detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Friday, October 01, 2004

: . Book of the Month

The Forbidden Book: The Philippine-American War in Political Cartoons
by Abe Ignacio, Enrique de la Cruz, Jorge Emmanuel, and Helen Toribio
San Francisco: T'boli Publishing and Distribution, 2004
Hardcover $65.00 (limited edition)/ Softcover $24.95, 176 pages
ISBN 1887764615

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    A Chicago Chronicle cartoon in January 1900 showed President McKinley preventing Uncle Sam from reading the "Forbidden Book" about the "true history of the war in the Philippines." Today, most Americans know nothing about a 15-year war with the Philippines that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos.

    On February 4, 1899, the United States went to war based on a false claim that Filipinos began attacking American soldiers in Manila. The first shots were actually fired by an American soldier as Filipinos crossed a bridge, and historians would later discover a "prearranged plan" by the U.S. military to precipitate a war as soon as an incident was provoked. Misled by false reports, the Senate passed (by one vote) a treaty to annex the Philippines. President McKinley would later justify the war by claiming that God had counseled him to take the Philippines in order to civilize and Christianize the Filipinos. What was really behind the annexation was the need for overseas markets and raw materials for American industry.

    Opposition to the war was led by the Anti-Imperialist League whose members included many prominent Americans including presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, suffragist Jane Addams, labor leader Samuel Gompers, African American activist Ida Wells Barnett, and writer Mark Twain. The "anti-imperialists" were branded as traitors by "pro-expansionists" and Filipinos were depicted as savages in order to de-legitimize their resistance to American occupation. American opposition to the war grew as more and more American soldiers died and as revelations of military atrocities, torture of prisoners, killing of Filipino children, and concentration camps surfaced in media reports, military trials, and a senate hearing. President
    Roosevelt prematurely declared the war over on July 4, 1902 but the last major battle was fought in 1913 and hostilities did not ceased until 1914. Some readers may find interesting parallels between the Philippine-American War and events of today.

    The book features eighty-eight colored cartoons taken from the pages of popular magazines, along with 133 black-and-white political cartoons reprinted from newspapers including San Francisco Evening Post, New York World, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, New Orleans Times-Democrat, Minnesota Journal, St. Louis Republic, Detroit News, Denver Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, etc. as well as Life, Harper's and Collier's Weekly. Twenty-seven historical photographs are added to compare with the cartoons' stereotypical depictions.

    The Introduction discusses America's economic transformation after the Civil War, the conditions facing the "other" America (immigrant labor, native Americans, Blacks, and Chinese), the Philippine Revolution for independence from Spain, Cuba and the Spanish American War, the decision to annex the Philippines, the start of the war, and the opposition to the war led by the Anti-Imperialist League. The Epilogue describes how the Philippine American War came to be forgotten and the aftermath of the U.S. conquest of the Philippines. The cartoons are divided into major themes and introduced by essays at the beginning of
    each chapter:

    - Manifest Destiny and the White Man's Burden
    - Government by Consent or Conquest
    - He's One of the Big Boys Now
    - Conquest and Commerce
    - Civilizing the Savages
    - The Filipino as a Racialized Other [Experiences of the African American Soldier; Hayop (Animal)]
    - Killing "Niggers" and Rabbits [War Against the Moro People]
    - Mac and Aggy
    - The Aunties are Coming

From the back cover reviews:

    The brutal war waged by the United States against the Filipino people at the turn of the century has been shrouded in darkness for a long time, the truth concealed from generations of Americans. THE FORBIDDEN BOOK brings that shameful episode in our history out in the open, with a wonderful combination of crystal-clear text and extraordinary cartoons. The book deserves wide circulation.
    - Howard Zinn
    Professor Emeritus, Boston University
    Author of A People's History of the United States

    Brimming with insights into the beginnings of American imperial policy overseas, this book reconstructs an era that was to shape and refine U.S. intervention in the modern world. Through political cartoons in an era when the colonizer itself worked
    to hide the truth from the American people about the forgotten war a century ago, this book restores for the present generation a past marred by misinformation, racism, blind patriotism and outright lies. A thought-provoking education about the miseducation of the American people by arrogant imperial leaders whose successors never seem to learn the lessons of history. A particularly relevant book which makes it essential reading for the present generation of Filipinos and other colonial subjects of the modern PAX AMERICANA.
    - Roland G. Simbulan
    Professor of Development Studies & Public Management, and
    Vice Chancellor, University of the Philippines

