Sunday, July 09, 2006

Smelling Red and Glue

Inebriated with power and money, a person begins to see and interestingly, smell things. That’s how I will describe National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzalez, a former fellow-activist and revolutionary in the struggle against the Marcos Dictatorship. When the Great Glue went to Isabela with her staff, Bishop Ramon Villena proposed that instead of pursuing all out war with the New People’s Army, why not pursue all out peace, or restore the peace process.

The good Bishop’s suggestion was shot down there and then by anti-left sniper Norberto Gonzalez. Elsewhere Bishop Deogracias Iniguez made a similar suggestion and also clarified that even if the government succeeds in killing all the NPA’s, this does not signal the end of insurgency. Insurgency according to Bishop Iniguez is a hydra. In fact insurgency and trapos seem to feed on each other. You cut off the head of the Marcos hydra, in no time you have several uglier heads regenerating elsewhere. Isn’t Marcos more alive and kicking now? Where are his wife, children and cronies? Insurgency exists where there are trapos. People will become insurgents and dissidents where leaders are corrupt and dishonest.

The anti-communist, anti-left sniffing campaign classically employed by the CIA as a smoke screen to conceal their own operations in any part of the world was heartily adopted by regimes totally subservient to American policy. Marcos had to become an anti-communist hound, smelling a communist wherever and whenever there was any kind of commotion whether it was glaringly or even vaguely political. That is why all this anti-Red sniffing is altogether suspect.
Paranoia does not limit itself to the eyes. When one is afraid of ghosts, the moment it is dark one is prey to imagining ghosts.

I wonder whether, the Great Glue and her sniper Bert are really afraid of NPA’s, so afraid that they must try to exterminate these in two years. Fighting a real enemy is one thing, fighting an imagined enemy is something else. When we fought the Marcos dictatorship in the 70’s and 80’s, Bert and I were on the same camp analyzing a concrete and murderous dictatorship. No, Marcos was not a pigment of our imagination. Now, sadly Bert and I are on different fronts. I continue to analyze and fight the stubborn survival and regeneration of dictatorship while Bert sits with the Great Glue smelling and seeing red all over. (By the way, smelling or sniffing can be blunted by a substance poor addicts find in cheap glue.)

Something about the Great Glue that encourages this awesome anti-NPA and indiscriminate anti-Left sniffing. It’s the very essence of the Great Old Glue, Mammon. A good number of my friends have gotten stuck, better “Glued” to their seats of power, money and privilege. When Bishops Villena and Iniquez insisted on giving peace a chance, they were in fact inviting government to smell the people and train their noses to sense and breathe peace once again. There is a different war that needs to be fought without the smell of gunpowder or the imagined smell of the Reds.

Many years ago, Bert and I would walk among the poor whether in city or barrio. We did not only smell them but we began to smell like them. Many years later, I continue walking and at times running among the poor, praying and wishing to always know, understand and even embrace their smell. Bert now smells Red, Gun powder and lots of Glue. I wonder whether he can still recognize and at least remember what we used to smell and smell like before ?

Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
GOMBURZA, June 21, 2006


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