anointing of the sick" from the order who runs the place.

However, as the guards gave way, they ought to do a "Standard Operating Procedure" that includes papers, or even a cellphone to call for his relatives, yet there was nothing in his belt bag as someone had probably snatched it in the quarter of an hour or so that as the driver had lay slumped motionless inside his pedicab before the guards arrived to check on him. The guards somehow "did" everything as according to Mr. Chanco himself, as compared to a couple of cops and an MMDA officer on hand and they did all they could -- as passive observers.
The guards had checked the pulse, perform CPR, yet still nothing happened except trying to revive a dead person, while the rest, especially bystanders may looked at the scene or perhaps disregard it entirely as a minor matter to think of. Apathy still prevailed as vehicles had to stop by street kids, calling for help bring an ailing person to a nearest hospital.

But still, despite having sent to Ospital ng Maynila (a hospital somewhat near DLSU) by a fellow pedicab driver, it was too late. "Even a man without a medical degree can understand the first 10 minutes after a heart attack or a seizure can mean the difference between life and death." as what Mr. Chanco said. Worse, no one except he who dare, care to look at the person who was suffering from heart attack, stroke, or seizure "for a second time" as according to one of the relatives crying.
And that kind of apathy would say makes Saint Jean Baptiste De la Salle (pray for them) having facepalm in dismay to see people, especially those who carried his name in a prestigious school, and the community surrounded, those who supposedly mold in the spirit of Christian faith had to become, even for a moment a "good Samaritan" for that unfortunate person such as a pedicab driver; especially those who did gather around the man’s body, which was rapidly turning cold.

Mr. Chanco did a part, but again, the apathy of the rest and late respondence of the guards failed to do so. You may blame the season for that time urges people to act briskly, but in times like these few people can become a good Samaritan out of themselves, rain or shine so to say.

snapshot of the article at Interaksyon (news page of TV5)

In fact, in reading that said writeup somehow lies the fact that life as unfair, that most people, except for a few, had disregard those who had been a part of a community: that includes someone who did have to pedal in vain for hours on end, ferrying St. Scho, Benilde, DLSU, or even UPM, St. Paul, or PWU students to and from the bars and discos around Taft, rain or shine for a few hundred pesos and sustain families in midst of increasing prices of commodities and services in the metro. All but strange that despite trying to inculcate the value of concern, charity, faith, hope, love, everything Christ-like is all but a mere promise written in a piece of paper, the rest goes to the worldly values people had think thoroughly on.

And in reading variety of comments lie those who took concern to the fallen or criticize simply because the one who wrote had to assail his alma mater. Which is to given value on that incident: the person who cries for help to the extent of criticizing his school or the school who, despite inculcating Christian morals had deny the privilege for an ailing man to revive?

Anyways, to sum it all: blaming him for criticizing an institution, especially a prestigious catholic school in the metro is simply because of an unexpected something such as a dying man is a mockery of reality and unexpected situations. Expelling him because of criticism pointing against his alma mater underestimates academic freedom, and disregarding a near dying man to enter and given care, especially in a catholic school breaches christian morality; these are the ideas this writer had think of after reading his writeup being posted and eventually picked up by ABC-5 (sorry TV5, this writer is just nostalgic). And on the first place, we cannot blame him to ask the security guards first than the police nor given first aid for that event was simply unexpected.
Otherwise, Why blaming him for being hyper, Over-Acting, or any kind of shit to describe the person and the writeup given? What did you do anyway? Apathy guised as busy all the time, working just to buy and consume in midst of the crisis?
To sum it all, this writeup is somewhat same as Ms. Jasmin Ado's poem as it goes:

We were taught—
by our parents,
by our teachers,
by our friars,
by our surroundings,
to treat other people
nice and kind

but how?

I am here stuck—
in an air-conditioned classroom,
a few textbooks teaching me
how not to end up
like those putrid
protesters
in the streets
wasting their time
under the scorching heat that
I never even bothered
to look at
from my school window
as my teachers teach us
how to treat other people
nice and kind.

Thinking that most institutions speaks of morality yet in realty they dissuade people from interfering in the issues of the society in a way one person, especially a student like Mr. Chanco had to confine himself in his LaSallian, in his academics, in being uncritically loyal to his alma mater whose patron saint thinks about social justice and preferential options for the poor.

La Salle with his poor students

Come to think of this: 
Jean Baptiste de la Salle believed that education gave hope and opportunity for people to lead better lives of dignity and freedom; for at that time, most children, particularly the poor had little hope for the future. Moved by the plight of the poor who seemed so "far from salvation" either in this world or the next, he determined to put his own talents and advanced education at the service of the children "often left to themselves and badly brought up".
That in a modern-day pretext, it's not just education but everything a Christian should do. Hence, St. La Salle himself may deemed by others as a "Rebel", a "Liberation theologian", or perhaps "subversive" in a way he invited teachers of lower class background, struggling, lacking leadership, purpose, and training to take their meals in his home, as much to teach them table manners as to inspire and instruct them in their work. This crossing of social boundaries was one that his relatives found difficult to bear, and somehow different from those who treat matters, especially those of philanthropy and the like, merely to impress.

But in the end, people simply accept the truth that life is unfair. but the problem is that they can't create certain changes except "for themselves" keeping as if a secret in their successes such as Henry Sy working hard to create his ShoeMart or GoKongWei with his Universal Robina. The issue of rich versus poor also supports that fact, for Marx himself said that history is consists of class struggles.

One can't be a Marxist to acknowledge this, even Nat Tyler, Thomas Muntzer, or even Jean Baptiste de la Salle had acknowledge that unfair fact to make changes against it!

***

By the way, as this writer had read Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" propr to reading that writeup: had people experience being Jean Valjean and Marius Montmercy? That they had to endure criticism at all times, being branded or being scolded for their beliefs? Nope.

For they themselves, no matter how they're educated and having titles, privileges and the like yet all but apathetic in terms of social realities, had unexpectedly, or unconsciously becoming self-gratifying lumpens who brag to the world about "muh achievements." like those of Thenardier who brags about saving Napoleon in the middle of the battlefield, having an inn to take care of, yet maltreats Cosette as its servant doing hard jobs like carrying water from the well and washing clothes despite being a child.

That's all this writer had to say today,
Thank you.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Seems that love is all but...

Seems that love is all but...

(Or how a scredriver-wielding addict had to hostaged himself
after failing to kill his lover and his lover's lover)


It was last afternoon when this writer had read a certain writeup about a man who had hostaged himself because his ex-girlfriend was with another.

With his head fried on drugs, rushed in a convenience store, carrying a screwdriver all filled with rage and threat as he tried to kill his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend and even asking her threateningly which. Of the two must die: his ex or his ex's new man.

