Ça Ira

An interesting entry in Hugh Hewitt points out that the Paris riots may be the a case of the Romanticism of the 1968 student riots coming back to haunt French society. 1968 in France has the same generational, mythic power that 1970, the First Quarter Storm, has for an older generation of Filipinos. The article Hewitt links to argues,

The French are obsessed with the heady memories and legacy of 1968. French “68ers” are now in the generation in power, just as the election of President Clinton brought the VietNam generation to power in America. The “68wes” dominate French society from the boardroom to the National Assembly. Their ideological stripes may dif- fer today, but their experience was common. They run the Government, the corporations, the labor unions; they run the universities and faculties, the culture factories and the media outlets. Philippe Thouvenin, a young documentary filmmaker, can’t get enough of it. “I think it’s something for us to think about-this was the last time when young French people felt idealistic. It was our last Utopia,” said Thouvenin, who was born in 1965.

And now that Muslims are manning the barricades, the generation of 1968 is divided on what to do. Some Americans, like Horse’s Mouth, can’t resist sniffing that this is a kind of comeuppance for the French, after they said that the Los Angeles riots in the 1990s could never happen in France. At the same time, Belmont Club’s entry on the strategies being used by rioters suddenly reminds me of my column on the tactics used by anarchists in Washington and Seattle when they rioted: small gangs, no direct confrontations, in a word, guerrilla mob violence, (Via Real Clear Politics, op-ed galore: Mark Steyn says Europe has war on its hands; David Warren says it’s the French Intefada and that there have actually been preparations going on for such an uprising).

(And what is “Ça Ira”? It’s the title of the most popular song of the French Revolution).

In the punditocracy, my column today is A democratic endeavor, which seeks to why I support the Citizen’s Congress for Truth and Accountability in prince, and am not particularly bothered by the heavy Communist participation in it; the Inquirer editorial has called upon media to circle the wagons because of a marauding President; Fr. Joaquin Bernas weighs in on the question of terrorism; so does Billy Esposo

The Daily Tribune has been having a ball focusing on Fidel Ramos and the intramurals within the administration in three Sunday reports, here (FVR supposedly being ready to “jump ship”) and here (a gleeful report on FVR being ticked off at the Palace), and here (the President’s insistence on keeping power); and two reports today, here (lurid warnings of the President’s safety not being guaranteed in case of a coup) and Alejandro Lichauco suggesting the military could simply withdraw support instead of mouting a coup: the Tribune’s stories always have nuggets of intrepid reportage. Jose C. Sison has a good summary of the legal questions involved in the rape case against American soldiers: he says its a lopsided agreement. Jojo Robles believes Filipino officials are behaving like American lackeys. Fel Maragay weighs in on Ramos and the Palace’s antipathy towards him. Carmen Guerrero Nakpil compares Arroyo to Quezon.

The blogosphere, of course, begins with views on the temporary restraining order against the PCIJ: Punzi explains the requirements for a TRO; Bangus Supremacy calls the case a SLAPP; Abe Margallo suggests blogging is “an ancient liberty in a time warp”:

When blogging takes the form of free expression so exercised in the realm of deliberative democracy (which I believe was the function taken on by Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism during the run-up to the Arroyo impeachment vote), it occupies the highest rung in the hierarchy of democratic and constitutional values involving as it does the sharing of sovereign authority. This so-called public liberty ordinarily trumps negative liberty for the simple reason that the individual is less than the community.

Jove Francisco comments on the wrong one-armed bandit being caught; Philippine Commentary weighs in with an even stronger view, that the whole thing would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. Incidentally, Philippine Commentary responds to my pointing to Gen. Zinni’s question, “how do you fight a tactic?” by looking at Zinni’s complete message (and yes, DJB that was exactly the same speech I heard, albeit in a different venue). Philippine Commentary argues,

We should strive to understand the problem of terrorism without the flippant dismissiveness of Leftists who are only envious they are no longer the baddest boyz on the block except perhaps here in the home of the longest running communist insurgency in history. They are not the baddest boyz anymore because even Filipino communists have not yet devolved to the stage of suicide bombing, and they have no God to send their martyrs to…

I don’t think it can be overemphasized that the enemy is intent on either literal destruction of the West and its allies (in which case it gets a global theocracy or caliphate for a prize; or self-immolation and martyrdom, in which case the brave jihadi gets Paradise and an eternity of heavenly sex. It’s this twisted version of Pascal’s Wager that is well-spring of that wave of suicidal human bombardiers General Zinni refers to.

