Editorial by Roland G. Simbulan
A FITTING TRIBUTE
During the 23rd national conference of the Association for Asian-American Studies(AAAS) to be held in Boston, Massachussetts on March 25-28, 2004 this month, an 89 year old friend and comrade in the global struggle for peace — Dr. Daniel Boone Schirmer –will be bestowed the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award by the AAAS. This will be in recognition for Dr. Schirmer’s enormous and significant contributions to the development of Filipino-American, Asian-American, and Philippine Studies over the past 35 years. Dr. Schirmer harnessed his academic contributions and committed scholarship in the struggle for world peace, justice and human rights, particularly in solidarity with the people’s movements in Asia such as those in the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Okinawa, Japan, East Timor and the South Pacific Islands struggling for self-determination and de-nuclearization.
Unlike other Harvard alumni who joined the government or corporate establishment to live a life of comfort, Boone( as Dr. Schirmer is fondly called) provided steadfast leadership and solidarity with the struggles of the peoples of Asia-Pacific over the past four decades. He is well-known in the Boston-New England region and is recognized by peace and human rights activists throughout the world.
I first met Boone during my academic sojourn in the United States in the 70s during the darkest days of Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law dictatorship. Boone was then the National Coordinator of the Friends of the Filipino People(FFP), an organization which he had helped found in 1973 to mobilize American peace, human rights and solidarity movements to educate the American people about the brutal Marcos dictatorship. The Friends of the Filipino People organized a vast national network of chapters in at least 12 American cities from the West to East Coast, including the Midwest American states.
Boone and his wife Peggy, a feminist educator, worked full time with the FFP which contributed immensely to the efforts to stop US military and political support for the Marcos dictatorship in the US by lobbying before the US government and Congress and educating the American public. Their efforts helped in no small way in the final “people power revolution” that helped topple the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.
The fall of the Marcos dictatorship found Boone and the FFP focusing their efforts in the campaign in the United States and North America to support the Filipino people’s struggle against the US military bases till they were successfully dismantled by the Filipino people in 1992. During all these years, those of us active in the Philippine peace movement have come to be personally acquainted with Boone during conferences, voluminous correspondence, and our visits to his Boston home, which always surely hosted visiting Philippine peacemakers and human rights advocates. We have all known him to be an indefatigable advocate for peace.
The “globalized” advocacy and activism that many in the peace movement are practicing today owe much to Boone’s internationalist or global way of thinking –even before the internet and e-mail was introduced–in linking and understanding BEYOND the political, social and cultural boundaries of our nations. Boone showed us thru his meticulous scholarship, teaching and activism the TRANSNATIONAL NATURE of peace advocacy because of the global nature of US imperialism . This, according to Boone, includes the global U.S. war machine , the militarism it has sponsored and armed, the global corporations that it promotes and protects, and the global institutions of domination imperialism has built up such as the IMF-World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, to name a few.
Two years ago, I wrote on the occasion of Philippine-American Friendship Day, a tribute to Boone that was published in the front pages of the largest circulating national newspaper in the country, the Philippine Daily Inquirer(July 4, 2002 issue). It was titled, “A Boone to the Filipino People” (see http://www.yonip.com/archives/misc/misc-00004.html).
As the Association for Asian-American Studies(AAAS) confers on Boone this Lifetime Achievement Award during its national conference in Boston, from our end in the Philippines, and on behalf of our peace movement, let me state that there can be no better and fitting tribute to Boone than for him to know that the struggle for peace and national sovereignty continues and will continue till final victory. We just wish we were there to celebrate this occasion with this great advocate for global peace.
Mabuhay si Boone! (Long Live Boone!)
Mabuhay ang Pandaigdigang Pagkakaisa Para sa Kapayapaan!
(Long Live International Solidarity for Global Peace!)
* Article by Roland G Simbulan – For a full professional background of Professor Roland G. Simbulan (Click Here)