Wednesday, 30 September 2015

"One last message for this month"

"One last message for this month"

(Or a post-Heneral Luna message 
to those willing patriots of today)

This person knows that most people felt a renewed sense of patriotism especially after watching Heneral Luna.

 With all the comments, memes, quotes specifically pointing against modern day Paternos, Buencaminos, as well as culprits feigning innocence like Aguinaldo, it seems that todays people felt sense of dismay, hatred against an incompetent system repressing its own kind as well as willing to be submitted to someone else's wishes as if can guarantee "protection" or provide "development" no matter it is deemed fraudulent if not illusory as it was in the past.

This person, like those whom are concerned, knows that most people may felt dismayed if not offended for saying that the country needs to deemphasise its ties on those who exploit and repress everyone, be it the Americans, Chinese, even the system that controlled the Philippines for centuries that keeps the nation backward and dependent amidst its showcase of pride both in places, resources, and even heroes whose messages end diluted. Why offend? Is it because those countries like the United States has given bette education, development, anything that even a Filipino can make it better on its own? So much for benevolent assimilation in having a generation of mendicants yearning for economic aid and second hand trash if not series of loans that at the same time complaining as most of the national budget has been allocated to debt servicing if not in one's purse or pocket. And perhaps only few who has benefited from American-style education and culture who able to insist that the Philippines should be on its own way.

Maybe these few are like those of Luna and others who seriously adhere to preserving independence, that they are willing to give a damn just to assert the goal of breaking away from its "cherished contentments", such as keeping firm on its vested interests to the extent of giving up people's aspirations as done by his fellow Ilustrados in his time; and also willing to jump into the abyss, struggle in raging against the dying of the light the nation has carried for generations. For sure everyone has sought modern day Aguinaldos, Paternos, Buencaminos, Mascardos, and Janolinos underestimating and making hell out of today's Lunas, Sakays, Bonifacios, Nakpils, and Bernals just to keep firm in their interests. The latter needs everyone's help to so as overcome their adversaries' stupidity and assert further the aspirations that has long fought for its realisation.

Sorry for the sketch but people knows that the lunatic, the so-called "General Articulo Uno" would have expressed the vulgar expression as what everybody says (such as that dirty finger Luna's showing in that drawing), especially towards the still rotten system and the order that has been perpetuated. 

And maybe a reason enough to make hell out of them. Inconveniently true isn't it? 

That's all for now. ¡Adelante Compatriotas, Hasta la Muerte!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

To the groom of death

"To the Groom of Death"

A poem Inspired by the movie Heneral Luna 
and the song "Novio de la Muerte"

All was but tragic after Kabanatuan
As you are being killed not by white-skinned foes 
But by your compatriots fueled by discontent
If not loyal by clique of traitors
Tired of seeing a "crazed lunatic" screaming out of truth and justice
That you wished freedom and independence finds appealing
Amidst calls for assimilation the prominent sees it good than fraud
That as if for the sake of peace and plenty
If not tired for blood and fire from places so many

All was but tragic at Kabanatuan
To see blood stained bolos
If not heated barrels in their revolvers and mausers 
Coming from the disgtuntled men in rayadillos and khakis
All loyal to a once-Kapitan del Barrio Synonymous with power
The affluent yet traitorous has rejoiced over your death
Hidden in their silence as your coffin marches on its way
While the patriotic yet silent sees the coming dismay:
"He is dead, the revolution is dead" as what it say

And days passed lies all but defeat
Minor victories not enough for days tragic as people weep
Of seeing houses burned and everyone to concentration camps
If not brutally raped or murdered in the name of the flag
Of a country once synonymous with freedom
The empire of liberty has devoured its children
That until today justice clamoured from its victims
While the traitors embraced a sugar coated fraud 
Enough to keep their interests firm with different names and moves

Strange those times for a nation trying to live
As the "benevolent" foe from the west marches in its way
Passing from trenches and mountains
Underestimating the struggle as barbaric brigands
To be educated by schoolbooks and krags
Of what were the three hundred thirty three years of bondage
The Hispanists called as a legacy of civilisation and ripe for independence
To be disregarded by the star sprangled gringos 
Whose slander is called benevolent exploitation?

Well, since war was his mistress from Manila to Kalookan, 
Lady death was his bride as he swore fighting till end in Kabantuan
As he told to the world must jump into the dark abyss 
Disregarding life for freedom amidst crisis
Willing to stay in hell tormenting foes such gore
So as for his country to live in paradise 
All is but silent in Kabanatuan
Waiting for an unlikely fate such as a bloodied flag 
Soiled by its foe's boots until night. 

And I am praying that freedom comes
Over apathies, anything unenlight
For my prayers were also once his
And others who died in the endless fight
They all married to death
If not war as its mistress
As they jumped into the dark abyss
For they knew their fates has been set
Just to bring freedom for a long suffering nation's bliss

Monday, 28 September 2015

An upsurge of "patriotism?"

An upsurge of "Patriotism?"

Notes after people taking interest in history
After watching Jerold Tarog's "Heneral Luna"

By Lualhati Madlangawa Guererro 

It's been days passed as Jerold Tarog's Heneral Luna has been shown in cinemas around the country, and in it lies hundreds, if not thousands of individuals becoming "patriots" if not "nationalists" overnight after seeing a movie about a hero whose love for country costs his life, worse, from a fellow Filipino or rather say, from a fellow Ilustrado.

