It’s going to be any day now, insists the Legion: ChaCha advocates bring case to Comelec. So the two top stories will be the plenary voting on impeachment, and the announced filing-to-be.
But that’s for later this week. As for today…
Twenty three years, which is how long ago Ninoy Aquino was killed, is a lifetime for most Filipinos. I was 13, and my father and I had just arrived in America where I was supposed to go to school, when Aquino was killed. I had to ask, “who is Ninoy Aquino?”
The late Peter Jennings that day mistakenly referred to Aquino as “NiÃƒÂ±o Aquino.” That was funny. The situation itself, of course, was not. My father was very sick with a stomach bug he’d picked up on the flight; yet he was constantly on the phone to family and friends in Manila. At times we knew more overseas than people at home were being told or could find out. There were only really two papers, then: the Bulletin Today was as it is now, as the Manila Bulletin;: generally, vanilla. The other paper, the Times Journal was to those times as the Manila Standard-Today is in our time. There were no other real papers, basically no independent radio, and certainly no alternative sources for news and views like the Internet. Eggy Apostol recounts what it was like to wait for him, and hear he’d died. Billy Esposo pens a memoir of that day, too.
My impression of those confusing hours and days was plain and simply, the shock that my elders felt; and after the feeling of shock, the inner turmoil Ninoy’s death provoked: had he been rash? Was Marcos a lunatic, or in a coma? Would anyone care? What did his undelivered arrival statement mean?
People did care. People started smuggling around his undelivered statement;Ã‚Â and if you watch the documentaries and read recollections of the time, as breathtaking as the manner in which Ninoy was murdered, was the decision of individual people to do something that should have come easily under normal circumstances: attend a wake, and march in a funeral procession. Newsstand recounts what it was like.
I remember the debates in the late 70s and early 80s: “Let’s unite,” we should “move on,” there “is no qualified successor,” the opposition “is hopelessly divided,” better “the SOB we know than an SOB who might be worse,” not to mention “things are getting better,” at least “there is firm leadership and discipline,” and “if the people really don’t like it why aren’t they showing they care,” as well as “if you’re not a Communist you have nothing to fear.”
(photo from Wikipedia)
The killing of Ninoy and the economy’s collapse set those arguments aside. I hear them now -have been hearing them for a year- which makes me wonder if people rally want to wait for the economy to collapse or a new martyr to be produced, as if we haven’t learned to nip dictatorship in the bud rather than wait for it to flower, first.
But then I suffer, perhaps, from romantic notions.
On Ninoy’s death anniversary, the President decides to appoint a commission.
To mark Ninoy’s death anniversary (ExectoRants says he’s a saint), here are some readings. Those by Teodoro M. Locsin, Sr. profoundly influenced me, and I think they help explain why Ninoy was a hero.
(image from Berby’s World)
Teodoro M. Locsin, Sr. was close to Ninoy -considering him a friend. In The Conscience of the Filipino: The Sacrifice, Locsin pondered Ninoy’s being jailed, his continuing resistance to Marcos, and his decision to come home. He observed,
Soon after the imposition of martial law, a high American official reportedly described the Filipino people as composed of 40 million cowards and one son of a bitch. Otherwise, they should have risen as one against the destroyer of their liberties, the American must have reasoned. Yet, six million Jews went like sheep to the slaughter, stopping only to bicker over an extra crumb of bread that might keep one alive an extra day. The Nicaraguans swallowed 40 years of indignity and official thievery from the Somozas before putting an end to their rule. And the Poles, to date, have done nothing but picket. The Hungarians, after a brief spasms of prideful revolt, have traded the hope of liberty for that extra roll of toilet paper in the Soviet showcase of a consumer society.
The Filipino people rose in revolt against Spanish rule again and again through 350 years until the Revolution had cornered the last Spaniards in Manila. Then they fought the Americans, who had suddenly snatched the freedom that was almost in their grasp. Ten percent of the Filipino people died in that war. When the Japanese drove out the Americans, the Filipinos fought the Japanese.