Luckily, the girl's new partner escaped death although he got a scrap in the forehead made by the screwdriver. Blood was spilled over the floor while people, including those of the threatened two, had  escaped from the store seeing how desperate the screwdriver-brandished man was just because of a wasted relationship.

Or simply because of the drugs he used all the time that made his girlfriend broke up with him.

As this writer watched the news and read reports, it's all but choosing, or even equating love and death, especially with someone who didn't accept the broke-up had to choose which of the two to be killed, or perhaps even both of them thinking that "fate deserves them to die", especially on his ex-girlfriend's birthday according to the reports.

Only to end up threatening the rest by killing himself especially on the time when policemen came, urging him to surrender and "talk", that somehow for a drug-fried person would make him filled with paranoia as he could.
He tried not to heed their calls, nor didn't surrender, but instead he walked past that somehow turned an opportunity for the authorities to barge through the store's doors and eventually captured him. The suspect feigned dead at first and even trying to resist the authorities in pursuit of escape; and somehow pressed charges after such as attempted homicide and grave threat.

to this writer's view, it seems that fate rather casts its eyes on him rather than to the two whom the once-lover ought to kill both. It is even quite stupid that he, in front of the mass and of the authorities had nearly glorified death by threatening himself, that somehow would end as exaggerated as the red-coloured and bold-fonted headlines such as in "people's tonight".
On the other hand, these kind of events are somewhat a by-product of a person having a possessive nature, a reaction that includes playing with death with after-effects such as guilt that tries to forget. The movie "Segunda Mano" somehow carries the idea of a person whom, after being cheated by his lover, had to kill both his lover and his lover's lover, feeling that both had to suffer eternal damnation (using the killer's perspective of course!).

The good thing was that, his ex-girlfriend's lover had a wound in the forehead rather than his life itself, as well as the couple escaped together along with others as the drug-laced person continues to be driven amok by his ego, or rather say his emotions simoly because he couldn't accept he himself being broke up with his girlfriend (according to her's) or with his possessive persona he can't accept seeing her with another man, hence "they should die altogether" because of a love gone wasted.

In fact, this writer, in watching the report itself somehow sought the suspect's psyche such as a possessive one laced with drugs, thinking that he can't accept wholly the fact that his ex-girlfriend had been dumped him for a nice person simply because of his attitude and even the drugs he usually administer to himself. His attempt for suicide (or having himself kidnapped) was somehow one of its effects as his behavior changes both by drugs, depression, and perhaps ego itself thinking that he should kill them both, as well as himself to justify the means such as "going to hell altogether".

Only to end up being arrested and pressed charges as the reports said so.

Anyways, in that case, it seems that love is all but possession with emotion. That if it turns bad it all meant hell one after another, or perhaps even both just because it had gone conscienceless and egotistical in its actions

...such as playing with death.


Sunday, 23 June 2013

The "Caudillo" as a "Painter"

The "Caudillo" as a "Painter"

Regarding Francisco Franco,
his works of art,
and Spanish culture itself




At first, this writeup deals about Spanish culture and the arts during the regime known for its militant conservatism in the early and middle 20th century.

As according to history books, Francisco Franco, the Caudillo of Spain had governed his country for decades with his anti-leftism and hardline conservatism being emphasised. Critics had looked much about the atrocities laid by his regime against his opponents, ranging from Communists to separatists especially those from Basque Country and Catalonia. All described as making malice that brought Spain into a series of conflict during the 1930s.

However, in this writeup speaks about how Spain dealt with its culture during Franco's regime. It also tackles about the Caudillo's interest in painting as well as its polices that somehow brought abit semblance of "tolerance" during those times. Of course, despite all these there were those who took culture as its weapon against the regime itself, an object of resistance hidden beneath the canvas, words, and gestures trying to evade the censors looking for subversion if not immorality.


Self portrait, by the Caudillo
(Scene from Franco: the man)

The Caudillo as a painter
(and how Spanish art tries to thrive)

In fact, it is quite rare to know how Francisco Franco does Painting for a hobby. That, as people used to looked at him as an iron-fisted dictator knowing all about military strength and honor and a personality full of machismo, Franco somewhat has enough "soft spot" as to recreate himself such as painting if not sailing.

That, as according to an article on the Telegraph, Franco had been encouraged by his friend, Dr. Vicente Gil to paint as means of relaxation from the stressful hours of governing. "He would regularly lock himself in his study after dinner to spend time painting," reveals his eldest grandson who is also called Francisco Franco in an interview with the Telegraph. "He was a great draughtsman. His paintings were not great works of art but showed a quality and realism that is unattainable for most amateurs."

an example of Paintings made by Franco as his recreation.
Well,  like these pictures, most of his paintings also reflected his well-loved preferences such as hunting featuring dogs surrounding a bear and an eagle with its prey. Quite strange at first as this writer, in looking at his artworks would say that he still tends to convey his machismo factor even through the canvas if not for the sailing boat. And since he's a conservative like any other Spaniards of his time, he prefers a neoclassical one as it reflects what for he as "Purely Spanish."

However, some artists, as trying to present Spanish culture, also tries to invoke according to their own perspective. In a way Franco himself emphasise his interests and by using romanticism, others had been using Neo-Baroque for José María Sert, Salvador Dalí and Juan Miró with their surrealism, and others whom trying to replicate those of Goya or engaging in the avant garde.

But despite acknowledging schools that adopted "modern" art like those of Dali and Miró, Franco's preference for a "neoclassical" sort of kitsch meant this:


This artwork, for instance, was created by an anonymous painter reflecting the events surrounding the Spanish Civil War in a Falangist perspective. Obviously, this work somehow a basic example what was adopted during the Franco regime as well as to immortalize the ideals (in a Francoist perspective) what Falange speaks of such as a defender of Christian-Hispanic values rather than its supposed idea such as those of a modernist-leaning one "Old Shirts" (term for original Falangists) preferred of.


So was this in portraying the Caudillo Franco himself as a victorious personality alongside the flag-bearing Falangistas, Requetes, and other conservative-leaning elements fighting "for the sake of restoring order" in Spain. Again, classicism had been encouraged as to idealise the triumphalist aspect of the dictator and his movement as evidenced by the painting itself.


This artwork, made by Carlos Saenz de Tejada tends to romanticize, idealise the death of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera in its allegory. Like any other artwork "encouraged much" by the regime, it utilizes Falangist symbolism and religious iconography, not quite heavily as contrary to those of other artists "also encouraged" such as Dali. 
To a conservative, of course may had preferred Saenz de Tejada than Dali for it reflects the past they've enjoyed for as compared to the abstract-minded Dali, or even the radical-leaning Picasso of the Republican exiles whose artworks tend to show the "truth" behind the regime itself.

