Support the Sumilao Farmers! Lupa at Kalayaan! Remember Hacienda Luisita!

Foreword

This story is dedicated to the brave farmers of Sumilao who on October 9, 2007, marched from their homes in Sumilao, Bukidnon to the National Capital Region, Manila, Philippines to protest the injustice committed by Mr. Quisumbing who, instead of giving back the land to the farmers like he was supposed to, sold it to a corporation owned by the Cojuangco Family. This is the family where President Corazon “Cory” Aquino was spawned from. This is the family who was behind the Hacienda Luisita Massacre. This scenario have been played over and over in this country’s history that it could, by a marvellous stretch of the imagination, almost be cited as an example of what Nietzsche called “Eternal Recurrence”. And my personal answer to Nietzsche's question is that eternal repetition is a nightmare. We're talking Camus' interpretation of Sisyphus here, Sartre's No Exit. Pardon my cosmic digression. It is a shame that many people still subscribe to the idea that progress in this country can

be achieved without regarding this crucial issue. This story describes the situation here in semi-feudal, neo-colonial Philippines where the most basic rights of the Filipino people have been trampled on for generations all because of that something that people walk over and disregard everyday – land. The author gives his support to them and may their cause succeed.

Geophagy

This land is ours, the old man shouted, this land is ours and they stole it from us. My grandfather's grandfather worked this land, and my ancestors, our ancestors before them. The old man, shaking from the sound of his own voice, from the repressed anger that built up slowly through the years and now finally exploded, he shouts, give us back our land, give us back our land. The people are chanting with him now, unfurling their banner which says that the program was not implemented, that the program did nothing to alleviate their sorrows, that the government should side with the farmers. The soldiers, scattered all around the family's compound, outside the huge cement walls lined on top with shards of broken San Miguel Beer bottle glass, the soldiers, they gripped their rifles tighter. Standing with their trucks between the farmers and the mansion, the soldiers, they watched as the farmers laid down on the ground as if going to sleep. Stand up, the young man said, stand up, the young man repeated, this time kicking their legs. They were ordered to make the farmers stand up. They were

ordered to make the farmers go home. Stand up, but they just wouldn't listen. The old man on the ground, barefoot, the cracks on his calloused soles showing, he just closed his eyes and prayed, his shaking hands gripping the rosary tight. Annoyed for not getting any response, the young man, he raised his rifle and slammed the rifle's butt on the farmer's face. Before the old man could utter a cry, cracks started to fill the air. The old man slowly closed his body like a makahiya. His bloody mouth gaping, tears flowing from his eyes, he curled up, covering his face with his hands, drenching the rosary with blood. All this while the troops are chasing those who ca still run away. It's in the news that night how troops dispersed several protesting farmers. It's in the news that night how several farmers were gunned down. It's in the news that night how several soldiers harassed the camera man not to record what's going on. It's in the news that night how Mrs. Super Star successfully gave birth to a baby girl. It's in the news that night how Mrs. Super Star's friends congratulated her for her beautiful bundle of blessing from God and we pray for you and we love you. It's in the news that night what the celebrity friends' gifts were. Giant Teddy Bears. Imported cradles. Educational toys. Designer baby clothes. It's also in the news how Ms. Teenage Newcomer is dating Mr. Teenage Heartthrob. How Ms. Sexy Actress' new film provoked the censors and intrigued the critics. How Mr. Old Movie Star is dating Ms. Sexy Actress. Three days later, the old man returned. Someone was kind enough to drag him off and carry him back to his hut during the commotion. He looked at the abandoned field in front of the mansion littered with torn and worn-out slippers. Only a few soldiers were left. He looked at the tattered banner. The soldiers, they're smoking cigarettes. He still could see patches of dark earth where instead of water, blood was spilled. Slowly, he kneels down, clutches a handful of earth and shoves it into his mouth. He looks straight at the mansion, all white and clean and beautiful. He chewed, swallowed, then brought another handful into his mouth.

written this warm October 14 night Ipil Dorm, Diliman, Q.C.

narodnikkki@yahoo.com

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