At first, it deemed strange as this person knows that in the middle of continuous Yankee-isation of the Filipino mind, of favouring selling one's patrimony to vested interests, it seems that the movie has almost changed everyone's minds, if not swaying away from the typical chick flicks commonly shown both in movies and in TV. That through comments on social media sites, isn't it that amazing for a patriot to see an upsurge of patriotism over those of consumeristic fantasies that is commonly peddled in Television and in the Internet? How amazing.

However as the trend continues, this person also thinks that despite these "upsurge" does it also mean these people watching and commenting in social media sites "serious" in being patriotic citing Jerold Tarog's movie as its reference? Or simply just joining the bandwagon all after watching Rayadillo-clad men raising the battle standard if not well-known artists venting the human side of textbook demigods? Are they willing to lessen their usual Yankee-ness, Pseudo-Korean fantasies and the like, and instead harnessing their acquired skill and knowledge for the betterment of their Compatriots? Well, this person, like the others concerned, knows that certain Filipinos are actually Filipinos out of convenience if not easy to give up their own country all for "greener pastures" as they equate their homeland with those of poverty and despair. A few of those who left for developed countries maybe trying to resuscitate their patriotic fervor as they recall their origins, as others unjustly threw their origins altogether and simply "move on" as if everything as irrelevant in favour of a new life abroad.

But on the other hand, certain Filipinos at home has forgotten its own history especially those of its revolutionary heritage; maybe because with fads such as those of a distorted interpretation of "moving on", studying history has nothing to do with themselves, irrelevant besides part of one's schooling like any other subject like Mathematics and English. Yet with the "Heneral Luna" fad, these same people eventually put questions if not laughing every scene, particularly those of Epy Quizon's role as Apolinario Mabini doing nothing except sitting down and telling Aguinaldo (played by Mon Confiado) if he can able to "catch the wind" or drinking brandy with Felipe Buencamino and Pedro Paterno. 
Sorry to say this, but are these people ridiculing (rather than questioning the person or the scene) didn't know that Apolinario Mabini was the well-known "Sublime Paralytic" working hard for his country despite afflicted by Polio? Perhaps these people whom are just disregarding history for chrissakes reminds of those who listen to rumours about Mabini striken with Syphilis (according to his enemies) and mistaken for a whole truth! Quite worrying to some including yours truly, to think how existing educational policies if not the intentional apathy of most people resulted to such questions people may deem it as unworthy of a question and instead criticisisable because of its statement.

Well, despite all these problems be it those of shallowness and really existing apathies, it is the duty of Filipinos to educate people in spirit of rekindling heritage and reencountering one's identity as a Filipino. True that it is easier to malign them for being stupid rather than ignorant after seeing such ridiculous "questions", of disregarding their heritage in favour of today's shallowness commonly featured in Television and in Social Media. But also come to think that this person finds it amazing, especially in watching every scene enough to make everyone applause, of "becoming historians overnight" after watching that movie with all its cast, storyline, as well as cinematography, compared to the past ones that were as if these viewers were compelled by their teachers to watch: like Romnick Sarmenta's "Tirad Pass", Robin Padilla's "Alab ng Lahi", or even Jorge Estregan's "El Presidente" that made everyone even question Aguinaldo as a leader, a revolutionary, or even as a person driven by power. 
Sadly, "Heneral Luna" is not even encouraged by the Education Department compared to those earlier movies stated, while the Board of Censors rather gave the movie rated "R-13" that limits viewers to 13 years of age and above, that somehow one would ask "of what is enlightening the children then if the Education Department did not encourage watching Jerold Tarog's work?" In fact, that movie, despite its political incorrectness featured (foul language et al.) as well as graphically bloody scenes, is ideally for all audiences given its call for rekindling patriotic consciousness! 

A scene inspired from Juan Luna's Spoliarium
(Via Facebook)
Anyways, admittingly speaking, it would take years for everyone to be educated, and be inspired by the lessons of the past in order to rekindle their almost forgotten Filipinoness. If not mistaken, Imelda Marcos was right to say that culture has to be cultivated in pursuit of making the "New Filipino" regardless of its mediums knowing that in their respective work lies the intention of instilling a cherished value, the so-called force that makes a nation great and lasting as what today's "Heneral Luna" tends to invoke. 

Hope that the quest for reviving one's patriotism via today's "upsurge" of having most taking history for an interesting topic is more than just a trend, for the really concerned knows that anything has been treated like any other fad, and after these series of patriotic fervor that has been tempered with words be it those of "love" and "forever" these past few months, everyone will return to their frustrated illusions such as what commonly shown on their idiot screens. 

That's all for now. ¡Adelante Compatriotas!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The desire for a "true new society"

The desire for a "true new society"

Sweet roses of the revolution
Your fragrance is in the land
You smell blood and ashes
You bloomed out of tears
You inspired Bonifacio's unfinished song
Now the youth hums to finish it
Youths have fallen in the night
'Cause your petals thirst for their blood in the morning
The rich are laughing in their penthouses
The poor are dying in their huts
The cold night bubbles with pop songs
The poor baby's cry is filtered in the air
The innocent cries behind prison bars
While the rich desecrate the laws of the land

The politicians bark: reformation
The youth cries: Revolution!