Hillblogger looks into the case of American servicemen accused of rape.

The PCIJ blog has a good summary of the motivations and tactics surrounding the effort to change the Constitution, as well as a handy chart.

Ricky Carandang has an interesting entry on how creativity is being regimented, with great success, in Singapore. Read the comments, they’re equally interesting. Speaking of “benevolent dictatorships,” as one of Carandang’s readers puts it (wrongly, I think: there is no such thing as a benevolent dictatorship anywhere, at any time), New Economist links to a provocative article that begins tackling “the nightmare of a Chinese century.”

In the wake of Bush’s attempt to challenge Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, the views of The New Nationalist makes for relevant reading: he examines why free trade advocates aren’t convincing people that their policies are worth it or even work. The Arab News has a Guardian piece pointing out how the American view’s discredited.

Leon Kilat continues to delight and amaze with glimpses into new online portals. Oh, and I’m sort of involved in something called PJ Media, here’s a glimpse of the blogs that comprises it.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

24 thoughts on “Ça Ira

  1. On the homefront I just hate it when Indonesian terrorists are meddling with the political affairs of the Filipino and Muslim Mindanaons. Christ I hope these fuckers would just leave our islands alone and go back to their own freakin archipelago. Their making it out to be a Christian versus Muslim fight when it’s not. True Mindanao Muslims have been displaced on their ancestral lands but does that give them the right to blow up women and children? The displacement of Muslims Mindanaons was a result of bad government policy of the Marcos administration. It’s not the will of the Filipino Christians that this be done, so why are these fuckers blowing us up?

    Indonesians are doing the same thing, relocating Muslim populations to non-Muslim, Christian/”Heathen”/”Infidel”/Animist strong holds in North Sumatra, displacing the non-Muslim populations. Maybe us Catholic Filipinos should go to Indonesia and start blowing up innocent Muslims?

    Of course we won’t be doing that because we’re a civilized lot who don’t view this as a Christian vs. Muslim fight.

  2. The Philippines is the First Iraq. IS. Filipinos should participate in the history of 21st Century, not be hypnotized by the 19th’s romanticism, or paralyzed by the 20th’s resentments.

  3. Dean B., I agree about not being hypnotized by the romanticism of the 19th Century or paralyzed by resentments of the 20th Century, now how do you suggest Filipinos participate in the history of the 21st Century?

  4. Being the reader of Ricky Carandang you were referring to, I’d just like to make a clarification. I wholly agree that there can never be such a thing as a benevolent dictatorship, since a dictatorship by its very definition can never insure justice for its entire populace. I was merely using the popular term for those states I’d mentioned. Perhaps a better term would have been “capitalist-authoritarian state”, clunky though it may be. And being on the subject of terms, “regimented creativity”, as suggested in your post today, is, I admit, more appropriate than “limited creativity” when referring to Singapore’s current policies.

  5. Carl:
    How do Filipinos participate in making the history of the 21st Century? By being its first Citizens and not its last victims. Millions of OFWs have already done so, unknowingly becoming the very first global human beings. Diaspora has enriched us. They are stateless for abandoning the decrepit situation in the archipelago, but not world-less for they have become a part of SOMETHING that will survive the coming Storm. The future belongs to those who believe in SOMETHING, and are willing to defend it. What do WE believe in? What’s worth defending, to us?

  6. Those French and their revolutions.
    Rizal ideally thought that the French revolution should be emulated in the Philippines but historians told us he backtracked and had nothing to do with its implementation.

    With the riots now supposedly trigerred by the death of two teeners is like Les Miseble all over again ;although not exactly parallel it almost is.

    The poor undernourished gypsies are now represented by afro arab citizens and as of this writingg the riots are spreading to central Paris. Fortunately no one would say let them have their cake and eat it too, but their was this parliamentarian who said all must be punished.

    I hope it wont resort ot those arab French resorting to suicide bombing.