    In this extraordinary collection of political cartoons from the period of the Philippine-American War and subsequent colonization, frank visual satire and caricature vibrate with 'forgotten' histories from the turn of the 19th century: they link U.S. imperial conquests in the Pacific to those in the Caribbean, refract American perceptions of Filipinos through its devastating treatments of blacks and native peoples, explicitly admit U.S. ambitions to employ not only war, but education and culture, to surpass the reach and power of the European empires by the end of the 20th century. These 'forbidden' images are windows onto an earlier moment in the history of American empire, a history in which we still live and struggle today.
    -Lisa Lowe
    University of California, San Diego

About the Authors:

    Abe Ignacio is an avid collector of Filipiniana materials including books, magazines, prints, and political cartoons from the Philippine American War. He received his BA in ethnic studies from the University of California at Berkeley and is a member of the East Bay chapter of the Filipino-American National Historical Society. Enrique de la Cruz is professor of Asian American studies at California State University, Northridge. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has written about and has edited studies on U.S.-Philippine relations, including Essays into American Empire in the Philippines and Confrontations, Crossings, and Convergence: Photographs of the Philippines and the United States, 1898-1998, which is the companion catalog for a
    photographic exhibit of the same title.

    Jorge Emmanuel is president of a research and consulting firm. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan where he was also an associate of the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies. He has written on U.S.-Philippine relations and environmental issues and co-authored The Philippine Environment in the 21st Century and other books. He is a member of the Association for Asian Studies and the East Bay chapter of the Filipino-American National Historical Society.

    Helen Toribio is Lecturer in Asian American Studies at City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University. She received her MPA from California State University at Hayward and MFA from University of San Francisco. She edited Seven Card Stud with Seven Manangs Wild: An Anthology of Filipino-American Writings and contributed to the anthology Legacy to Liberation and other publications on Asian American studies. She is a member of the Association of Asian American Studies and East Bay chapter of the Filipino-American National Historical Society.


"McKinley -- 'Oh, you dirty boy!'"
Judge, Arkell Publishing Company, New York, June 10, 1899 [artist: Grant Hamilton]

"OUR NEW TOPSY. Topsy (Aguinaldo) -- 'I's so awful wicked there cain't nobody do nothin' with me. I keeps Miss Feeley (uncle Sam) a-swearin' at me half de time, 'cause I's might wicked, I is.' -- Uncle Tom's Cabin." (page 127)
Judge, Arkell Publishing Company, New York, February 11, 1899 [artist: Victor Gillam]

"SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE. (Through Professor Marconi's wireless telegraphy)" (page 96)
"AMERICAN INDIAN (to Filipino) -- 'Be Good, or you will be dead!'"
Judge, Arkell Publishing Company, New York, circa 1899 [artist: Victor Gillam]

Life, Life Publishing Company, New York, July 6, 1899 [artist: Frederick Thompson Richards]

"Hark, hark! The dogs do bark.
The Antis are coming to town;
Some with jags, and all with brags,
And some with silver crowns."
Judge, Arkell Publishing Company, New York, 1899 [artist: 'Zim' Eugene Zimmerman]

"UNCLE SAM -- 'Now that I've got it, what am I going to do with it?'"
Judge, Arkell Publishing Company, New York, July 11, 1898 [artist: Grant Hamilton]

"IT'S 'UP TO' THEM." (PAGE 67)
"Uncle Sam (to Filipinos) -- You can take your choice; -- I have plenty of both!"
Puck, Keppler & Schwarzmann, New York, November 20, 1901 [artist: Joseph Keppler, Jr.]

"UNCLE SAM TO FILIPINOS -- 'You're Next.'" (page 73)
Judge, Arkell Publishing Company, New York, 1899 [artist:
'Zim' Eugene Zimmerman]

More images to come.

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