- Fedrico Pastibe Pobre

The fundamental historical change that has been idealised and promised through the ages has been likely deemed rhetorical if not a series of half-hearted, or even half-baked series of reforms and programs, much more likely a politics of personality than what they called as politics of principle. 

Since the colonial era to present day, from the Barangays to the present governmental structure, from the Cabezas de Barangay and Gobernadorcillos to the town mayors and presidents of the "republic", same old personalistic orientations continue to thrive, although trying to temper with those of principle. However, the difference lies in its sense, its view: for the former tends to be collectivistic in character, yet eventually becoming individualistic as the established order tries to disintegrate collective power as it deemphasise in favour of unbridled individualism with emphasis on "just personal initiative". Good to hear about the emphasis, but it has becoming am alibi for the system to disregard its duties especially in dispensing justice, amidst promises catering to the common man. The system was democratic in form according to its fundamental laws and other related decrees, yet autocratic in its essence with all its interests emphasised.

And though wielded by a majority according to what people think of from elections to those of "people power", its political power remains wielded in the hands of the few, hence, likely to have popular aspirations be half-hearted especially those of a moral imperative to transform society in order to eradicate poverty, redistribute wealth, and genuinely achieve social justice. Worse, these few shrugging off the fundamental problem in favour of a just character revisiting with phrases like "man is the problem not the society", that personal ignorance is the issue and not the actually existing socioeconomic crisis that brought people into poverty such as those from Negros region decades ago with Landlords like Hortensia Starke asserting such belief in pursuit of opposing Agrarian Reform and its related provisions.

But regardless of what the few insisted as just, what everybody sees is that these few aggravates an age old problem hidden beneath state of the art entirety the society has offered. Age old in a sense that everybody saw farms depending on centuries-old agriculture and fisheries, worse, threatened by corporate farming and fishing thanks to landlords having titles, stocks, even positions in both civil and corporate affairs. And in that case for an example, justice has been diluted, negated, overturned in favour of interests with apologists asserting their so-called inherent rights that includes undermining the common good. Such assertions provoked protests that led to bloodshed in case of Escalante, Mendiola, Lupao, amd Hacienda Luisita wherein Land and Justice as its call, of what those aspirations if power remains under those of the "privileged" few as it was in the past?  

Sometimes, it seems that the late Ninoy Aquino, via his Asiaweek article, was right to say that the Philippines is a frustrated individualistic society while its neighbours really cling to its communitarian traditions, or as what he says, command societies  with roots on filial piety and strong leaders. The Philippines is supposed to be communitarian one given from its pre-Hispanic past and centuries-old traditions from the provinces. And in it, leaders like Marcos and his successors did tried to create a semblance of communitarian spirit, that the country of his was as similar to Franco's "Una, Grande, y Libre" with Marcos's own "One nation, One spirit"; that Ramos tried with his "Moral Recovery" and Noynoy Aquino with his "Righteous Path", but despite all the slogans, rhetoric, and state-spomsored frustrations, the prevailing colonial mindset that has tolerated for decades and the intentional miseducation by the system itself has really cultivated in the minds of the majority that somehow reduced that communitarian spirit to those shown to tourists while favouring a frustrated individualistic one benefiting the rich. Therefore, of what are those frustrations to bring back time old descriptions of the Filipino society if at the same time cultivating those of the repressive west? 

From a poster made by Cornelis Koekkoek

Well, what people simply wanted is a governance, as well as a society that really fosters, cultivates a collective political culture: a communitarian oriented rather than populist, social rather than individualist, and national instead of depending on the dictates of other countries and its domestic stooges. It may deem idealistic due to its description and it requires seeking truth from facts and remolding for a true character, but to think that having a corrupt society really made its victims demanding such profound aspirations to have a free, social, then why not? Even the bureaucrats concerned desired and provide important remarks that no democracy can be authentic if it is the captive of the system, particularly of the oligarchs and international finance capital, whose interests are at cross purposes with those of the majority. That democracy has to deal with the aspirations of the people, therefore must evolve, develop, and refine into suitable to its clamour, of today's "national purpose."
After all, in a developing country, the state, via its "actually existing responsible" government, should be really acting, managing the historical process alongside the people. The revolution what people demanded is not just peace, land, and bread alone, but also to mitigate, if not eliminate poverty, social injustice, ignorance, and other socio-economic problems and at the same time the need to transform underdeveloped or developing communities into self sufficient, adequate communities whose material and spiritual wealth are woven to create a healthy living whole. That ideal future simply demands popular participation, especially when it comes to decisions that affects the lives of millions, of those who desire for land reform and full employment, of agricultural self sufficiency and self reliance in industry, of safeguarding national freedom and adhere to social justice. Of what is Lenin's decree on land, of Castro's agrarian reform if it is not approved by the people? Of what were the efforts of industrialising Korea and China if not the goal of asserting independence? 

Those who trying to protect their interest tends to oppose it, worse, they have no alternatives to offer besides preserving the backward order of things in the guise of "individual initiative" and nothing else.

From the Philippine Collegian

That somehow intensifies the situation, no wonder the social volcano continues to have its magma boil,  that the revolt of the poor remains unfinished. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Smoke over the south: Notes after incidents against struggling Lumads and its clamour for Justice

Smoke over the south:
Notes after incidents against struggling Lumads 
and its clamour for Justice 

The smoke of battle remains uncleared in the southern front. Despite the recent statements from local government units, national police, armed forces, and even the common men in social media sites, there remains to be seen long range solutions to a problem which has not only rocked the region for decades but negates present and even future agreements between the government and the affected people, if not the insurgents who had also fighting against exploitation and injustice.