As according to Ernesto Giménez Caballero, Falangist and one of known art theorists, Spanish art had ought to serve the system, preferably a folkish, triumphalist one similar to those of Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany.  He even identified the Monastery of El Escorial as "the epitome of all the virtues of Spanish art and a "symbol of what art should be fascist". Caballero's statement may sound those of a conservative, rather than fascistic as to identify Escorial, Alcazar or any edifices made by the Habsburg era as compared to Fascists, such as those imitating the Italian model whose leaning speaks about Rationalism and even Futurism.
However, on the other hand, Eugenio d'Ors, well known writer and art critic, strove to create an artistic environment related to the regime but open and assimilative (Salón de los Once, Academia Breve de Crítica de Arte, 1941-1954)), including those of the avant garde, which increased over time to even be a hallmark of the regime, increasingly interested in showing, both internally and externally, a contemporary image; on the other hand, d'Ors, like Caballero, had also been advocating traditionalist idea especially during his term as "Chief Director for Fine Arts" from 1938 to 1939. And despite acknowledging the avant garde, of modernity in general, he was deeply attuned to the aesthetic of classical art of Greece and Rome, that somehow breaking him away with Modernism through its rejection of individualism and naturalism of modernist aesthetics and favoring sentimentality and spontaneity in artistic creation as well as sterility of traditionalism like as those rooted in rural Catalonia and its folklore.

However, outside Francoist Spain, Spanish art forms had also developed further, given the extraordinary cultural power of the Spanish Republican exiles, to which belonged figures of the stature of Juan Ramón Jiménez, Pablo Picasso, Julio González, Pablo Casals, Luis Buñuel, the architects of GATEPAC, José Ferrater Mora, Zambrano, Américo Castro, Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz, Juan Negrin Blas Cabrera, and many others.

"Guernica" by  Cde. Pablo Picasso
Picasso, a rabid Anti-fascist and member of the Communist Party, is known for his "Guernica" (made in response to the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian air forces, at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces, on 26 April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War.) and "Massacre in Korea" (that was made in opposition to the Korean war); and like any other Spanish Republican Exiles, had also expressed opposition to Franco's rule with the use of art contrary to those of Salvador Dali, whom once proclaimed as an "Anarchist", end supporting Franco's leadership. Also according to PBS, the Caudillo himself, despite being Fascist, had also expressed interest in having the left-oriented Guernica return to Spain as early as 1968.
However, Picasso remained true to his Republican principles as he refused to allow returning his artwork, reflecting his angst over the Fascist through its leader, until the Spanish people again enjoyed a republic. He even later added other conditions, such as the restoration of "public liberties and democratic institutions" that somehow realized as a "constitutional monarchy" under Juan Carlos I.


Luliana
(representing the tree of knolwedge)
"Philosophia ancilla Theologiæ" as the guideline of Spanish education

In regards to his policy involving art and culture, Franco had stressed both religion and nationalism with the latter whose artists even trying to emulate those from Germany and Italy. He also stress the value of national unity with Castile and Leon as its focal point whilst persecuting other minorities like those from Euskalherria (Basque Country) and Catalonia.

In this statement below, Franco showed guidelines in accordance to his conservative-leaning perspective:

"Must be imposed, in addition, the order of culture, the essential ideas that have inspired our Glorious Movement, which combine the purest lessons of universal and Catholic tradition with the demands of modernity (Law of 24 November 1939 foundation of the CSIC). 

1. The National Research Council, as the supreme organ of Spanish high culture, which represent the elements of the most prestigious university academics and technicians enjoying the highest rank in the country's cultural life. This reaches to the pre-eminent position in the social and public manifestations of the national culture and relations with the outside scientific world.

2. The Supreme Council has as its spiritual patron all the glorious company of San Isidro, Archbishop of Seville, which represents the first time our history imperial Spanish culture.

3. The emblem shall, following and adapting the tradition luliana, an arbor scientiae, which represents a pomegranate, whose various branches in Latin, alludes to the scientific events that the Council grows. This emblem will appear on the medals and insignia of the Directors, the "ex libris" (frontispiece) of their magazines and publications and on the seal used in the official sanction of social relations.

—Order of March 8, 1940, 

José Ibáñez Martín
Minister of National Education"

In this statement, it stresses tradition while at the same time trying to present something that is modern for most Spaniards during those times. As evidenced by having St. Isidore (San Isidro) as its patron, it reflects union of church and state and Iuliana as its emblem, reflecting the use of symbols used during the middle ages for scholars and artists of the period.

San Isidro of Seville
Patron of Students, intellectuals
The disciplines or names that should appear in the branches of the tree are also considered controversial, because the tree itself (Iuliana) was already used as an emblem of the Board for Advanced Studies since 1907. But in the Francoist version, Franco simply took prominence over theology, from which other sciences are "slaves" according to the scholastic aphorism "philosophia ancilla theologiæ."

The Caudillo, being a conservative somehow regarded religion and state united with the former being a indisputable part of Spanish culture itself.  As history showed how Friars had served Spanish royalty in keeping the country "abide by Christian morals" for decades, even condemning scientific thought as heretical and contrary to Christian teaching. And with the aphorism "Philosophia ancilla Theologiæ", this may also means persecuting those contrary to conservative, if not Christian, hence un-Hispanic morals, especially those who had been serving in the Republican period that espouses secular thought and reason (even equating them with disorder) while at the same time trying to replicate the glory that was in the past such as those of the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, this time given modern trappings "with the demands of modernity."

And speaking of the Church and Christian teaching and its prominence over scientific thought, lies the clergy that was actively involved in the "National-Catholic" framework that includes the Education sector.

Dominican friar

Significant was the elevation to positions of high influence in the ideological and cultural fields of clerical personalities like Justo Perez de Urbel, Ángel Herrera Oria, leader of the National Catholic Association of Propagandists (was ordained at age 53 and became bishop), José María Albareda (of Opus Dei since 1937) as director of the CSIC, leading philosopher Manuel García Morente; as well as the encouragement of Christian-based philosophies such as Thomist, scholastic, neo-Thomist and neo-scholastic, based on the position before the Vatican Council.

Ejercito del Aire building by Luis Gutiérrez Soto 
(trying to) Replicate the past for the future
through architecture

According to Wikipedia, Spain found herself both politically and economically isolated as a consequence of the Civil war. Other than supporting Fascist regimes in Italy and Germany, the consequent effect of which, in tandem with Franco's preference for "a deadening, nationalistic sort of classical kitsch", was to largely suppress progressive modern architecture which was developing during the second republic.

El Escorial
Made during the regime of Philip II and identified by Ernesto Giménez Caballero
as the symbol of Spanish Fascist Art 
As evidenced by Caballero identifying Spanish art with those of El Escorial, Spanish architecture during the early days of the regime, just like painting, had emphasised those of the Baroque period: hence, reproduced Herrian forms and has been called Neo-Herrerianism by some architects as evidenced by Luis Gutiérrez Soto's Air Ministry and University of Gijon by Luis Moya Blanco, oftentimes equating Neo-Herran with conservatism rather than Fascism due to its features emphasising those of the Past than of the coming future.

