Will You Support the Global Protest vs China on May 11? asks gel santos relos:
Amidst rising tension between China and the Philippines, National Chair of the US Pinoys for Good Governance(USP4GG) Loida Nicolas Lewis called on Filipinos to organize rallies and demonstrations in front of China’s embassies and consulates throughout the world on May 11 to protest China’s recent aggressive encroachments on the Philippines’ Scarborough Shoal.
Lewis especially reached out to the Global Filipino Diaspora Council representing 12 million Filipinos in 220 countries throughout the world. The planned protest actions will take place in major cities like Washington DC, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Vancouver, Sydney, Singapore, Rome and Hongkong.
“The most important thing is that they see that the global community led by Filipinos is going to stand up to their bullying. They should be shamed for bullying a tiny country like the Philippines,” Lewis said on The Filipino Channel’s daily newscast “Balitang America” last week.
it does seems like the patriotic thing to do, assert our sovereignty over scarborough shoal and call out china for “bullying” our tiny country. i can already see cnn and bbc and aljazeera covering these worldwide protests, complete with celebrities and ofws, tampok na naman tayo, pinoys of the world, unite!
of course it’s the right thing to do. because if we don’t, who knows how much closer china’s claws will reach the next time. better to stop them now by all means possible.
but please let’s not delude ourselves that we are stunning the world by standing up to beijing. if anything, i would think the world is snickering at our david-vs-goliath dramatics, especially now that america has unequivocally declared its neutrality vis-a-vis PH-China disputes over the spratlys and scarborough.
The Philippines received standard assurances that the United States will help build its sea patrol capability, but with the caveat that the most powerful country in the world will not take sides in its ongoing territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea — which even the US Secretary of State called by its internationally recognized name.
“While we do not take sides on the competing sovereignty claims to land features in the South China Sea, as a Pacific power we have a national interest in freedom of navigation, the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, and the unimpeded, lawful commerce across our sea lanes,” Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said.
now we know. all america cares about is keeping those sea lanes open. america doesn’t care that the rejection makes us look, and feel, like fools. pinaasa tayo, e basted pala. pumayag tayo sa “visiting forces” kasi kabalikat daw natin sila in security matters. now these “visitors,” these guests, are quibbling and refusing to back us up over sea matters. what kind of guests are these, medyo bastos, di ba? and what kind of hosts are we, to tolerate such inappropriate politics? medyo suckers, di ba? kung overstaying bisita ‘yan sa bahay ko, at di pala maaasahan to sympathize with and protect my family’s interests, i would have no qualms about asking them to leave, mga walang utang na loob.
i know, i know, it’s not that simple, getting rid of america, even if we wanted to. sana lang we become a little more critical of the “special” relationship. it’s supposed to be good for us, but is it, really?
read gina apostol’s In the Philippines: Haunted by History
On the Philippine side … the relationship with America looms like Donald Barthelme’s balloon, a deep metaphysical discomfort arising from an inexplicable physical presence. In Barthelme’s story “The Balloon,” a huge glob inflates over Manhattan, affecting ordinary acts of puzzled citizens for no apparent reason. American involvement in Filipino affairs sometimes seems like that balloon, spurring fathomless dread. Bursts of anxiety over the bases’ return pop up every time America finds a new enemy.
… When George W. Bush declared his war on terror in 2001, many Filipinos wondered whether a new airport on Mindanao, where American soldiers had increased so-called training operations, was big enough to land an F-14. Nations see global affairs through amusingly paranoid lenses, but as Filipinos joke, just because one is paranoid doesn’t mean no one is out to plant a huge airstrip that might conveniently land a fighter jet.
When Raytheon, the defense contractor, repeatedly consulted with visiting American forces last year about making “dumb” bombs “smart,” and in February actual smart bombs fell on Mindanao, killing alleged jihadists from Malaysia and Singapore, editorials came up with a familiar specter. “Forward base,” one pundit said.
The bases haunt us because they emerged during a dreamspace, when we still believed in our capacity for revolution. America “friended” the Philippines during our 1896 war against Spain then “unfriended” us when it paid Spain $20 million dollars for the islands in 1899. The building of military installations began apace, in step with the trauma of our sense of betrayal.
… American policy has always benefited the Filipino elite — the Marcoses, the Macapagal-Arroyos and the current presidential family, the Cojuangco-Aquinos, are among the handful who have reaped a bonanza. The interests of the oligarchy are the ties that bind. Our spectral angst is not so immaterial: our dread is drenched in military dollars and haunted by civilian blood.
After Mr. Bush declared the Philippines “a major non-NATO ally,” his government gave the last president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid. Mrs. Macapagal Arroyo famously boasted in 2004 that she “inherited” United States military aid of “$1.9 million only” but that “our military support is now $400 million and still counting.” She crowed, “We are No. 1 in East Asia and No. 4 in the whole world.”
The State Department’s Human Rights Report notes that security forces under Mrs. Macapagal Arroyo’s rule were responsible for “arbitrary, unlawful, and extrajudicial killings, disappearances, physical and psychological abuses,” and that the Philippine National Police force was “the worst abuser of human rights.”
She is now under house arrest. And her Ampatuan allies on Mindanao are in jail for their roles in the brazen 2009 election massacre of 57 people, including about 30 journalists — digging pits with a government backhoe and gunning victims down point-blank. When the bodies were found, the backhoe was still running, spewing dirt from shallow graves. Corazon Aquino’s son, Noynoy, is now president, and Mr. Marcos’s old defense minister is the Senate president, prosecuting corruption in Mrs. Macapagal Arroyo’s government, whose military reaped the rewards of Mr. Bush’s “global war on terror.”
Raytheon’s smart bombs were sold under a confidential treaty and Mr. Aquino says that American troops “are here as advisers.” But hands are being wrung: when drones start dropping by, who will need a military base — or even a constitution? As psychiatrists say, repetition is the site of trauma. And in the Philippines recursion is our curse. Mount Pinatubo is still trembling.
Gina Apostol is the author of “The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata” and “Gun Dealers’ Daughter,” and an English teacher in Massachusetts.