The Problems must be solved side by side by those concerning within the national government  as well as organisations seriously committed to the welfare of the people; but first is the dismantlement of paramitlitary groups whose intention is to pread havoc in the name of national security given its support from the government: such as Bagani, Magahat, Alamara, Alimaong Tribal Justice, and various groups making victims out of those against exploitaiton of natural resources and infringing indigenous peoples rights. And second, the ultimate problem is to settle the land reform issue, as well as the genuine right of self determination for indigenous peoples particularly those of Lumad tribespeople.

For the fact that recent events such as those of ALCADEV incident, and the displacement of Lumads somehow showed the fear coming from paramilitary groups, instead of the rebels whom according to the Lumads dispensed justice and respect. These paramilitary groups, such as his writeup stated above, is supported by government as well as private interests whose intention is to take over communal properties for "development", be it those of mining, cash crop plantation, tourism, and others exploitative in nature. 

If saturating the troubled areas alone is the answer taken by the government and its apologetics in social media sites, then the issue is far from being solved, what more of unjustly describing the killed as enemies of the state, of certain institutions as coddling subversives, and the entire indigenious tribespeople as rebels and liable for death. For one thing the presence of armed forces, be it the government and paramilitary groups, only intensified the ire of the belligerent peoples for the latter believe that these armed men are there on behalf of mining interests. It even making the issue worse because one legislator justifies the said paramilitary groups as indigenous defence systems using the "Indigenous Peoples Rights Act" citing "Self Determination" as its clause, while apologetics in social media sites blaming the New Peoples Army or any other groups for hindering "developments" in affected districts, if not urging tribespeople to fight against the moves of the government and its supporting interests.

A factfinding operation has been undergoing according to recent reports amidst criticism from certain groups aligned with interests, and it is somehow a good step in resolving the issue particularly those of the incident. Calls for dismantling paramilitary groups as necessary in favour of visiting peace organisations in assuring the return of evacuees to their jomes and in wiping off the mounting jitters of terrorised natives. 
Quite ideal though but not enough, for everyone knew that the Lumad problem is more than just discimination alone. The land in which part of Lumad heritage and identity has been exploited by interests given the abundance of minerals needed for export, if not fields for cash crops be it cassava, palm, or bananas; Lumad identity has been exploited for tourism and various exploitative acts that disrespects the culture and herirage of the mountainfolk; that amidst existing acts like IPRA, it failed to heed the demands of the mountainfolk be it those of respect, equity, and justice. Several weeks ago everyone read the statement from Nancy Catamco telling that "traditional defence systems" of the indigenous communities, or rather say paramilitary groups funded by the government and vested interests, also deserve to be recognised in a way that "it would fit their own customs, traditions, and practises." 
Such justifications coming from a legislator as well as its apologetics may likely to interpret as an attempt to "put a clean image" to those whom instigate murders and threats against the mountainfolk, hence having that smoke of battle remains uncleared. 

The murderers continue to roam their so-called "territory" trying to deny their murderous actions such as after the ALCADEV incident, while the displaced continue to face problems in their evacuation sites yet can't even afford to return as long as paramilitary murderers, if not the armed forces continue to occupy their homes or worse, looting for their booty; But perhaps with the factfinding missions as well as support coming from concerned organisations and individuals served as its basis for putting light and justice on the side of Lumads and its sympathisers, hope that their calls be realised, in a way letting the air of a just peace sweep the smoke of what the system almost described as a tribal conflict if not terrorism.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

A Continuing Past, a prevailing issue, and a Commitment to Struggle

A Continuing Past,
a prevailing issue,
and a Commitment to Struggle

Notes after September 21, its excesses and excuses
 and its legacy of a continuing revolt from the poor

"Government, Protesters, and Big Capital: The stand off"
by Jose Tence Cruz
Graphite, Tempra, Pen and Ink on Strathmore watercolour paper
Published in Who Magazine, 1983

"We need to make the oligarchy and Philippine big business more accountable. They can be just as oppressive and exploitative as any tyrant."

These are the words saidth by Carlos Celdran in his post, and it somehow reflects this person's view of having a rotten order such as this present.

The oligarchs, or specifically corrupt bureaucrats churning off large public accounts, as well as big landlords controlling both large estates and investing with its large stocks, has dominated the society for decades since the birth of this so-called "republic". That behind its democratic veneer is almost a totalitarian one that has two sides be it populistic or elitist, but given its repressive nature it has less to do with the people, regardless of the infrastructure, the rising economic rate, anything worth appealing to the people, sneerable both through eye and ear and conclude how successful, progressive that "New Society", or its any similar term be it "Philippines 2000" or "Strong Republic", no matter how corrupted its majority of bureaucrats and other people on high involved.

"Martial Law" by Anna Fer
limited edition print, 1984
from the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Collection.

