Monday, 26 January 2015

The parable of the Good Montonero

The Parable of the Good Montonero


It was long ago when a poor, faraway Village named San Clemente was ravaged by a typhoon. There, many houses were destroyed, most lives were killed, and its survivors left suffering, desperately trying to recover from the tragedy made by the wind, rain, and storm.

 They even have to visit the village's higher official, known as the Cabeza, pleading for aid as much a possible that made the latter promised to curry favor with the higher officials of the land:
"I promise to myself that I have to go out and seek favor with higher officials just to gain funds and buy whatever means to sustain ourselves and recover this tragedy-stricken village. We have less funds, less supplies, but I am trying my best to help you as I could. I hope god will provide us guidance."

And before he left, an old lady apprached him, gave a benediction, and said:
"May god be with you."
The Cabeza then ordered the old lady to act as an acting Cabeza and to provide needs coming from the remaining supplies stored in the Cabeza's bodega. And left, leaving his suffering people with a promise. 

After a long journey from the village, the Cabeza went to a town. There bustling with carriages, people roaming at the markets and as if nothing tragic happened, the village chieftain, with a promise to keep, then visit the house where the Gobernadorcillo both worked and lived. 

Inside the Gobernadorcillo's house was full of fine paintings and sculpture, for a lowly chieftain he do have paintings hanging, an attendant then approached him, and said:
"Whom are you seeking for Señor?"
And the Cabeza announced himself:
"I am the Cabeza from the village of San Clemente. And I am looking for the Gobernadorcillo."
"He's at the office." The attendant said.


At the office, the Cabeza met the Gobernadorcillo. He seemed to be richer, being the head of a bustling town, and having a bustling town means more taxes to collect. The Cabesa even thinks that he, as an higher official would likely to provide them aid with all the needs a rich and religious man can provide basing much on the picture of the blessed virgin adorned with flowers and lit with candles, and he tried to ask for aid:
 "Señor Gobernadorcillo, we need your aid in rebuilding the village of San Clemente, it was ravaged by the typhoon few days ago. Many people still homeless, hungry, sick, suffering. And we need at least enough funds in order the residents provide relief as well as materials for their homes." 

However, the Gobernadorcillo, disturbed from his work rather than concerned from what the lowly chieftain said, simply replied with arrogance: 
"Why not accept your fate that your town is where typhoons used to pass by? We heard the news about your San Clemente days ago! You should be lucky that most of you are alive, but I'm sorry to provide you just a bag of gold, forthat's what all I have to give for you!"

The Cabeza did get a bag, yet inside was just a half-full of gold coins not enough for his village's relief nor to rebuild houses; and the Gobernadorcillo said: 
"If you want aid, then why not ask the Alcalde Mayor, or the Friars, or why not let your people do the job of building themselves the way they build roads for us?" 


The Cabeza, embittered by the higher official's reaction, simply left the house carrying the bag of coins the Gobernadorcillo had given. He then went to a much distant yet bigger town, where the Alcalde Mayor administers as its higher official. 

However, despite approving his permission to enter his office, he sought the Alcalde Mayor busy in his papaerworks with a facial expression telling not to be disturbed. The Cabeza did asked for a permission just to curry favor as what he said earlier, but the Alcalde Mayor, happened to be supportive of the Cabeza's rival, arrogantly replied: 
"You are just a lowly Cabeza and I am supported by the Governor General, it is your problem not I to ensure the needs of the people!"
 "But..." The Cabeza said.
"Shhhh!" The Alcalde Mayor said. "take this bag of silver and go away, for I'm busy doing my work!"

Like what the Gobernadorcillo did to him, the Cabeza felt embittered by the Alcalde Mayor's arrogant reaction.


 The Cabeza then took another long journey, he passed the woods, trying to evade the highwaymen, and eventually came to the palace-monastery where he plead to enter but almost not by the guards due to his shabby appearance; he then sought and called a Friar inside for help: 
"Father! Father! I am the Cabeza from the village of San Clemente and I seek help!"
The Friar sought him, and ordered the guards to let him pass by. The Friar did apologise for the matter, and asked:
"What brings you here in the palace-monastery?"
"I am seeking for help, but at first, I am hungry." The Cabeza said.

At the kitchen he was fed, one of the rooms there he was rested, given clothes, and advised that he be presented to the Governor General who was at his office with the friars waiting for him. 

At the Governor-General's office, the Governor General at first apologised to the Cabeza for almost not letting go inside the palace-monastery:
 "They thought you're like an ordinary peasant entering the monastery, sorry for almost expelling you by the guards."
 Then a friar approached him, pat his shoulder, and asked:
"What brings you here?"
"I came from the village of San Clemente." The Cabeza said. "I came here in your good office seeking your assistance in rebuilding the typhoon-ravaged village. I did curry favours yet not enough to ensure the needs of those whom are affected by the sudden wind and rain; many had died, most end sick and homeless, we need your assistance in the spirit of your mercy and compassion."
"Hm...sounds reasonable." The Governor General said. "Besides me, whom did you visit for your cause?"
"The Gobernadorcillo and the Alcalde Mayor." The Cabeza said. "But the Gobernadorcillo suggested me to bring this issue here, they give me financial aid, but not enough."