Then came martial law, if not with American fore-knowledge and approval, definitely with American support after the event. First, submission. (Cowardice?) Resignation. (Not the Communists, for sure.) Almost 11 years after that, August 21, 1983, and NinoyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s body bleeding on the tarmac.
The Filipino people are themselves again. And it took less than 11 years for a nation of Ã¢â‚¬Å“cowardsÃ¢â‚¬Â to be the men and women they are now.
In an editorial, titled If, Locsin asked what might have been, had Ninoy come home -and lived, offering up this meditation on power:
So, Marcos was brilliant Ã¢â‚¬â€œ at the start. He did not have a gun, then: martial law enforced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines with his Number 1 hood, Ver, as chief-of-staff. Then, martial law! Brilliant he was, okay, or just cunning, unprincipled, a thinking son of bitch? All right, brilliant Marcos was. But the intellect deteriorates not meeting real challenge. The gun makes all challenge ineffectual. The mind becomes dull. Absolute power does not only corrupt absolutely, it stupefies. There is no need for intelligence when the guns serves. The blade of the mind rusts. Absolute power brings absolute stupidity. Such is the lesson of all dictatorships.
And in another essay, Is he? Locsin offered a reflection on Ninoy’s statement that “The Filipino is worth dying for.” Wrote Locsin,
There was, of course, no lack of apologia for venality and cowardice…Ã‚Â But nobody cared.
Except a few. The unhappy few who found their cries against the death of liberty met with indifference if not scorn. Scorn for not being practical, for continuing to dream of freedom. Or boredomÃ¢â‚¬â€for being so right but ineffectual. Even social hostility, for reminding the submissive or collaborator of virtue. What it means to be human, not a dog, glad for every scrap that fell from the table of the dictator and his family and partners in robbery and murder. Ninoy and Cory would afterward speak of how those they thought their friends pretended they did not know them!
There was no demonstrations of any consequence for years and years. While the Opposition dwindled into insignificanceÃ¢â‚¬â€except the Communist rebels in the hillsÃ¢â‚¬â€business boomed. With borrowed money much of which the dictatorship stole. National economic growth rose with national foreign debt. The future of the Filipino people was morgaged more and more to foreign banks greedy for interest on their Arab deposits. The children will have to pay, but the parents did not care. The dictatorship was riding high on the back of the Filipino people and they did not feel the weight.
Today, of course, there are still those who deny Ninoy was a hero. I suspect they do not believe anyone is capable of heroism, period. Skepticism, whenÃ‚Â it plunges a person into an inescapable refusal to recognize anything they have not defined in a manner that reinforces their conviction that only they possess virtue, is a horrifying thing, because it denies everything (except, perhaps, the self-assurance of self-satisfaction) and achieves nothing.
Other readings: on Ninoy, from the Inquirer editorial on officials lacking his sense and principles; the Black & White Movement is one year old;
Bunker Chronicles is irked by official commemorations that ring hollow;Ã‚Â Sassy Melbournite asks for something many will overlook: a moment of silence.
Ã‚Â Luis R. Sioson on the vanishing landscape of memory.
A reader (Filipino Catholic)Ã‚Â who commented previously has additional comments (click on thumbnail image):
(Hat-tip to Clever WoT for the Holmes Quote which mentions Holmes’s support of eugenics andÃ‚Â in turn, to my reading the decision in Buck v. Bell (here’s an abstract; and here’s the decision penned by Holmes); there’s also this letter to the editorÃ‚Â on Voltaire, and further explanations of the letter’s point can be found among the reader’s comments, here.)
Patricia Evangelista had many skeptics in the past, concerning her being an opinion page columnist, but with her last column, In contempt, and her column yesterday, Rage against the dying of the light, I don’t think anyone can deny she has come of age.
Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ delves into the power struggle between the Senate and the Palace. Sylvia Mayuga’s lyrical look at the Santo NiÃƒÂ±o. Jojo Robles observes 30 years in the profession. Rita Linda V. Jimeno writes on libel, the Palace’s current flavor of the month.
Overseas: Karma gradually catching up with Thaksin. A gathering of Thai Magsaysay Award recipients says Thais told they must get more involved in politics.