But at first, this writeup is all but a rambling, not just remembering those days of hatred, all after the failed "New Society" and its subsequent governments till present. And to think that Martial Law, or as what loyalists afforded to call as the "New Society" has leaned on both "Nationalist" and "Neoliberalist" inclinations, with the former in its attempt to keep firm the status quo while the latter in its mean to resolve the economic question amidst nationalist trappings. Quite contraditicting though knowing that Marcos and his successors has played both as "nationalists" while most of its policies made themselves puppets of a bigger entity. Apologetics may afforded to say that the country as in need of an ally in case of conflicts with neighbouring countries, yet, come to think of this: true that the Philippines needs allies, but how about rolling its own sleeves and forge for a greater future as what their statements said so? Remember, its neighbours were once weak, but they afforded to stand on its own; Singapore, the country in which certain individuals and groups lean upon as an example of discipline afforded to stand on its own regardless of having lack of resources and relying on outside investments, yet having a state that somehow described as "incorruptible" does economic internvention on behalf of their folk. How about the Philippines? Nope, but instead it has been obeying dictates from international moneylenders and its domestic advisers.
True that there are infrastructures made during those periods, fueled by the desire to create a facade of progress, it was, or even is, obvious to see a showcase of roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, or even airports; while at the same time cultivating arts, culture, of trying to create a "New Filipino" capable of heeding the demands of both present and the future whilst rooted on the aspirations of its own past, be it Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini, and various heroes yearning for national and social liberation. But remember that Marcos's era, as well as its successors was also those of Thatcher and Reagan, of "Reaganomics" and "Peace through Strength" that resulted to people angry due to increasing prices if not militarisation; that behind the rhetorics of peace and stability as stated by its apologetics was those of injustice as the status quo tries to keep firm amidst growing opposition, with all its tortures, imprisonment of certain personages, or even enforced disappearances and displacement of communities particularly those from the countryside. After 1986 comes its excesses in the name of restoring order hidden beneath the veneer of "Freedom" and "Democracy" as observed by many during those times.

Painting inspired by Juan Luna's "Spoliarium"
Admittingly speaking, people may have appreciate the infrastructure made by those times, be it the bridges, schools, roads, hospitals, anything be described as a Marcosian legacy if not a credit grabbing feat that somehow made most, if not all, criticise than appreciate for having names be inscribed till making themselves synonymous to those infrastructure left. 
But on the other hand, as what apologists love to tell based on their "experiences", that it is also true and necessary to say that in a matter of survival as a community, a revival of national consciousness has to be enacted, that the youth has to cultivate national awareness in pursuit of reclaiming again National Identity and a truly profound sense of national pride different from what is usually shown in mass media.
But sadly, that reclaiming is all but aesthetic as compared to its neighbouring countries that really instill national consciousness that is, beyond music and art; ironically, that revival made some who consistently oppose even made their creativities and opposition even stronger.

And to paraphrase the statement of late Teodoro Locsin, it is true that Mentally dishonest Filipinos, particularly those of the system and its apologetics such as in social media, frequently pay lip service to human liberty, to democracy, to progress and stability; and based on what everyone observe it has even invoke further freedom of speech and the press enough to sneer people through the eye and in the ear; but inconviently speaking, it is true enough that their heart is with the totalitarian system, given their "tradition" of keeping the status quo of interest, including those of sacrificing both man and it's community's right to live and enjoy. They do not love liberty, democracy, not even progress and stability, they only make use of it, most likely a rhetoric perhaps. And if when they are in power, as what it is today and in the past, they will erase the infamy, particularly coming from those who stand in their way, be it the shantytown dweller from Tondo, the farmer from Hacienda Luisita, the worker from South Superhighway, the indigenous tribe from Bukidnon, the student from the University of the East, or even a professional who at times spent the frivolities of life at Tomas Morato after a work at Technohub in Diliman.

And no wonder why there are still protests and writeups concerning about a country's true state behind what is commonly presented. 

That's all for now.

Seeing some "Folkish" if not "Future-leaning" Totalitarian art from its "finest"

Seeing some "Folkish" if not "Future-leaning"
 Totalitarian art from its "finest"

or after got stumbled at "Thule Art Gallery"
with all its featured artworks

At first, this person has less to say besides that those works are aesthetically nice despite its controversial nature, particularly coming from sites such as "Thule Art Gallery" and other related sites featuring artworks made by Fascists.

Antonio Donghi's Woman at the Cafe (1932)
"Crossing the waters" by Wolfgang Willrich
"Death" by Wolfgang Willrich

Controversial in a sense that the makers were providing art to a totalitarian regime, that according to the latter had trying to invoke the idea of the folk such as though visual art.

That somehow made those artists afforded to make it and trying to say that their works invoke the folk with all its scenes and actions reflecting those of the folk's daily doings, be it the farming or the forging, if not longing for peace through a new order.

"Harvest and Mining" by Wily Knabe
"Agriculture and Industry" by Wily Knabe
"Harvesting Wheat" by Wily Knabe

This person may have opposed their past regime's views with all its attempts to keep the status quo beneath the veneer of unity and sorts of "change", but in seeing those artworks, be it painting or a woodcut, or even a porcelain work this person thinks that despite invoking those of the folk, that they afforded to use some of their modern aestherics to a totally traditionalist form such as a rusticated populace, is asking that was this the future their leaders trying to think and show to its subjects? Mussolini looked for the future as the futurists do, Hitler emphasised much of the rural folk with its classicism and abhorring modern art as degenerate, and Franco yearned for a Habsburg revival in its artworks while tolerating those of Dali's and yearning to bring Picasso's.

