JUFRAN Blog: “Turning silence into song”

For the JUFRAN workshop two weeks ago, we showed the interns a documentary called “That the Mountains May Chant the Truth”. It talked about the human rights situation in the context of the Cordillera region of the Philippines. Two summers ago, members of LFS’ Baliksambayanan Exposure Trip integrated with the Cordillera Peoples Alliance. There they saw for themselves the struggle indigenous people in the Philippines face. They’re fighting to preserve their culture, their land, and their people. Unfortunately, those are the same reasons why activists are being targeted and organizations like CPA face repression from their own government. This entry was written by JUFRANian Ian Conde, who is also a member of Anakbayan- East Bay.

Hello,

As much the ND (National Democratic) Movement here in the United States is moving in support of the movement back home in the motherland, the cause is rooted deeper back home. The different sectors are exploited. Women. Youth/Students. Workers. Peasants.  When we all watched the video from the CPA (Cordilleras People’s Alliance) all I can ever really think of was the STK (Stop The Killings) Campaign waged by BAYAN USA. I wear two pins on my backpack to not only show them off as an accessory, but a way to show people what I’m about. I get the occasional “what are those pins for?” & I can tell them with full confidence what they’re for, where I got them, & why I have them on.  As I mentioned the enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings have been escalated ever since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took office in the RP (Republic of the Philippines.) We may feel anger as our first impulsive emotion when we see videos that are really good at agitating an issue, but as the quote in the video says

“Turning silence into song,”

which I believe is to transform our sorrow, anger, anything negative we feel into something that can be a positive motivating force.  I think this is where “Patience, Understanding, Loyalty” comes in. Sound familiar? It’s a lyric from “Loyalty” by the Blue Scholars.  To maintain “Loyalty” to the people, we gotta have the “Patience” to try and understand who the real enemy is. To have that “Understanding” that a death squad in Mindanao or in the Cordi’s were sent out to kill or kidnap by someone. We just gotta keep on asking the questions, who sent them?, who trained these Filipinos to kill Filipinos? Obviously the GMA puppet administration backed by the U.S. The Balikatan Exercises in the Philippines allow the United States to send their own troops and have joint exercises which totally violates the constitution where foreign troops aren’t allowed in Philippine soil. The root cause is again, U.S. Imperialism. Our tax dollars fund these death squads.  The money we send back home to our families also help fund these death squads.

The thing that trips me the most, is that it’s Filipinos killing Filipinos. That’s some insane brainwashing, conditioning done to our own people.  I shared that my biological Father was a AFP Marine stationed in Mindanao around the 80’s. I talk to my mom and all she can ever tell me that he was the nicest man in the world. That position in the military is a job. It gets something paid. The system has pitted Filipino versus Filipino. It really is some genius work the people in power have done. They’re working so hard to keep us down.  Videos like the one we watched are just really good refreshers why it’s important to do what we do.  To see such a powerful message in that video gave me goosebumps… I’d also like to admit that whenever I witness the movement through a video, a “makibaka!” that thunders the streets, I naturally get goose bumps. I have no idea why, but like I said, it was a good refresher for me and a good agitation tool for others.

Here’s a couple of videos that a fellow Kasama I look up to named Ivan made…

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