Victory arch by Modesto Lopez Otero, Pascual Bravo Sanfeliú,
and sculptors Moses Huerta, Ramon Arregui and Jose Ortells 
Casa Sindical (model) by Cabrero Francisco Torres-Quevedo
 in collaboration with Rafael de Aburto
Aside from emphasising the Escorial and other Neo-Herrenian features, some buildings also resembled Fascist, or Nazi models such as the "Casa Sindical" Union House, home of the "Sindicato Vertical" by Francisco Cabrero; Victory Arch by architects Modesto Lopez Otero, Pascual Bravo Sanfeliú, and sculptors Moses Huerta, Ramon Arregui and Jose Ortells.

front side of "Valle de los Caidos" by architects Pedro Muguruza and Diego Mendez
and sculptor Juan de Avalos 
However, the most ambitious work being done was the "Valle de los Caidos", Valley of the Fallen by architects Pedro Muguruza and Diego Mendez and sculptor Juan de Avalos, in which interred the remains of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera and later Caudillo Franco himself.

But despite Franco's preference for a neoclassicism of the Habsburg kind, Spanish architecture during the Franco period tends to recognize the "Avant Garde" just like Dali and Miro in terms of painting.

Perdido bridge by engineer Eduardo Torroja Miret and Cesar Villalba Granda 
The Perdido bridge for instance, was made in 1939 to 1942 by engineer Eduardo Torroja Miret and Cesar Villalba Granda. Contrary to the neoclassical style had the Caudillo encouraged, used then-modern designs and was built mainly consist of concrete.

Torre de Madrid
So was the Torre de Madrid by Julio Otamendi that was made in 1954 to 1957. The developer, Compañía Inmobiliaria Metropolitana, also created the earlier Edificio España which was made in 1920 (During the regime of King Alfonso). 
Spain, like other European countries, had also experienced creating high-rise buildings, skyscrapers as part of "National development" both during Primo de Rivera and Franco periods with the latter somehow wanted to develop Spain further as it tries to open itself to the west by means of modernizing existing complexes and institutions; somewhat breaking with the idea of neoclassicism in Art and Architecture.

Angels of Peace , of Jose Espinós Alonso , Madrid, 1964.
Sculpture to convey and recall

Like Painting, Spanish sculpture during the regime had been much appropriated to the ideology no matter how "modern" it was depicted. Again, it espouses a triumphalist, if not regalistic appearance such as the equestrian statue of Franco below:

Equestrian statue of Franco by Jose Capuz
Capuz's work was somehow made similar to those of earlier statues featuring horse-riding leaders of long ago. With Franco wearing a uniform and carrying a baton, it invokes himself as victorious, Roman-like, or even Kingly the way he himself presented as "the grace of god" and "glorious leader of the 'national liberation crusade'".

monument of Jose Calvo Sotelo
Otherwise, most of the sculpture encouraged by the regime invoke "in memoriam" of leaders like Jose Calvo Sotelo (right-wing legislator) or Franco's Right-hand successor, Admiral Carrero Blanco who was killed by the Basque separatist group, ETA in the 1970s.

monument to Admiral Carrero Blanco
These edifices, both made in memoriam of Calvo Sotelo and Blanco, were made years after the war (1960s to mid-1970s)  and invokes continuity of the classical forms or academicians, appropriate to the official ideology especially those of conservatism. Alonzo's Angeles de la Paz was made in commemoration of Franco's leadership as "peaceful within 20 years" after the war.

However, there were artists that had conveyed works contrary to the triumphalist nature of the regime. As according to La escultura contemporánea by Valdearcos, the next generation of sculptures had engaged in abstract sculpture such as Pablo Serrano, Eusebio Sempere, Palazuelo, Martín Chirino, Andreu Alfaro. As well as the creation of the Museum of Outdoor Sculpture of Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid, wherein it featured "La Sirena Virada" by Eduardo Chilida.

"La Sirena Virada" by Eduardo Chilida
Monument to Jose Maria Peman, Cadiz

Keeping the folkish spirit through music and literature

As the world had been starting to content in foreign imports such as Jazz from the United States, Spain tends to revisit ages-old spirit, especially those from music and literature after the civil war despite having the bulk of intellectuals been driven into exile made by the conflict with some international celebrities of great weight returned to Spain such as Arturo Duperier, José Ortega y Gasset, and even Salvador Dali who was even criticized for being an "Anarchist" and at the same time supporting Franco himself.

Just like in Education whose emphasis was based on faith as the foundation of all sciences, minimal scientific activity was maintained through the creation of the Institute of Political Studies (1939), CSIC (1939), and the Institute of Hispanic Culture (1946); as well as some areas of relations through social gatherings such at the Café Gijón, and even magazines such as Vértice (1937 to 1946), Escorial (1940 to 1950), Garcilaso-Juventud creadora (1943 to 1946), Espadaña (1944 to 1951), Ínsula (launched 1946), and Cántico (1947 to 1949).
The long, yet slow Spanish postwar recovery during the 1940s and 1950s had created a cultural wasteland within the destroyed, hungry and isolated Spain, exacerbated by repression, passing through the 'purification' of the educational system and cultural institutions, the purges of books, and widespread censorship. Franco's leadership was all meant "putting things into order" that involves strong interference by the religious sector in terms of marriage and education, as well as purging possible subversion that includes culture and the arts.

So much as had been written and is to be found among some novelists, poets and playwrights with their titles: Carmen Laforet with Nada (1945), Dámaso Alonso with Hijos de la ira (Sons of Wrath) (1946); Alfonso Sastre with La mordaza (The Bite) (1954); Luis Martín Santos with Tiempo de silencio (Time of Silence) (1962); and Carlos Barral with Años de penitencia (Years of Penance) (1975).

There were also writers that were closely aligned with the Franco regime such as Antonio Machado, a living symbol of the fratricidal division; Eduardo Marquina, Vicente Risco, Lorenzo Villalonga, Julio Camba, Wenceslao Fernandez Florez, Manuel García Morente, Tomás Borrás, Jacinto Miquelarena, José María de Cossío, the Marqués de Lozoya, Rafael Sánchez Mazas, Víctor de la Serna, José María Pemán (the 'minstrel of the Crusade'), Ernesto Giménez Caballero, Manuel Halcón, Juan Antonio Zunzunegui, Ángel Valbuena Prat, Eugenio Montes, Samuel Ros, Agustín de Foxá, Luis Rosales, José María Gironella, José Luis Castillo-Puche, Emilio Romero) or those who for one reason or another tried a compromise approach, with different reception from the regime (José Martínez Ruiz ('Azorin'), Jacinto Benavente, Ramon Perez de Ayala, Carlos Arniches, bilingual Catalan language-writer Josep Pla, and have been mostly a common destiny in their assessment by subsequent literary criticism; relatively speaking, somewhat similar to the relegation and contempt suffered by intellectuals who supported the European Fascist regimes after their defeat like Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Martin Heidegger, and Ezra Pound.