From a poster made by Cornelis Koekkoek
From a poster made by Lou Manche 

An artwork made for the Danish SS volunteers by Harald Damsleth
An artwork made for Quisling's "Nasjonal Samling" by Harald Damsleth

To others may deem it strange in featuring, but those works reflect aspirations, although  it has been synonymous to regimes what people abhor about. The works of those artists may almost classify as "AgitProp" given its appeal to the people to fight for the folk with all its featured heroes, of making a future wherein "justice has been served"; yet given its style somewhat reminiscent of classical artworks, this shows the idea of making high art "popular", of making realism appealing to the masses amidst its appearance likely to be understood by those on high, hence, bridging classical appearances with modern methods, of high art and popular aspirations. 

Again, aesthetically nice. For the artists, it reflects what they want to convey such as social justice, peace and labour, but those times made these artists and their artworks synonymous with regimes most people rather criticise about. 


Thursday, 17 September 2015

"Arrested simply because of a pencil case clock"

"Arrested simply because of a pencil case clock"

Or how a kid faced arrest and appraisal in Texas

What a mockery of discovery and invention to equate an invention to a weapon of destruction.

Made by a Student who happened to be a Sudanese and a Muslim, he was arrested for making a digital clock out of a pencil case. According to reports, the 14 year old ended not with an appraisal, but a punishment after school authorities called the police and he was arrested. And according to the authorities, he was arrested for the crime of a hoax bomb, only to found out that it wasn't. 

However, instead of putting good light to the school wherein Ahmed Mohamed studying, people rather chose to support the young man who had wanted to be an engineer, that via Twitter messages, his actions are motivated rather by peaceful means, if not exposing the blatant idioicy coming from the authorities without any observation at all. "When a white kid builds a nuclear fusion reactor it's cool but when a Muslim builds a clock it's not." As one message said. 

And to think that event the police authorities even admitted the fact that Mohamed's invention has nothing to do with making a bomb, that accoridng to James McLellan of the Irving Police:

"We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only tell us that it was a clock." 

Chief Larry Boyd even said that the teen should have been 'forthcoming' by going beyond the description that what he made was a clock. But Boyd also said that authorities determined that the teenager did not intend to alarm everyone with his device, in which the chief described as a "homemade experiment", as innocuous. 

Anyways, such idiocy coming from some authorities is all but a mockery of the past where discoveries are meant to be appraised if not undergoing a serues if questions. In fact, in seeing an incident such as what happened in Texas also shows that the state itself rolls back to the middle or perhaps the dark ages equating scientific wonders to those of sorcery, that mathematics should be limited in calculating when was the birth of Christ and Engineering to those of building churches. Remember, when Europe remained in the state of religious fanaticism, the Muslim world engaged in science and technology, wherein they even afford to translate Greek Philosophy into Arabic, that centuries past be unearthed by the west paving way to its Renaissance. 
Yet in this modern world where people enjoys scientific wonders and technology, have they forgot that what they enjoym what they study, are also coming from the Muslims like Ibn Sina and Rhazes? If not Omar Khayyam, Al-Zahrawi and Al-Idrisi? Well, seems that the people today has really equated Islam to Bin Laden, Al-Baghdadi and Al-Zarqawi; and creating a gadget coming from a Muslim is deemed dangerous. 

Admittingly speaking, Ahmed Mohamed's work is an attempt to show that he, regardless of his religion, wanted to harness science in the name of peace, in a way Einstein the Jew had envisioned future discoveries be used for peaceful purposes. Ahmed's father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, even said that his son as a brillant person, that the trouble was fueled out of Islamophobia, as he said:

 "My son's name is Mohamed- people just think Muslims are terrorists but we are peaceful, we are not that son said over and over that this was an alarm clock and my son only brought it to school to ask for help from his teachers, to show that he can do this amazing thing and maybe get appreciation and to show him (he can become) something bugger in the world- an inventor."

But then, despite the allegiations pointing against the kid, right to hear from US President Obama himself, that "assumptions don't keep us safe" and urged Ahmed to "keep building." That somehow in his room lies Ahmed tinkering metal and wire in prusuit of making everything what his adapted country needs, or even his origins clamoring for a breakthrough in development besides those of social change, 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Ramblings on "indigenous defence" And its acual existence as "attackdogs"

Ramblings on "indigenous defence" 
And its acual existence as "attack dogs"

By Kat Ulrike 

It's been an issue months ago as most of the Manobo tribe, as well as the lowlanders sympathysing, continue to yearn for justice for its killed and displaced brethren. 

As news reports, particularly in social media sites tackling much about the issue, it seems that the system is in a series of both justifications and denials, of urging the recognition of paramilitary groups as volunteers, whilst denying the killings of certain personages if not forced displacements of tribespeople in the name of development, furthermore, they remain insisting that the rebels are the ones who initiated as such making the mountainfolk opposing the "developmental" policies of the state, including those of mining operations in their mountains of not plantation sites for cash crops. 

Most people continue to shrug serious issues this person had stated in favour of repititive love stories, but to think that aside from the issue of heavy traffic at EDSA if not the controveries over certain Presidentiables, the issue over the state of these indigenous tribespeople like the Manobos, be it those of the murder of certain personages, displacements from their communities, to those of their schools taken over by the system through its volunteers armed by the system's own attack dogs. The actions taken by these armed thugs, obviously, is far from what Congresswoman Nancy Catamco's statement, as said:

"The indigenous community defence systems that have been in existence through all the years of collective and community life and history of these peoples is still practised by many of our indigenous communities until today, except only for a few.
The indigenous community defence systems are living tradition amongst these peoples for the preservation and protection of their communities, their land and territory and all that is left as their cultural possession as peoples."

