Professor Roland G. Simbulan
University of the Philippines
This is hunting season for alleged terrorists worldwide. That is why this season’s editorial will focus on a dedicated Filipino revolutionary, Professor Jose Ma. Sison, whom the United States government has recently branded as a “foreign terrorist”. As such, the United States has pressured the government of the Netherlands, where Mr. Sison is a political refugee, as well as the European Union, to freeze Mr. Sison’s personal bank accounts and to treat him as a foreign terrorist with no rights to speak of. He is also most probably one of those on the top of the list of U.S. President Bush’s CIA assassination teams.
Who is Mr. Jose Ma. Sison, and what has he done to deserve such sanctions and fate? Why is he so much feared by the United States government and its lackeys in the Philippines?
Joema, as he is fondly called by his friends and colleagues, was an English professor at the University of the Philippines in the early 60s. In 1964, he founded the militant youth organization, Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth) which spearheaded the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations in the Philippines and which became a leading mass organization of youth and students during the First Quarter Storm in the 70s. His two books, STRUGGLE FOR NATIONAL DEMOCRACY and PHILIPPINE SOCIETY AND REVOLUTION (written under the nom de guerre Amado Guerrero) are among the most widely read books in the Philippines. Sison’s writings continue to wield an enduring influence in Philippine politics especially among the country’s youth.
Forced to go into hiding with his family because of threats to his life by the Marcos dictatorship, Sison, with his prolific and incisive political analyses matched by solid organizational acumen, led the building of a national grassroots movement of workers, peasants, indigenous peoples, teachers, urban poor and youth and religious sectors. This grassroots political movement played a vital role in the dismantling of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Mr. Sison was arrested and imprisoned by the Marcos dictatorship for ten years till the dictatorship’s overthrow.
Though born in a wealthy landlord clan in the province of Ilocos Sur, Sison, since his university days, has dedicated his entire life, energy and writings to the national and social liberation of peasants, workers and other oppressed sectors of Philippine society. As a revolutionary poet, Sison once wrote of these exploited sectors he fought for:
“On one face are toilers Varied with pike and ore Crucible, hammer and anvil, Water and whetstone. Plow and carabao on soil, The oyster in the sea, Carving and etching tools, Bowl of acid on a table. On the other face Are the same workmen massed Upright and poised to fight Behind the radiant flag.”
Even while handcuffed on one hand to his cot in his isolated prison cell (bartolina) in 1978, he composed this line in a poem of his optimistic vision for his land:
“The children of the soil shall be freed Of yoke and terror in their country They shall stand against any monster And win by wit and engulfing number.”
This is the vision of a selfless and extraordinary man who has dedicated his entire life for a new Philippines that is just, egalitarian, self-reliant and sustainable:
• Where people are guaranteed their right to life and enjoy provision for basic human needs, and whose national organs of governance exercise sovereignty;
• Where those who toil on the land are given their due as responsible stewards, thereby effecting a primary redistribution of land as the source of life;
• Where those who work in industries are given an equitable share in the fruits of their labor as well as participation in management and decision-making as a basic right;
• Where basic and vital industries are under the effective control of the national community, not in the hands of the privileged economic elite;
• Where powerless sectors comprising the majority of society such as the peasants, workers, fisherfolk, urban poor and national minorities are empowered and are effectively represented in organs of governance; and where women, youth and children are also recognized and empowered;
• And where there is interplay of views and strong adherence to protection and promotion of human rights, encompassing both individual liberties as well as the rights of people in responsible and responsive community.
So, if the above is your vision too, AND YOU SINCERELY TRY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE PRESENT SITUATION, beware. You could be next in the United States’ foreign terrorist hit list!
A Merry, Merry Christmas to all and a WAR-FREE New Year! And these wishes are also extended especially for Bush and his oil-rich company of warmongers.
And to all those who do not agree with our views, are unhappy about us, or mean us harm: You are all in our thoughts and prayers and well wishes not only for this season but in every day of the year.
December 5, 2002
* Article by Roland G Simbulan – For a full professional background of Professor Roland G. Simbulan (Click Here)