detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Thursday, March 29, 2001


: . The brutal Armed Forces of the Philippines and the bourgeois elites in Makati and Ortigas now have yet another reason to rejoice: Mass graves have been found in Mindanao filled with the bones of victims from the purges of the New People's Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines. With this unearthing, the Philippines has now secured for itself a footnote or maybe even a full paragraph in future editions of The Black Book of Communism. So what now?

: . The Visitor:

In Spanish he whispers there is no time left.
It is the sound of scythes arcing in wheat,
the ache of a field song in Salvador.
The wind along the prison, cautious
as Francisco's hands on the inside, touching
the walls as he walks, it is his wife's breath
slipping into his cell each night while he
imagines his hand to be hers. It is a small country.

There is nothing one man will not do to another.
--Carolyn Forche

: . In his most recent column in Filipinas magazine, Emil Guillermo makes a distinction between two groups of Filipinos in America, the head Filipinos and the heart Filipinos. Head Filipinos arrived in America within the last five years. Heart Filipinos are American-born. Head Filipinos are the real Filipinos. Heart Filipinos only “smell Filipino” but they’re not “really Filipino.” Head Filipinos are “in a totally objective zone” regarding the Philippines. “Ask them about the Philippines and they’ll be totally honest.” Ask them about PPII and they’ll say “It won’t make a difference.” Head Filipinos make sense. Heart Filipinos “get all sensitive about democracy and freedom and all that.” Ask them about PPII and they’ll “get caught up in ‘feel-good’ rhetoric.” Heart Filipinos are “idealistic.” In the end though, all Filipinos in America, head Filipinos and heart Filipinos, are “realistic about home.” Home is a trap for all Filipinos, in the Philippines. “Hope lies elsewhere.”

: . Slavoj Zizek: The predominant form of today's 'politically correct' moralism...is that of Nietzschean ressentiment and envy: it is the fake gesture of disavowed politics, the assuming of a 'moral', depoliticised position in order to make a stronger political case...The ultimate cause of this moralistic depoliticisation is the retreat of the Marxist historico-political project. A couple of decades ago, people were still discussing the political future of humanity - will capitalism prevail or will it be supplanted by Communism or another form of 'totalitarianism'? - while silently accepting that, somehow, social life would continue. Today, we can easily imagine the extinction of the human race, but it is impossible to imagine a radical change of the social system - even if life on earth disappears, capitalism will somehow remain intact. In this situation, disappointed Leftists, who are convinced that radical change of the existing liberal-democratic capitalist system is no longer possible, but who are unable to renounce their passionate attachment to global change, invest their excess of political energy in an abstract and excessively rigid moralising stance.

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