But come to think of this, since Catamco described the volunteer paramilitary groups like the Magahat, Bagani, and Alamara as an Indigenous Defence System, she was just paraphrasing those of Aquino recognizing the Nakasaka, Alsa Masa or even Alsa Lumad as a Civilian Volunteer Organisation that was directly trained and armed by the military. These two groups, despite coming from different eras, does have objective such as supporting the military against the insurgents and separatists alike; yet on the other hand, these volunteer groups are hired by private interests, be it mining or plantation companies trying to take over land from those stubbornly defending it; and if killed, be branded as rebels simply because of being against "developmental projects" that obviously trying to "humanise" an exploitative operation.

Way back the late 80s till the present, the government's eagerness to stem out insurgency has been a carrot and stick approach: of developmental projects and special operations. The creation of volunteer operations side by side with a tangible rhetoric of building roads, bridges, and even "communities" likely to be described as hamlets. Private interests such as those of mining and agribusinesses tend to join with the government's efforts in pursuit of exploiting, be it from the north or south, of Cordillera and Lumad tribes, but in the end, what everyone sees today is same old victims: be it those from exploitation if not because of their unrepentant stubbornness in keeping their communities. Remember, Macliing Dulag was killed for opposing developmental moves such as the Chico Dam and Cellophil's attempt to exploit the mountains of Cordillera, so is todays individuals from the south like Dionel Campos of "Malahutayong Pagkabisog Alang sa Sumusunod"; Aurelio Sinzo; and Emerito Samarca of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV). 
For sure there are more nameless personages coming from various Indigenous Tribespeople that for sure been killed by the volunteers coddled by the system, whether armed by their statements or by the gun, the system knows that these potential subversives ought to be wiped out in the name of development catered to the interests be it mining or for cash crops, if not dams or various forms including those of commercialisation of the folk itself.

And also far from what Catamco said of defending communites, that these "imdigenous defenders" killed Campos and Sinzo in front of ALCADEV teachers and students, while Samarca was found dead in the school's premises-stabbed, having a slit throat, and his hands and feet tied. And contrary to what the military described as "Communist School" or even a "Training Camp", ALCADEV is recognized by the Education Department as a learning institution for the Manobo mountainfolk, even won a prize such as "National Literacy Award"; so what kind of indigenous defence is the congresswoman talking about when in actual are murderers guised as warriors killing innocents and displacing its own kin for development? 
Obviously, there are more examples of paramilitary groups and "volunteers" besides those of Magahat, Bagani, and Alamara, amongst Indigenous Peoples coerced by the system. The Bungkatol Liberation Front, known as BULIF, has a history of Kidnappings, Extortion, and attacks on aid workers and communities such as in Agusan Del Norte; The Alimaong Tribal Justice has been with the Magahat and Bagani as part of Task Force Gantangan and its series of tribal vendettas and human rights violations. There are various armed "volunteer" groups in the south, that just like the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army in the North, are supported by the system in the name of "counterinsurgency", "zone of peace", and other similar rhetorics that is far from the contrary as attack dogs preying on fellow indigenous peoples as well as lowlanders sympathysing. 
And that behind its terms, is plain simple "Dirty War" reminiscent of past regimes in South America and in the Philippines itself continuing until today. From the system itself, the idea of indigenous defence systems, of instigating "Pangayaw" (tribal war), and the misuse of "tribal justice", if not appointing tribal leaders "loyal" to the system's interests, is part of a plan to intensify conflict against insurgents, if not harassing those who are questioning the legitimacy of military presence, as well as developmental projects made by scrupulous officials and interests. Like what Catamco said:

"And just like any other ordinary citizen who have the right to protect their persons and properties, traditional defence systems of the indigenous communities also deserve to be recognised in a way that it would fit their own customs, traditions, and practises. And the recognition should come explicitly by law, such as the law that regulates the services of private security agencies or the SCAA as an auxiliary force to the CAFGU."

Ideally speaking, having an Indigenous Defence System means defending their communities against exploiters including those from the system itself. But in its actual existence, the term is more of a veneer for a legalising a paramilitary group, a mercenary paid by interests with an objective of rooting out dissent be it the lowlandler or the mountainfolk who questions legitimacy. The displaced tribespeople knows the fact that the system wanted their community's hidden wealth be exploited by interests, that through the support of local government, armed forces, and even "paid" members of the Indigenous tribespeople they wanted to penetrate deeper communities in pursuit of their actions be it those if mining, plantation, agribusiness or tourism. 
And to use Catamco's statement using the "Indigenous Peoples Rights Act" that stated the right of Indigenous Peoples to "self-defence" same as the "Right to Life, Liberty, and Property", does it require harassing those who trying to preserve traditions through education and asserting Indigenous Peoples rights? Is preserving culture be limited to those seen by tourists such as weaving and people wearing costumes while their communities being ravaged by war, disenfranchisement, and various forms of social injustice worse than lowlanders? Is the defence of the indigenous really for the indigenous? Or for interests who afforded to sneer the folk through programs and half empty rhetorics?