    Although almost a year late I am reminded of that movie starring Orlando Bloom sorry mental block is upon me right now. It showed that Arabs have their good side by sticking to the previous agreement and not killing the crusaders.
    Where did those crusaders come from / france.I blelieve

    Damn that saying that if we do not learn from history it is bound to repeat itself…is right, afterall.

    About the comment that this is the 21st century we should forget about romanticism of the 19th and so on….

    I would want to agree but we must also not forget to learn from recent history at the same time not dwell on it and move on.

    As a matter of fact I would want to forget very recent history este news and move on but we are not in a vaccum…
    we will continue to hear read and for others write the news.
    We could either learn from it or don’t care at all.

    Going back to that blogosphere issue.
    I agree it is testing the waters for our legal system..it may eventually reach the supreme court. Or the good DOJ sec might as well charge each and every blogger with inciting to sedition and raid all their houses and confiscate their hard drives.

    Seriously speaking… are TROs suppose to be after the fact?

    If the damge has been done if they would call it damage, then sue for damage,libel,slander or what not(Iam no lawyer pardon the ignorance).

  7. KARL:
    I am more optimistic about the French than you seem to be. I think Paris could be Europe’s Pearl Harbor in the War on Terrorism.

  8. for DJB:
    Many thanks.
    Although it seemed ominous rather than optimistic.Oh, I get it…..or did I? 🙂

    Rather than display my slowness let me move to the INQ article “A democratic endeavor”.

    I do hope the CCTA would do something dramatic enough to garner support, they must have taken notes by now and not wait for June unless they want to file another impeachment complaint.

  9. “Paris could be Europe’s Pearl Harbor in the War on Terrorism.” – How can we participate in making history in the 21st century if we’re stuck with mid-20th century analogies?

  10. What do we believe in? What’s worth defending? – On a personal level, I could cite a certain amount of things. However, when I try to put myself in the shoes of the average Filipino, the answer that most resonates is: FAMILY! On both counts.

  11. CVJ: the analogy is only to meant to draw an ironic parallel. America was late getting into the fight with Nazi Germany by 3 years from the date Poland was invaded. Now Europe is late getting into the War on Terrorism. But if Paris becomes Baghdad–and 1400 cars torched and incinerated in 15 cities last night sounds like it is already–then France could be lost, incredible as that may seem. i don’t believe 11 straight days of this is just juvenile delinquency.

  12. DJB: We have to distinguish between terrorism and anarchy. To lump the rioters with terrorists on account of their religion or culture strikes me as muddled classification. Much more than Europe, the USA has been delinquent in the ‘war on terrorism’ given that they have willfully distracted themselves with their adventure in Iraq.

  13. Paris appears to be paying for its alienation of ethnic minorities. No revolution in that. Retribution siguro. Fukuyama noted that the children of immigrants, grown on foreign soil, tend to lose part of their cultural anchor in a place where they are neither here nor there and extremism offers something solid and full of energy, a smoldering anger, perhaps more attractive than the normal alternatives. We Filipinos can’t relate to that because we haven’t experienced major spontaneous ethnic violence or had sudden internecine bloodbaths like the Indon attack on commies in the 60s and the anti-Chinese riots in Malaysia in the same period. Or the Indon anti-Chinese killings in the 90s.

  14. cvj: Agreed, the rioters are not the terrorists. They’re cannon fodder. When I say “terrorist” I refer to a force that consists of less than 20,000 professional jihadists spread throughout the world in a global terror network loosely bound to the organization called Al Qaeda. But if I were Al Qaeda I might now want to turn Paris into Baghdad by funding and organizing the Intifada of l’underclass. BTW, the fact that the terrorists in AQ just happen to be Muslims is not MY choice. Frankly I could care less if they were Buddhists or Martians. I’m not lumping anyone together that ain’t lumped together to begin with. I’m not saying they’re terrorists because they’re Muslims. They are terrorists because they intentionally mass murder innocent people, mostly other Muslims!

  15. Yeah F. what we have in the Philippines is a government-instigated violence against the Muslim population. Most non-Muslims citizens don’t approve of this. I hope the Muslims, especially the Rajah Solayman group, the Abu Sayyaf, and the Indonesian JI terrorists understand this.

    We don’t want our government bombing your ancestral areas, so don’t be mad at us and bomb the ferries and the buses and trains that most of us non-Muslims use. Bomb the government, specifically the soldiers. Go back to conventional warfare.

