Wednesday, November 16


So: Student leader disrupts Clinton forum in Manila

The terrain of US-RP relations is a tumultuous one. We need not look too far to realize that Uncle Sam's hand is a long, sticky tentacle; that indeed when the US catches a cold, the Philippines sneezes. And so do not tell me about civility and there being a proper forum for everything. There is no "proper forum" when Guatemalans were intentionally infected with syphilis as part of a medical experiment, no "civility" as generations of Vietnamese suffer through the devastation of Agent Orange, no "decency" with some 80 million unexploded landmines remaining in the Laotian hinterlands, and, most oppressive of all because it is most invisible, no "decorum" involved when it comes to how aid entrenches and perpetuates, rather than alleviate, poverty. Good conduct is foolish in the crossfire. Righteous indignation is rightly indignant and never apologetic.

But lest we be accused of mindless sloganeering, we proceed to a theoretical framework. You see this is well within the same discourse that governs lighting rallies at graduation ceremonies, graffiti, boycotts, and even the Occupy movement. This is about power, and seizing - willfully, by force - power because we have been rendered powerless. In a public forum where such trivial things like the contents of Clinton's purse and her fondness for Pacquiao take centerstage (a relief, we're sure, to this insecure nation), a passing mention of the Mutual Defense Treaty and a pertinent call for its abrogation - shouted angrily, from the sidelines, from a young person's mouth - are welcome, if not necessary, departures. It is a repudation of the apolitical nonchalance that organizers wish to gloss over the event by calling it "Conversation in Manila." Manila: this city with a death toll that reached hundreds of thousands in World War II. This city that saw the consistent, and permitted, intereference of foreign powers. This city that is now, as a result, on its knees: "a fucking armpit," "a hell-hole," "a city with apockmarked face and a horrible limp." Conversation: this supposedly civilized discourse. The burden of civility - all things given - is yours.

And so to condone the many sins of the US, symbolically represented by Hillary Clinton, against the Philippines and the world just because we need an ally in the face of supposed aggression by China (although what other country has historically shown a hunger, a capacity for aggression more than US itself?) is cowardly opportunism at best and dogged subservience at worst. It naively turns a blind eye to the historic struggle of Filipinos to clip the wings of imperialism, be it in Balanggiga, in Olongapo, in Manila Bay, indeed, in the thousands of call center facilities in the country. It is an uneven relationship to begin with: talking will have to wait.


  1. Hello Glenn. Kamusta? I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to the entry. I understand where you are coming from. I wasn't saying it is wrong to feel angry at Noynoy.

    What I tried to point out was that, yes, people can and will have reactions to events. But what I was pointing out is perhaps, it may be unfair to demand that everyone MUST feel the same way.

    If I am angry, you must be angry too. Or else, you're a bad person.

    Perhaps we can all respect each others' views? Then maybe, we will be more compassionate and understanding.

    Cheers! =)


  2. I have no idea what you are talking about, stranger.

  3. Oh my gadd, I'm so sorry. Someone pasted a link, and I thought it was you. I assumed incorrectly, my mistake.