Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Letter to Nicole

Just a short note, by way of reminding all that at the center of all the legal, diplomatic and political verbiage on the Subic rape case, is a young woman, not only sexually assaulted and humiliated, but betrayed so thoroughly by those with the power and the responsibility to protect her and lend her justice.

I read about all the issues swirling around you, Nicole, in the various newspapers and Internet news services, and wish we could know you in all your fortitude. I wish we could say "we feel your pain" but we can't really, only imagine it.

I am tempted to say you have already made history; that at least, you got one convicted, at least you got a trial, at least you precipitated a crisis, at least… But that is a cop-out. Filipinos have been trained to live on the “at-least” level. I hear it all the time, from exported Filipinas: at least, you have a job; at least, you’re in the US; at least, you can send money home; at least, your amo (master) is kind; at least… It’s become our prime and only virtue: survival by whatever means, under whatever conditions. I hear it often from women who work 18/7 to enable parents, siblings and various relations to continue to exist in an archipelago so wealthy it’s globalization’s paradise.

There are no words of comfort to make up for this travesty, to you and to millions of Filipinas living lives of quiet desperation. The Philippines ranks fifth in the world in the number of women working. The first four are all Western developed nations, like Sweden, Denmark, etc. It is a painful irony that a country dependent on women’s labor does not have the political will to defend, protect and assert one woman’s right to redress of grievance.

What the US and the Philippine government have connived to teach you is imperialism’s most insidious lesson: that whatever you do is an exercise in futility, because you are a citizen of a client state, because your country is a claptrap Third World country without power, because your government is a failed government, because your country is not independent, because you are part of a “colored” race, and because there are among you people who prefer survival to dignity and honor.

This is the first lesson of slavery, of course: that sense of futility and helplessness, of powerlessness; of being always in the wrong and the master always in the right. Hence, the contemptible spectacle of some Filipinas lighting candles for a convicted rapist and the equally contemptible spectacle of a priest who had lived parasitically almost his entire life on the Church contributions of the poor of the Philippines denying the veracity of a court trial to defend a member of the master race. What makes this race a master is the equally contemptible willingness of the country’s so-called rulers to be enslaved, thereby dragging the whole nation into enslavement.

Do not accept this. Do not abide by this lesson in powerlessness. Do not internalize powerlessness. That is the first step to slavery.

The only thing we can offer, those of us who also work 18/7 scampering to correct each sliver of injustice, each instance of exploitation, each whiplash of racism in this country, are the words we live by: to the degree that you struggle against suppression, to that degree are you already free; to the degree that you resist imperialism, to that degree are you already liberated.

And if it’s any comfort, know that you were done in, not by the US marines whom you bested, but by a cabal of four-letter men and one five-letter woman masquerading as Filipinos.

So, go for it, girl, ignore the “at-leasts” and keep on truckin’ to victory, if not by way of the courts, then some other way.

Surrender is not an option.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

What yu crowing about -- one conviction in a hundred years? Face reality; you are slaves.

banana choked said...

anonymous, ain't it a huge kick in the balls if slaves cause masters to bleed?

well, i think you are one shameless american hiding behind the mask of the word "anonymous"...shame on you who feels like one invincible master when you are not.

And wait, face it yourself.


Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith raped Nicole. And he was convicted of raping a Filipina.

Face that again. Painfully.

Anonymous said...

Subic allaged-rape case from Malaya opinion column of Dahli Aspillera:
"[Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Benjamin
Pozon] disregarded the evidence presented by the
defense that would have proven [Daniel Smith's]
innocence. I really don’t think Daniel was
guilty. The judge took every word of the
prosecution as if it were gospel truth, but did
not give a bit [of credence] to the words of the
defense. Smith didn’t rape Nicole; that what
they had was a consensual sexual act."--Fr. James
Reuter Society of Jesus, Catholic Church’s National Office of
the Mass Media.

"Women should be taught that womanhood is
precious and noble, so it is not right for them
to be flaunting [their femaleness] around. They
should not make themselves appear cheap,
practically inviting to be violated by
men.”--Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Lingayen-Dagupan
Archdiocese.