José María Pemán
José María Pemán, known for its rabid loyalty to the Caudillo, had ensured his professional success during and after the Civil War, yet on the other hand, damaged his international reputation as compared to other writers like José Ortega y Gasset. He even penned lyrics for the Marcha Real, the Spanish National Anthem, that was used from 1939 to 1978.

Marcha Real
(Francoist version by José María Pemán)

Viva España,
alzad los brazos,
hijos del pueblo español,
que vuelve a resurgir.

Gloria a la Patria que supo seguir,
sobre el azul del mar el caminar del sol.

¡Triunfa España!
Los yunques y las ruedas
cantan al compás
del himno de la fe.

Juntos con ellos cantemos de pie
la vida nueva y fuerte del trabajo y paz.

In regards to Spanish music such as during its earlier periods, regional folk music and lore were revitalized through extensive rescue work and collection of Songs and Dances made by the Women's Section of the Falange, as well as individual efforts like the dulzainero Segovia Marazuela Agapito.

Andres Segovia
Guitar virtuosos like Andrés Segovia had even performed many concerts in South America and in Europe from 1930s up to post-war. Easy listening music, on the other hand, was even made more acceptable by the Caudillo, especially during Charity galas and receptions he and his wife being visited, one which examples was the international music sensation Julio Iglesias (who also sung songs in English other than his native tongue).


A mi La Legion!
(one of Spanish movies known as "Cine Cruzada" during the Franco period)
Utilizing Cinema as Propaganda (and counterpropaganda)

According to the writeup "Cine", Spanish cinema was of minor importance before the Civil war although the silent film "La aldea maldita" by Florián Rey reached international fame. However in the 1930s emerged an industry yet mostly dedicated to films "made for consumption" such as those made by Filmófono; but in 1931, with the introduction of sound film nearly crippled the industry to the point of having a single title being released. Both Republicans and "Nationalists" utilize Cinema as an instrument of information and propaganda during the Civil War such as "Subsecretaría de Propaganda del Gobierno de la República" with its "España 1936" or the "Departamento Nacional de Cinematografía" with its documentaries made by the Francoists. Many film-makers as well as artists were driven into exile due to the conflict that waged from 1936 to 1939, and most of them chose to live in exile during the dictatorship.

In Franco's time, Spanish cinema was simply utilised as a myth-making machine to spin stories about the past. In other words, it had became a propaganda tool with the government turned out "Cine Cruzada", or civil-war films, which venerated the Church, the family and the fascist state. It even had to impose obligatory dubbing to highlight directors such as Ignacio F. Iquino, Rafael Gil (Huella de luz (1941)), Juan de Orduña (Locura de amor (1948)), Antonio Román (Los últimos de Filipinas), and José Luis Sáenz de Heredia (Raza)(1942). "Raza" was even made by Franco himself, as Jaime de Andrade.

poster of the movie "Raza" (1941 version)
In the movie "Raza", it tackles about a family whose siblings had different political views prevailing prior to the civil war with Jose, like Franco, had entered the Army while his brother, Pedro, had supported the Republicans as its deputy. Like any other sympathizer to the Francoist cause, Jose chose to join the rebels as he escaped into the Nationalist border where he met his brother-in-law, Captain Echevarria, who feels tempted to desert the Nationalists and cross the lines to meet his wife, Isabel Churruca and his two sons, who are trapped in Republican Bilbao. Prior to his escape, Jose was captured as a result of his activities as a fifth columnist and was sentenced to death, only to survive "by some sort of miracle" and with the help of his loved one, his wounds tended by a doctor that happened to be sympathizing with Franco's cause.

The original film was released in 1941, as Spain, although neutral, had discreetly supported Germany during the second world war. However, in 1950, it was decided to amend the film to make it more presentable "to a different world climate" whilst keeping the Anti-Left message. There script lines were changed and even removed some sequences.
Meanwhile, the edited version, contrary to the original one had to temper Anti-US Criticism, removed references about the Falange, and even changed the title itself as "Espíritu de una Raza" as to prevent equating Francoist Spain with Hitler's Germany. The authorities even tried to destroy all copies of the first version, which ran it being lost. Moreover, they believed in good faith that the movie "Espíritu de una Raza" was "Raza" itself with a different sound.

It would say that Spanish Cinema during Franco had been emphasising trumphalism. Like the move "Raza" and "Los últimos de Filipinas", it stresses the role of the Armed forces, glorifying wars, and revisiting the past that, according to Franco and his retinue "lies Spain's prestige as a global power". After all, the regime itself, claims to be victorious, had to invoke something, a legacy to leave on: "they had won the war, now they needed to win the history."

However, not all directors follow closely to the policies given by the regime. In fact, some Foreign filmakers, using Spain as its subject, rather made films that were favourable to the Republican viewpoint, such as the 1943 version of Ernest Hemingway's novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls," that had been end refused distribution by the authorities. Yet despite facing the sharp scissors of the censors and perhaps warrantless arrests, oppositional film-makers who remained in the country rather used allusion, metaphor and symbolism in an attempt to raise alternative historical accounts of the past.



Conclusion

It's all but strange at first especially how Franco tries to convey Spanish culture and the arts as "Uniquely Spanish".

Ranging from having a Folksy appearance to engaging with the avant-garde, Spanish art tends to thrive as possible the way Franco's regime tries to ensure the survival of his regime. As evidenced by the works of Carlos Saenz de Tejada, it conveys triumphalism yet the world had rather preferred looking over Dali's surreal artworks if not for the exiles whose Picasso's Guernica speaks the truth reflecting the deaths of many due to bombings in a once, quiet Basque town.

However, on the other side, Spain, despite having a degree of modern appearance during those times,  tries to stand firm in its traditions as reflected by its own culture. From preferring a neoclassical kitsch to the use of military power and tradition especially in movies, the country, or perhaps its then Caudillo emphasises order as its topmost priority. At first, it may deemed strange or desperate in today's perspective to recreate a society full of conservative values instead of a revolutionary one in accordance to the ideas of Falange. To think that the radical-minded Hedilla, the supposed Jefe had disagreed most of Franco's views as anathema to the supposed ideas what Primo de Rivera or Ramiro Ledesma advocated.
Sadly for Hedilla and the radicals, that he had faced prison as he opposed the past-mided Caudillo. So were those who deemed as potential opposition that brought others into exile such as those who were loyal to the republic. 