Again, the system has killed innocents and washed its own dirty linen amidst denials. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A Heneral Luna Afterthought

A Heneral Luna Afterthought

by Allen Francis Pascual

First and foremost, this movie was one of the 3 Filipino movies I watched in the cinemas (the other two would be Pedro Penduko and Shake Rattle and Roll out of boredom). I like watching movies in the cinemas, but I only usually watch foreign films, so this means this movie is definitely one of the few decent movies that the Philippine Film Industry was able to produce this decade.

It comes off with some kind of charisma, thanks to John Arcilla. He nails the character even before you watch the movie: the posters already make an enticing description of the movie. Though you know the history, you're still curious as how will the movie portray the General.

But I'm not here to discuss the movie itself. In my head lies the thoughts of Antonio Luna. The discrepancies that lay in our "government" onset of the Fil-Am War. The incapacity of the Filipino to take criticism, orders or discipline. How people will do anything to preserve their own interests. That this movie is a mirror of the past and the present, how similar those two come together.

The story that repeats itself.

Today, we are plagued by Buencaminos and Paternos. People who don't want to sacrifice their own interest for the sake of the country. Business as usual, per se. They care not for the country, for as long as their own self-interest is unaffected and remains profitable.

Today, we are plagued by Mascardos. People who don't want to follow leaders due to ego, pride or self-interest. They insist on their own rules without regard as to who or what will be affected by their actions. People who don't want to cooperate because of their own selfish reasons.

Today, we are plagued by Aguinaldos. People who have the power of change within their hands, yet chooses to be influenced by people of no vision around them and do no action. They may not be on the side of evil, but let me tell you this: The only thing necessary for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing. Or at the same time, people who will remove the good people for their own interests. You saw the repertoire of Aguinaldo, to both Bonifacio and Luna.

In the light of this, I hope that those who watch this film will have some of their patriotism instigated in them. This film comes at a most curious time in our country, wherein the people are divided into multiple factions of their own interests. Wherein we come under threat of invasion from the Northwest. Wherein we come under seduction of the west.

With the upcoming elections, I urge the people to choose wisely, for the future of our country. Do not let the sacrifices of our heroes be in vain. Andres Bonifacio died for our freedom. So did Jose Rizal, and Antonio Luna. The media will try to fool you, but use your own discernment and judgment. Politicians are already making false promises, but already have a shitty track record, yet I'm still afraid that people will vote them.

"Mga birheng naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng isang puta".

(Virgins who believed in a love coming from a Prostitute)


Allen Francis Pascual is a student from De La Salle - College of St. Benilde in Manila

Saturday, 12 September 2015

"Dry Rub" notes

"Dry Rub" notes

(Or all after seeing the event at Cubao Expo's 
Pablo Art Gallery)

The sound of techno and a variety of remixes blares aloud as the people enjoys drinking beer, eating hotdogs and barbecue, having chitchat, if not seeing the strange paintings last saturday at Cubao Expo.
As the exhibition, entitled "Dry Rub", showcases artworks in commemoration of Pablo Art Gallery's 10th year Anniversary. Most of the artworks featured in that event are made by well known artists from the alternative scene like Maria Cruz, Mark Salvatus, and the Punk legend Romeo Lee.

And like nay other exhibition this person econountered (like Vitamin Shit a moth ago), this person finds it amazing to see those works in which most likely to describe as "anti-norm", "deviant", "morbid", or even "surreal" given its appearance. Some of which bear titles like "Sex is Easy, Love is Hard" that is being written in one of the paintings.

However, one of the artworks that made this person thinks about a mish mash of real and imaginary figures reflecting those of popular culture is made out of a souvenir from Hong Kong. This person may not know about the maker behind the said work, but that person had turned that souvenir into an artwork with all the paintings and pasted images featured such as cartoon characters, a figure of a person from a familiar restaurant, and lastly: King Kong climbing over one of Hong Kong's skyscrapers.

Another artwork did also captures this person's imagination through this banner. At first, it may look upon as a typical banner coming from a group of Black Nazarene devotees, with all the Maroon and Golden Yellow colour featured, only to found out a snake creeping over Jesus Christ's crown of thorns and a third eye on the cheek. Some people would say that it is controversial to feature as it reminds of a work in which made fanatics of a particular faith gone mad after seeing religious figures as part of pop art. But realistically speaking, it did reflects about the fatalism in which most Filipinos turned gone wrong such as those seeing them praying and at the same time gossiping. 

There are other artworks that somehow find it "commercial" to some, yet from the makers it somehow reflects what most people seen today. The works of Romeo Lee makes a throwback on this person's behalf through one of his writeups about him. As the artsy crowd seemingly gone 'serious' in engaging, be it those of making calligraphy, poetry, to those of going to art galleries and meeting with some acquaintances, this person would say that some can really become serious if most are being driven by the trend to "engage in art", most of which are made to impress yet far from the works be it from the well known to the unfamiliar that only few would afford to amaze. 

Well, admittingly speaking, out of curiousity and perhaps looking for an idea enough to create, this person entices to enter and see those good works, meet some personages besides Romeo Lee, and enjoy cold beer while seeing people chatting and typing this writeup. The sound continues to blare as the artsy crowd continues to enter and look at the artworks, if not a reunion with the organisers, artists, and friends alike in that commemorative occasion.