  16. Sayimg that we Filipinos cannot relate, I agree we seem to tame notwithstanding the Abu sayaff, MILF,MNLF etc..etc.
    They still have not resorted to ethnic cleansing.

    But to say that we do not have rioters, have you forgotten Edsa3, I can call that a riot. It is agood thing it did not escalate for lack of credible backing. Everyone diswoned it. Those charged with rebellion claimed innocence.
    JPE who was thye so called trigger to martial law by the fake assisination attempt was agin the usual suspect but of course there was not enough evidence.

    I am glad that one can still say that we cannot relate to terrorism even with our protests infiltrated by communists oor if not infiltrated led by bthem.

    Ours is the longest battle of ideologies ….we still hav e communism where it fell 15 years ago.
    Pardon those who don’t want to hear historical comments.
    We Filipinos have been been in the Muslim Christian war since the 14th century …..tht’s all!

  17. I copied and paste the exerpt below…

    Here is what Prof. Alex Magno has to say…..
    The nightly riots now occurring in France is due to social stresses created by rising unemployment. That rising unemployment is due, in turn, to heavy state involvement in wage-setting and policies that induce employment rigidity. What might have seemed to be soft-hearted economic policies unintentionally created much social pain

  18. But immigrants/immigrant muslims are not the only ones losing their jobs. So they lost their jobs or couldn’t find any, get fucking over it! Is that enough reason for them to burn other people’s property?

    These people should stop using their religion or ethnicity as an escapegoat to cause an orgy of mayhem.

  19. karl, my personal view was that Edsa 3 was the armed component of what the 1998 elections were: a revolt by the poor, etc. The only reason Edsa 3 failed was that its leaders disappeared just when the fighting began.

  20. Sir
    Again I acknowledge and appreciate the comment.

    I may have confused ethnicity with poverty as absolut have said and the point was we Filipinos can relate to the French tragedy.. only that we are too tame or positively stated too civilized.
    I see parliamentarian in neighboring countries beat the hell up of each other..good thing for us shouting is enough to release our tensions.
    I pity the poor as always …when they thought they have a champion, the contender outmaneuvered the champ.

    When they wanted their champion back the towel boys, the trainers and the rest left their champ to be knocked out.

  21. Funny how further reading can do alot of wonders…..

    That 68 Riot which caused de Gaul to resort to reforms and as the the US riot cause Nixon a few years later to resign…….
    Somewhere in the fareast….In vietnam the French were being
    massacred which then lead to the Vietnam war I don’t know what the relationship is hen suddenly the US who were having their own wood stock hyppie grass sniffing Forrest gumps to be drafted.
    I don’t know for the life of me that Howard Hughes and Onassis got in the picture of the vietnam war.The character of Mel gibson in conspiracy theories sure had a wacked up brain for saying that is was a bet……

    Conspiracy theories nothing is coincidence everything is connected mumbo jumbo……
    Heck in the Philippines it was a riot too. Before that sad LP bombing which mayor Atienza kept reminding us that he does not want repeated so the no permit no rally has to happen.
    We had hyppies too and fashionistas a mix of both worlds of the us and french who suddenly became activists and the rest is history…..

    We can try hard to put pieces together in a jigsaw puzzle

    They say that in France we now have Chiracs in US they had CLintons as products of the riot era.
    Does your mindset and values when you were a teen stick with you 3 decades later when you are already governing.

    I am not sure if the riots in the 199os in the uS was the time of George SR. BUt the heck it was the gulf war then
    and California was having an energy crisis and the rest of the domino effects that accompanied it which in turn was traced to the economy.
    So who is stupid! According to Clinton its the economy so his defiance of the vietnam war and the gulf war showed consistency.
    As for Chirac I can’t see any parallelism to De Gaul’s period The french massacre was the cause of vietnam war well one of them anyways and just recently he was against the war on terror. I don’t know if he still is with all those ugly things happening.
    No need to connect the dots for our case but because I can’t help it here it goes…..

    During the 68 period while the damn war was happening abroad student activists were aplently in the Philippines
    back to the present while that war on terror going on
    riots are again like WILDFIRE!

    Funny how you can have ceteris parabus where everything else is equal by simply erasing all the other factors.

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