In fact, this writer disagrees with Franco's views especially that he himself had disregarded some of the original goals of the communion he supported like the Falange. His conservatism had turned down land reform, imprisoned the radical Hedilla and others whose ideas as inimical to "Spanish Catholic authoritarianism". Some of the original intentions of Falange had been done such as carrying out National-Syndicalist measures, yet these had given little effect compared to the attempts made in Italy or even Germany those times, primarily just to counter the Soviet Union.

In other words, he had led the war in 1936 primarily to restore order what he used to than to foster change as his ideologues ought for. Franco himself ain't no Falangist in the manner of Hedilla nor Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, but a conservative in the manner of Miguel Primo de Rivera, a maintainer of the status quo and the keeper of the crown. 


***

Thanks Miah Llanes for inspiring this writer to make this.


SOURCES:

http://hispanismo.org/historia-y-antropologia/15088-pinturas-de-saenz-de-tejada-angeles-contra-demonios-en-la-guerra-civil.html
http://agonzalez.web.wesleyan.edu/fist301/excerpts_01.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_and_culture_in_Francoist_Spain
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_art#20th_Century
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Por_el_Imperio_hacia_Dios#Por_el_Imperio_hacia_Dios
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arte_y_cultura_en_el_franquismo
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/8761811/General-Franco-the-accomplished-artist.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2011/mar/29/short-history-spanish-cinema

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Independence Day Ramblings

Independence  Day Ramblings

(Or all after reading Felizardo Pagsanhan's 'July 4 not June 12')


"July 4 is the true Independence Day, not June 12. This can be gleaned from the history book titled “Philippine History and Government, Through the Years,” authored by Francisco M. Zulueta, and Abriel M. Nebres. Let me cite this book as reference in this piece."

These are the words stated by Felizardo M. Pagsanhan in a writeup entitled "July 4, not June 12" in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last June 9, 2013. There he simply disagrees with the date, as he himself witnessed the inauguration of the Philippines’ independence on July 4, 1946. And using an history book as its reference, Mr. Pagsanhan simply deemed what then-President Macapagal's proclamation as "Invalid" as America had occupied the Philippines under the Treaty of Paris.

At first, it's quite nice that Mr. Pagsanhan, like any other wartime survivors and satisfiers during the "peacetime" period had to justify much how their "4th of July" should been celebrated instead of June 12 simply because of its invalidity made by the occupation in 1898, as he said:

"Aguinaldo and the revolutionaries failed to stop the ratification of the Treaty of Paris. The Philippines never achieved independence from Spain, and America owned the Philippines (pages 120 and 330). The Malolos Republic at Barasoain Church was also invalid, because it was established on Jan. 28, 1899, when the Philippines was under American occupation (page 123)."

Otherwise, he's speaking on behalf of post-war nostalgia being a spectator seeing then-President Roxas raising the Philippine flag after McNutt lowering the old glory at Independence Grandstand, Luneta. But come to think of this: All despite Independence there were US-controlled Bases in Clark, Subic, Sangley Point, and others in 1946 same as Party Rights that offered Americans same rights as Filipinos, even stunting further people's aspirations in having the Philippines well-developed just like those of Recto and his proposal for Industrialization. Therefore, what kind of "Independence" the Philippine had if there were meddlesome people trying to dominate political, cultural, and economic affairs of the state?

And despite the fact that Spain ceded the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico to the US for 20 Million US Dollars in 1898, Filipinos tend to defend the gains of their "revolution" erspecially that their new-found ally speaks about democracy and independence, humanity as evidenced by their constitution and way of life. Sadly, their ally had turned traitorous as evidenced by growing number of reinforcements, killing a Filipino who misunderstood English by a certain Greyson, followed by Ilustrados who, desperate for their survival chose to side with the occupiers. There were resistance of course as to defend or regain independence no despite being deemed "Invalid" as Mr. Pagsanhan said in a way Apolinario Mabini, Artemio Ricarte, and others chose to live in exile or advocate independence till their last breath in their deathbeds.
And as the United States of America had "owned the Philippines" and "given civilization" in terms of their modernity, the Filipino people, still imbued with patriotism had to carry on the spirit of freedom by any means including the barrel of the gun as evidenced by Macario Sakay and his ragtag band of long haired Insurrectos trying to resurrect the great idea of the Filipino state in accordance to Bonifacio and his Katipunan; other than using English to impress the colonizer and to counter any racial slander the Filipino's capability to adapt with the signs of the times, all in pursuit of struggle for eventual independence as a nation.

To sum it all, July 4 was all about given recognition the right for independence, June 12 speaks about the Filipinos right to struggle since Independence isn't been given or brought but fought and gain at any cost. Compared to the ceaseless lobbying and negotiations made by Quezon et al and the transition period that was given, the blood of martyrs and works of illustrado and proletryado-born heroes whose call for Independence came from aspirations for Land, Bread, and Justice against exorbitant taxes and corrupt practises from Madre Espana.

Moreover,  June 12 carries the spirit as compared to July 4 which was a product of lobbying and negotiations made by the Ilustrados and its "independence missions", "Filipinization campaigns" and support after WW2 under a transition made under the provisions of Tydings McDuffie act. The spirit of 1898 rather involves blood, sweat, tears, honour and lives advancing the interest of the people such as independence, democracy and better living for most natives who lived on planting rice, sugarcane, working at docks and cigar factories yet repressed due to racial and class repression.
Personally, this writer considers July 4 as “Republic day” for the world had recognized the Philippines as a republic rather than declared independence by the United States in 1946 in a way India declared republic in 1950 despite given independence as a dominion since 1947. It’s all but strange that Mr. Pagsanhan didn’t notice that as his Philippines again regained its “independence” in 1946 with himself as a spectator during its parades the people behind remained close to the aspirations what was left in 1898 regardless of its invalidity by the treaties, occupation and repression, including those of Colonial mentality people nowadays blindly enjoy. Not also thinking that the 1835 constitution borrowed some ideas from the 1899 constitution, in turn made inspired by other constitutions including those of France and of the United States! So why insisting invalidity if those who insist independence in 1946 had recognized the value that was from 1896 and 1898?

Anyways, as according to Guillermo Gomez Rivera, in regards to those nostalgic about July 4, said:

“Philippine independence IS AN ILLUSION. Some want to return the July four date of Filipino independence because the June 12 date does not satisfy them. But as a Filipino I prefer the June 12 independence date. At least it is A FILIPINO ILLUSION. Moreover, to go back to July 4 would be a blatant copy-cat feat on the part of Filipinos. Why do we need to have the same independence date as the Americans who delayed our independence for almost half a century? In all the countries where there is a Philippine embassy or consulate, all the other diplomats will attend the US July 4 reception in the US embassy and ignore the Filipino reception on the same date. Those for July 4 as Philippine Independence date should first ask the US TO MAKE the Philippines a US STATE automatically making all Filipinos American citizens. But so long as Filipinos are not automatically converted first into American or US citizens, to ask for JULY 4 as the Filipino independence date is not only the most supine of stupidities born out of the despicable colonial mentality that afflicts many Filipinos, it is the grave mark of shameless ignorance about Filipino history.”