After a long talk, the Friar gave him a rosary and advised to pray not for another rain to come:
 "here, take the rosary, pray a dozen "our fathers" and "hail Mary's" so that you  and your village will be saved from the typhoon." 
And the Governor General? Other than giving him a bag of gold coins, still half-full like the others, even chided him: 
"Again, sorry for almost expelling you by the guards least you had been fed and rested in one of my rooms; and as for the typhoon that swept the village few days ago? At least that most of you didn't die right? Pardon my words Cabeza, but I prayed that the aid given to you is enough for your needs."

But Instead of getting his burden lightened, the Cabeza's expression was all but stressful, for the support given to him by the officials and the friars was not enough to call it relief, aid, welfare to uplift the needy villagers in a still typhoon-swept community. 


And as the Cabeza reached his village after his days-long journey, people awaited to see him, others were trying to rebuild their homes with wood scavenged from the forests, and some burying their dead in the open pits. The same old woman whom gave him a benediction then approached him in the Cabeza's house, and asked: 
"are the officals come to help us?"
 "No," the Cabeza said. "But they provide us few bags of coins, but I am sorry of it is not enough to call it a relief the way our bodega's stocks not enough to sustain our needs. Perhaps, we have to work on ourselves instead, and I'll tell my men to use the funds to buy anything for our relief, as well as for materials as long as it fits."
The Old woman simply nod on what the Cabeza said to her, and said:
"At least you have tried Señor Cabeza, as much as possible those funds must be use to buy our food, as well as materials to build our homes." 

Few days after, as people still trying to rebuild their lives piece by piece from the funds given from the higher officials, a band of Montoneros, carrying guns, goods, and on horseback, came to see the entire place still ravaged. 


At first, people felt so scared at them since these Montoneros are rebels fighting against the ruling order, oftentimes being called as forest or mountain bandits attacking the roads looting what comes from the journeying rich; the guards couldn't even raise their guns as these rebels quite many. The Cabeza then came to meet them in the road, and said:
"We terribly sorry, we can't give you anything because of the typhoon that ravaged this community. Our crops being destroyed by the sudden wind and rain, so are the houses. Most lives were killed, all of us here are suffering; kill us if you want, but we can't give you what you insist."
Then the leader of the Montoneros replied: 
"We're here to help better than those who had afforded to make fools out of you. We may've been called bandits by the order, but to those whom are in need we can give what we have. Pardon our mistake of carrying our guns, but we came here to provide food and assistance to those whom are in need including help to rebuild your homes, make food, tending the sick, and bury the dead." 

And he ordered the rest to help the people in rebuilding their homes, giving them food, tending the sick, and bury the dead; the Cabeza, as well as the people, and even the guards felt surprised, even delighted on what the rebels did, and said:
"I don't know how to say señor besides thank you."
"No need to say thanks Cabeza," the Montonero said, "This place is usually passed by the strong wind, rain, and storm, but this place should not be left behind. Isn't it supposed to be a priority of the government to help the victims? How come there are no people, besides you directly helping?"
"They gave us funds," the Cabeza said. "But not enough to sustain our needs. Some of them even mocked us and vent their arrogance, why on earth these people whom supposed to help one another are not really helping?" 
"The fields are meant to be for your people, for their happiness," the Montonero said as he looked at the ravaged farms and houses. "You should even know being the Cabeza that these people are making fools and leaving you behind. Your people till, reap every wheat yet they can't even feed themselves full as most of these are being used as tribute, tithe, or tax that benefits the officials and the oligarchs in this forsaken country."
"I don't know señor," the Cabeza said, "I'm just an official in this community, and I just tried to curry favor to those whom likely to give something for us. But instead, a few bags, promises, even foolish remarks."
"Forget them," the Montonero said, "what is important is to see your village back in its own feet. If they can't provide you much then it is better to roll up your sleeve and work together. They provide you few bags of gold and silver coins, yet this town is rich with resources to sustain your needs. We the Montoneros are here to serve the people, and if the Governor General and his officials fail to provide what is needed, we are here to help and struggle with you."
The Cabeza simply nod on what the Montonero said to him, and said:
"Thank you, but how can we repay your deed of helping us?"
"You need not to repay señor, but instead their actions create a shining path for the coming revolution." the Montonero said as he opened a pack of cigarettes. He also offered some to the Cabeza, and said:
"Here, take some cigarette, it would stop from making you worried."

And the Cabeza took one stick of cigarette from the Montonero, lit, and puffed as his village being rebuild with the help of  those the system called "bandits".