A sampling of blogs on Justice Cruz over the past week or so: baratillo@cubao is inclined to be satisfied with the Justice’s assertion of his freedom of expression; The Bystander says the Justice was justifiably exercising his rights, and Livewire’s Law is also of the opinion that criticism has been excessive and unhealthy. Iloilo City Boy believes there’s a clash of generations.Ã‚Â There’s leaflens‘ blog, which argues the disagreement is larger than two contending columnists. saludagabre believes what has been missed out is a larger advocacy of a “struggle for economic redistribution”. Vissi d’arte also says I missed out on something and takes up the slack. prickster is surprised the Justice hasn’t been accused of sophistry.
jamesjimenez writes crimson. Bryanboy raises an eyebrow but plans a fab outfit for the Justice’s permanent retirement. Spunk thinks John Silva’s reaction was good. Random Thoughts reproduces an open letter. Here is another response and here’s another readers sent in.
See also letters from kamijo, andÃ‚Â ragnarokette andÃ‚Â Hippie Bourgeois, and a sarcastic response from I’m a devil in hasteÃ‚Â (Pulsar also pens an open letter, someone else explains why they won’t respond beyond their blog).Ã‚Â mcvie: Isa Granny makes a brief statement. Bridget Jones is A Man… and I am Her recounts his family’s reactions. Pinay New Yorker, who has a gay brother, explains what bigotry is.Ã‚Â Awful Things also reacts, as does jcv000. sunfish is particularly pithy.
true north strong and free and me examines the example of Canada as a case in which diversity works. pixie debunks misconceptions.
Seriously? at in transit doesn’t condone homosexuality but doesn’t condone Justice Cruz, either.
On the other hand, Cutting Against the Grain commends Justice Cruz for establishing a beachhead in the War for Christian Civilization.
At this point, with his permission, I’d like to reproduce what Mario Taguiwalo wrote to members of an e-group that he belongs to:
YouÃ‚Â may have read or heard about Justice Cruz’ unfortunate column on PDI (“Don weÃ‚Â now our gay apparel”) and the reactions of many to it, including John Silva,Ã‚Â Jonathan Best and Manolo Quezon. Justice Cruz has a rejoinder to Manolo’s ownÃ‚Â column today (“Neither here nor there”), which I think only deepens the holeÃ‚Â he dug for himself.
IÃ‚Â re-read Justice Cruz’ original column and tried to understand what made it soÃ‚Â infuriating for some people. What I discovered may be useful to many of us whoÃ‚Â are called upon to express an opinion about something in the public arena.Ã‚Â Here are some occasional notes that might be entitled “Anatomy of Bigotry”.
Justice Cruz starts his column in Paragraph 1 with anÃ‚Â apparently neutral observation: “Homosexuals before were mocked and derided,Ã‚Â but now they are regarded with new-found respect and, in many cases, evenÃ‚Â regarded as celebrities.” He then offers a caveat in Paragraph 2Ã‚Â that his “observations against homosexuals in general” do not apply to thoseÃ‚Â who have not violated his preferred standards of behavior. In Paragraph 3,Ã‚Â he cites a general global “change in the popular attitude towardsÃ‚Â homosexuals”, which have led to a belief that they are “a separate thirdÃ‚Â sex with equal rights as male and female persons instead of just anÃ‚Â illicit in-between gender that is neither here nor there”. He then recallsÃ‚Â the good old days of his elementary schooling in Paragraph 4, when homosexualsÃ‚Â were rare, submissive and mildly amusing.
HisÃ‚Â alarm begins in Paragraph 5 when “homos dirtied the beautiful tradition of theÃ‚Â Santa Cruz de Mayo” by their participation, which he referred to as aÃ‚Â “blasphemy”. His alarms escalate in Paragraph 6, when he seesÃ‚Â homosexuals everywhere in “alarming and audacious number”. His alarm boilsÃ‚Â over in Paragraph 7 when he points to schools being “fertile ground for theÃ‚Â gay invasion”, which would not have happened if “certifiably masculine”Ã‚Â students like his own five “macho sons” mauled them like they used to do inÃ‚Â the 70′s.