"...Most everyone I talked with, and most of them
were women, came down hard on Nicole. They
decried her drunkenness, her demeanor, even the
fact that she was in a bar at all. No one--and I
mean no one--ever denounced Lance Cpl. Daniel
Smith and his cohorts. Everyone seemed to find it
inevitable, even natural, for an American Marine
or any man for that matter, to take advantage of
a young woman who was so smashed she couldn’t
even walk straight...."--Rina Jimenez-David,
Inquirer.

"The custody of any United States personnel over
whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction
shall immediately reside with United States
military authorities, if they so request, from
the commission of the offense until completion of
all judicial proceedings. We have to follow and respect the Visiting
Forces Agreement. The VFA, being a treaty, has
the effect of a law and thus prevails over
Pozon’s to detain Smith at the Makati jail.
The
provisions of the VFA should take precedence over
court order because a treaty is part of the laws
of the land. Pozon should go back to the VFA
provision because the court was supposed to have
judicial knowledge of the existence of
treaties."--Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez.

Gabriela grabbed this chance for an all-out
vengeful campaign against Americans. Gabriela
assigned their pawn a nom de deshonra--Nicole; in
the process destroying a gullible 21-year-old
American GI. Most 21-year-old males picking up
drunken flirty females in a bar are gullible.
Gabriela propped Nicole up everyday; surrounding
her with protective shield, hysterics, and lies.
Gabriela convinced Nicole that she is
immaculate--100 percent victim. Congratulations
to Gabriela for a job well done! Would the
chaste, moral, devoutly pious General Gabriela
Silang (March 19, 1731- September 29, 1763) have
approved?

Anonymous said...

it goes to show that for every perpetrator, there are enablers (govts and people) that allow violence to hide in secret and go unpunished. but as you said, to the degree that she exposed her rapists, fought against a kangaroo govt, she has already done so much to liberate herself -- and us, women, who everyday, are oppressed and silenced.

Anonymous said...

it goes to show that for every perpetrator, there are enablers (govts and people) that allow violence to hide in secret and go unpunished.

but as you said, to the degree that she exposed her rapists, fought against a kangaroo govt, she has already done so much to liberate herself -- and us, women, who everyday, are oppressed and silenced.

Ninotchka Rosca said...

If as the good archbishop Cruz says, womanhood is "precious and noble," then rapists should be decapitated.

Gabriela Silang was hanged by the Church and the Spanish colonizers as a witch and a rebel. And she did have a lover, the mestizo who betrayed her later to the powers that be.

Church people who don't criticize sex trafficking as well as the government's labor export policy which funnels thousands of Filipinas into the global sex trade have no right to be sententious on issues affecting women.

Considering that women sustain the national economy, they should keep in mind that the contributions amassed by the Church during masses likely comes from women who break their backs working as servants overseas or who make money lying on their backs.

Puzzled said...

The thing that bewilders me about this whole affair is why the Philippine government traded justice for a chance to have joint military exercises with the US and for its armed forces to be trained by the US military. Why do they want to be trained by the US military which lost in Korea, lost in Vietnam and is now losing in Iraq? Do they really want to develop a loser mentality?

banana choked said...

anonymous number 2: The nerve of you to (mis)quote Rina Jimenez-David's article. For crying out loud, you should have posted the whole article for all of us to know what she was actually saying .

I also read the article and it is a huge insult to Rina to be quoted alongside some catholic church leaders and Gonzales who all agreed that Smith did not rape Nicole.

And how can the catholic church, with all of its gory patriarchal history and nature, condemn the incident when they could not even denounce priests and bishops who abuse and rape young and handsome altar boys?

Anonymous said...

Blah-blah-blah. Fact is Smith got away with it, thanks to your president. Now I know what to do when I meet a Filipina in a dark alley.

banana choked said...

thanks for your blah-blah anon.

But guess, although i am no president gloria macapagal-arroyo fan, you will all the more hear me cry foul if the Filipina you will find in a dark ally is her.

besides, the president has already got herself a lover and a protector.

no need to look around the bush.