And through this quotation, this writer somehow would say that it is up to the people which of the two illusions of independence deemed better. Yes, as long as vested interests dominate, then that Independence, freedom, democracy they spoken of is all but an illusion vented to the people, that, like their promises, all but empty handed.

Anyways, why the ceaseless argue? In fact, neither June 12 nor July 4 smacks of independence in a way Mr. Rivera said "it is an Illuson." That despite waving national colours and singing the national anthem, wearing and trying to study Filipiniana are still exploiters who ought to exploit including those who speak sugar coated yet empty handed promises time and again vented such as last May 13. Also to think that Marcos's so-called "Oligarchs" continued to prevail so are shantytowns that remained still despite hidden in edifices of glass and steel, hence disenfranchisement and oppression, carrot and stick, iron fist behind the velvet glove.

But the good thing lies also in Rivera's statement that at least it is a Filipino illusion, and this time trying to realize as people had to combat the serious issues that remained deeply-rooted such as having a semifeudal-semicolonial society and same calls such as land, bread, justice and freedom.

Therefore, because of the same old issues left unnoticed by an apathetic system, the unfinished Revolution continues. And it’s up to the people to continue and relieve the spirit that is, liberative and revolutionary.

Thank you, and to quote what Suzanne Collins said in her work:

"May the odds be in your favor."

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Remembering Santa Ana Park

Remembering Sta. Ana Park\

(or all after reading Jenny Ortuoste's works 
and reminiscing the place he once passed by)





Like any other edifices end up being demolished in the name of "development", this writer quite lamenting in having developers "sacrifice" a well known structure known for its horse racing events in the metro.

Built in 1937 by the Philippine Racing Club, Santa Ana Park was created to counter the Spanish-era San Lazaro Hippodrome owned by the Manila Jockey Club. Obviously, the latter had been an enclave for the old "Hispanic" rich whilst the former had been supported by American and Filipino businessmen with horse racing as one of their interest.

But sadly, San Lazaro Hippodrome had been demolished years ago for a shopping mall owned by SM. So was Santa Ana Park for an Ayala mall.


Prior to its moving and eventual demolition, the said place within the boundaries of Manila and Makati was one of the most recognized edifices made during the American period. It had served jockeys, bettors, and horseracing afficionados, as according to Jenny Ortuoste of Gogirl cafe:

"There are three main structures on the twenty-five hectare property, all in a simple Art Deco style – two grandstands and an office building. There is a single dirt (sand) track surrounded by many stables that, over time, have mushroomed to far more than the area can comfortably hold. Stalls are built right up against the cinder-block walls that line the track."

Well, horse racing those times situated in Manila prior to their moving in its suburbs such as in Cavite while the edifices, again had been demolished to make way for malls, condominiums, and other towers of glass and steel what Makati ought to be.


Admittingly speaking, this writer haven't been in a race track although he had passed by San Lazaro years before. Again, most had been significant that other than the edifices full of "peacetime" legacies the entire lot can become an open park if not for a sports complex instead of a mall or any other commercial establishments some people ought to say "adds ruin than prominence" regardless of its benefit. 
And like any other heritage conservationists, this writer would say that the structure had been well known and thus should been preserved for the sake of culture. Again, it's all but strange that people had reduce heritage to those of Spanish-era houses and churches, yet how about American-era ones whose structures been well known for generations? With fine architectural designs such as art deco or futurism? These somehow reflected "the future" people from the past trying to replicate those times. 

Anyways, like everybody's distaste for History, they disregard heritage, no matter how "modern" and "contemporary" would be for a progress that is, "antiquated." That they even preserved not even the facade such as where the ballroom situated. That according to Ortuoste, "where they had dances for the alta sociedad during the late ‘30s and early ‘40s. That conjured upfor me visions of women with bobbed and marcelled hair, clad in crispbaro at saya whirling in the arms of men in somber suits to tunes played on a victrola." 

"Call me a sentimental fool, but I'll miss the old track" as Ortuoste said as she missed the entire open field with art deco buildings served as a legacy of the past. Some people had even  thinking "If the move to negotiation to sell the Sta. Ana Park had been a little delayed or its demolition had been late, the Old Sta. Ana Park will have remained as a cultural site." 

Yet still, all had been demolished compared to those from Shanghai where the old race track been made into an open park with its buildings became a museum of art. Obviously, people behind its preservation decades before had cared enough for history than demolishing it no matter the background it was as "for the elites".

And since it had been wiped out all for a commercial complex known as "the Circuit" by the Ayalas, perhaps they should had kept the old edifices than wiping it off entirely for the sake of "modernity." 

But again, these profiteers think about prime lots than heritage. No matter how prominent it was...and is.


Anyways, most of the Photos (taken by Alex Alcasid) are from Google, and from the blog Gogirl Cafe.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Baader-Meinhof Ramblings

Baader-Meinhof Ramblings

(or all after watching Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex)



It was half past night when this writer had again watched a German movie all about a group notoriously known for their series of direct actions, all shooked then "West" Germany in the late 60s to mid 70s.

Known by news reports as the "Baader-Meinhof Gruppe", the Rote Armee Fraktion was a small but armed group of young and middle aged "fun, free, and rebellious" intellectuals whom supported National Liberation movements by means of armed struggle. Ranging from sabotage, assassination, and armed robberies throughout Germany "10 minutes", justified as "expropriations" as they took money every bank deemed as supporters of "US imperialism."

Johanna Wokalek (as Gudrun Ensselin)
talking to Vinzenz Kiefer (As Peter-Jürgen Boock) 
Quite Bohemian in regards to their lifestyle as depicted in the movie, especially in a scene where Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader, being "Anti-norm" per se, caters their abode to those whom escaped from the juvenile prisons called "Youth Centres" like Peter-Jürgen Boock. There Gudrun Ensselin (by Johanna Wokalek) had compelled Peter to take a bath alongside her's for "wasting water is prohibited". Quite strange though in modern-day standards to see a scene featuring a man had dip into the bathtub alongside a girl whom happens to be one of the leaders of the impending "revolution". People may deemed as "sexually depicted" on that scene but only to end up merely sort of a chitchat and bathtub sharing.

Police chose to side with the Iranian goons as to stop the protest
It even featured the protests against the Kiesinger-led CDU government, being a US ally and supporter of various dictatorships had brought into the attention as depicted by the action taken in 1967, when the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, had visited West Berlin to attend a performance at the Deutsche Opera. Angered at the Shah's repressive policies in governing Iran, a number of young Germans show up to protest his appearance. The German police, supported by Iranian goons had attacked the protesters and one of them, Benno Ohnesorg, been shot and killed without provocation by Karl-Heinz Kurras.