Finally, he climaxes in Paragraph 8 in theseÃ‚Â rhetorical questions: “Is our population getting to be predominatly pansy?Ã‚Â Must we allow homosexuality to march unobstructed until we are converted intoÃ‚Â a nation of sexless persons without the virility of males and the grace ofÃ‚Â females but only an insipid mix of these diluted virtues? Let us be warnedÃ‚Â against the gay population, which is per se a compromise between the strongÃ‚Â and the weak and therefore only somewhat and not the absolute of eitherÃ‚Â of the two qualities.”
InÃ‚Â his 8 short paragraphs, Justice Cruz took the trouble to use all emotionallyÃ‚Â laden words he could conjure about homosexuals: gay, pansy, siyoke, queer,Ã‚Â binabae, fairies, lady-like directors, bading, sexless persons, effeminateÃ‚Â bearded hairdressers. He offers the behavior of couturiers as deserving hisÃ‚Â admiration and respect; and points to vulgar members of the gay community asÃ‚Â having degraded and scandalized that community. In his world, homosexualsÃ‚Â “dirtied” and “cheapen” whatever they touch. In his latest column he defendsÃ‚Â his piece as his own opinion and that “it depends on what and whom you hate”Ã‚Â that matters. He then says he hates grafters, murderers, rapists and otherÃ‚Â criminals, implying therefore that his hate for homosexuals is on the sameÃ‚Â basis. Contrary to his caveat in Paragraph 2, it is not some behavior of someÃ‚Â homosexuals that he attacked, it was in fact all homosexuals and whateverÃ‚Â claims homosexuals may have as human beings that he wishes to deny.
LetÃ‚Â us reflect on what Justice Cruz [would] have us do with homosexuals.
ForÃ‚Â those of the homosexual persuasion, Justice Cruz wants you to: (a) stay in theÃ‚Â closet; (b) if you have to be outed, behave “decorously” and (c) above all, doÃ‚Â not blaspheme religious festivals with your visible participation. For theÃ‚Â rest of us who wants to stem the rising tide of homosexuality, Justice CruzÃ‚Â wants us to: (a) avoid being amused by their antics as this only encouragesÃ‚Â them; (b) if necessary, maul them back to the closet or towards more decorousÃ‚Â behavior.
Reading Justice Cruz, one can replace “homosexuals”Ã‚Â with many other groups who have been discriminated against such as “women”( itÃ‚Â is not women I hate, but loud aggressive women), “Negroes” (I do not hateÃ‚Â Niggers, it’s uppity Niggers I want dead), “Jews” (Jews are not bad, justÃ‚Â those bloodsucking ones), “Muslims” (Muslims are fine but Muslim zealotsÃ‚Â should be exterminated), young people with long hair in theÃ‚Â 60′s, the developmentally disabled, etc.
OneÃ‚Â has to ask Justice Cruz and people like him who think that there are groupsÃ‚Â deserving condemnation for simply being who they are and for acting inÃ‚Â accordance with what they believe is right even when it is different from ourÃ‚Â own beliefs: what damage have they done to our society? what harm are theyÃ‚Â inflicting on our lives?
AÃ‚Â bigot is a person obstinately devoted to his own opinions and prejudices whoÃ‚Â regards or treats members of a group with hatred and intolerance. JusticeÃ‚Â Cruz’ column is an example of bigotry.
HaveÃ‚Â a good weekend.
Jessica Zafra makes a political prediction: Danton Remoto is going to Congress.
Bunker Chronicles makes some observations about the excuses tend to make to justify their hold on power.
Manila News on how the days of the generals has returned. As in the period leading up to 1986, this serves the purposes of the upholders of the status quo. For the military to be a decisive factor in the political impasse would require one of two things: their repudiating the ongoing offensives in the provinces, or an absolute enforcement of similar methods nationwide.
Iloilo City Boy: rare red shrimps among casualties of Guimaras oil spill. Read also, of the personal tragedy his uncle’s facing because of the disaster.
New Economist on why the UK is so expensive.
Leon Kilat with a nifty entry on backing up cellphone information.