The death of Ohnesorg somehow triggered criticism against the government as Ulrike Meinhof herself, being Left-wing in her views, used her skill as a Journalist with her articles especially critical of the Pahlavi and the US regime contrary to Axel Springer's Bild with its offices being ransacked by some for the climate that contributed to the assassination attempt on activist Rudi Dutschke by Joseph Bachmann in 1968 with popular catchphrase in left-wing circles sympathetic to student radicalism was "Bild hat mitgeschossen!" ("Bild shot at him too!") and "Springer, Morderer!" (Springer, Murderer!).

Dresden! Hiroshima! Vietnam!
(invoking anger towards a conservative-leaning paper)
Well, the events made the possibility of taking the gun as accepted and bank robberies as justified during those times- liberation was their call despite its inclinations different from the typical revolutionaries of those time, taking action seriously through the deed than to invoke people the call for revolution by organizing and mobilization. Other than the bohemian lifestyle taken as to counter the "standards" of "modern-day" living.

Scene depicting protest during the visit of Reza Shah Pahlavi at Berlin
Anyways, the so-called "fun, free, rebellious" attitude, being a reaction from the prevailing social order,  had  happened not just in Germany but in the entire Europe during the Cold War. As the Kiesinger-CDU government had been criticized by the left because of its policies, resulting to various means of protests led by the youth, were only to be replaced by Willy Brandt's ministership alongside the center-left SPD with promises of "Democracy" and reversal of policies made by the Conservative-leaning Kiesinger.
However, despite lessening tensions, it had rose those who constantly against the system itself-such as the RAF and others like the SPK Sozialistisches Patientenkollektiv (Socialist Patient's Collective), RZ Revolutionäre Zellen (Revolutionary Cells), and the Anarchist-leaning Bewegung 2. Juni (Movement 2 June).

Obviously, RAF had been leading as it was been depicted as bank robbers, kidnappers and even hijackers as what Ensslin said:

"They'll kill us all. You know what kind of pigs we're up against. This is the Auschwitz generation. You can't argue with people who made Auschwitz. They have weapons and we haven't. We must arm ourselves!"

As to set a bomb in a Department Store as a direct protest against rampant Consumerism.

Partisan warfare depicted
Anyways, it's all but entertaining and informative in general as the scenes reflected revolutionary fervor of the 60s and 70s. When National Liberation movements in Palestine, Indochina and the Philippines provided inspiration for both American and European radicals in resisting their respective systems to the extent of taking up the oil bomb and the gun. Bohemian lifestyles, beaches for Nudists, anti-consumerism, supporting Ho Chi Minh and solidarity with Palestine brought these altogether in a movie that invokes not just Tarantinoesque action but a depiction on how made these events happen.

As according to movie critics made last 2008 and 2009:

"When the film opened in Germany last year, some younger viewers came out of theaters crestfallen that the Red Army Faction members, still mythologized, were such dead-enders. Some who were older complained that the film had made the gang look too attractive. But they were dead-enders, and they were attractive. A film about them, or any other popular terrorist movement, has to account for both facts if it seeks to explain not just their crimes but also their existence."
— Fred Kaplan, The New York Times.

“Aust’s film has been criticized in Germany and Israel for making terrorist thuggery too glamorous. But in order to capture Baader-Meinhof accurately, the film needs to convey its appeal at the time. From mental patients to left-wing ideologues, from rebellious teens to sexually frustrated professionals, the gang’s members captivated many Germans with derring-do and self-conscious theatricality.”
— Fred Seigel

Bombing of a police station being shown
Well, admittingly speaking, it's quite too late to write a review-commentary despite watching that movie 4 years ago and revisited last Friday. As this writer, being an Activist would say that Germany, like any other countries in Europe, even Franco's Spain had enough radicals carrying various means of action. Of course, most had chose rallies and strikes, making writeups and various critiques, but people like Gudrun Ensslin, Andreas Baader chose a different one as to invoke the angst of the people. Ulrike Meinhof had somehow sympathized with the protest movement and their actions, whose succeeding events had took armed struggle against the system and the United States, as according to Meinhof:

“If you throw one stone, it’s a punishable offence. If 1,000 stones are thrown, it’s political action. If you set a car on fire, it’s a punishable offence. If hundreds of cars are set on fire, it’s political action. Protest is when I say I don’t agree with something. Resistance is when I ensure that things with which I disagree no longer take place.”

Well, for Meinhof as a Journalist would say that she sought the idea what people urges them to revolt because of a system that values "unity" and "freedom" had to support an aggressor against a country that struggles with the same idea Germany had. She may had value at first the use of the pen over the gun in invoking struggles, and yet as time goes by, in acknowledging the means itself had to "support the pen with the gun" as one of the familiar faces of the group itself, hence "Baader-Meinhof" aside from "Rote Armee Fraktion".

For sure nowadays it would be deemed as "strange", "subversive", "terroristic" to act according to their own perspective especially being a Journalist,  especially on how people had chose to take arms and risk their lives for the sake of their aspirations. That, in the name of "Objectivity" one ought not to be biased to the ideas one or another; yet the actions taken by Salvador Lopez and Marjohara Tucay, being writers had chose to break the norm as they themselves, human have the right to criticize in response to the truths been unveiled- to think that Tucay, then a writer at the Philippine Collegian (newspaper of the University of the Philippines) had disrupted a forum attended by Mrs. Hillary Clinton years ago because of the actions taken by the United States in the Middle East and the Philippines as Renato Reyes said:

"I do believe Marjohara Tucay’s intent was not simply to disrupt Clinton’s speech or disrespect the forum organizers (though that may have certainly been the effect). The protester had a message he wanted to convey and the occasion proved to be the best time to air it. And the message was a valid one. It was about US and Philippine relations, the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement."

Well, Tucay's actions are different those of Meinhof's despite somewhat sharing views in regards to anti-imperialism as well as their profession as writers. Tucay did took the use of direct action in the form of raising the streamer and chanting anti-US slogans while Meinhof had chose to take the pen as a writer and commentator venting her views prior to becoming one of RAF's known personality. 
Sadly, like Rudi Dutschke and the entire protest movement, they had been demonized by papers and certain media personalities just because of their beliefs in a way what Axel Springer did. Not wondering why people on the other side had took time demonizing and equating the unarmed to the armed just because of their beliefs like "class struggle" and "revolution."

Anyways, if tensions continue to persist, expect a new wave of Meinhofs, Ensselins, Baaders and others, intellectuals per se willing to take the risk as to sacrifice fame in the name of protest.

And it's not their fault why there's a bomb being exploded or a notorious official being killed, just because of the events that made it do so. 


For Miah Llanes and Jeanne Diwata (she looks like Gudrun Ensslin and Joanna Wokalek)