Monday, November 28, 2005

The Stone of Scone and the Bells of Balangiga

I KNOW I am going to need some help from the wider Anglosphere on an email I just got over the weekend from William "Dave" Hanley, a person whom I have never met personally but who seems very familiar to me. He mentions something for which I found the picture that is nearby at the trusty Wikipedia and is captioned "The Stone of Scone in the Coronation Chair at Westminster Abbey, 1855." I wish he'd sent me this email on the Anniversary last September 27 of the Battle of Balangiga (27 September 1901 --Samar Province), but then the New Philippine Commentary -- the First Iraq, hadn't been reborn yet from the ashes, so it is just as well. WDH writes from somewhere on the Continent -- where indeed in the State of Wyoming there are some Bells at a US military base that seem to belong to the Catholic Church of Balangiga (for example, this Open Letter (Sgd.)+Leonardo Y. Medroso, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Borongan and Rev. Fr. Saturnino Obzunar, Balangiga Parish Priest. Bishop-Bloggers.). But to WDH's email --
DARNED BELLS -- by William Dave Hanley

The Bells of Balingiga should not be returned except for the fact they should be. Now that I have your attention, I will try to explain.

To return said bells in the conventional manner would be disastrous. Look at what happened to the Stone of Scone. Said stone was either a priceless symbol of Scottish Nationalism or an interesting Scottish trinket, according to where the speaker came from. Scots would insist that it was wrongfully looted, Englishmen would say that it was a legitimate war trophy.

When Maggie Thatcher came to power Scotland voted against her 60-40, which was historical vote margins. They wanted the Stone back. Maggie said no and proceeded with her economic reforms. Next election, Scotland went against her 55-45. They wanted the Stone back. Maggie told them to go jump in the Loch. Next election the vote was 51-49.

Internal party feuding forced Maggie out and John Major took over. They wanted the Stone back. He gave it to them. Next election was 80 to 20 against the Tories. Stays about that way today.

Lesson learned: Collective gratitude is very scarce. Collective political gratitude does not exist. Symbolic issues such as stones and bells tend to be used against those who mean well in favor of those who simply want partisan advantage and/or sheer power. The emotionalism involved obscures substance.

Being a Republican, I will stand aside and wait for the Democrats to blunder with the Balangigga Bells. The D's are the party that tries to con all non-caucasians into believing the R's are racists, etc. So I will let them wander into the trap if they are foolish enough to do so.

In addition: The Philippine war of 1899 to 1902 was multi-faceted. Almost every region had its own set of dynamics. Most of which I do not know enough about to comment on. However, on Samar I do not believe that it was a case of American Imperialists vs Filipino Nationalists. Looks like to me that it was really American Imperialists arguing with Tagalog Imperialists with the people of Samar having to decide which group of interlopers would do them the least harm and hopefully the most good.

If I am right on this point, then today's Tagalog Imperialists---Imperial Manila to quote Sonny Osmena---- cannot be allowed in on the play. They were the losers back then. To channel any return through the Manila establishment is to tell Samarons that the USA considers them of no farther use and deserving of no consideration so they are being abandoned to the tender mercies of those so and so's to the North. Not exactly a good way of calming down the current situation.

Of course, as long as Uncle Sam keeps the bells, there is the possibility (and increasing probability???)of exactly such a blundering return actually taking place. This makes those bells into something of a Sword of Damocles. The prudent man will try to find a way of neutralizing such a threat.

(And besides that, the bells really mean something to the people who actually live in Balangiga. It would be awfully nice to do something just for them.)

The ideal thing would be to sneak the bells back in. Just collect all three of them and have a ship with bells aboard show up one day and offload the cargo. Ask the locals not to tell anyone and then sail away with no publicity of any kind. It won't take long before the rumor mill gets to talking and stories start to flying and the return is confirmed much to the public detriment of troublemakers in both countries.

Needless to say, I have not the foggiest idea on how to arrange all that. Can you think of any other way to go about things? Feel free to show this to any reliable people whom you think can come up with something actually achievable. And provided of course that you do NOT think I have taken leave of my senses.

Well, I have been meaning to write this ofr some time. Looks like that I have finally aquired the necessary appliance to do so-----"A Round Tuit". (Ahem) More later.

Hey Rizalist, have you ever even heard of the STONE OF SCONE? (No, no! It rhymes with "balloon."). Oh well, whoever heard of the BELLS OF BALANGIGA? Here's what the Philippine History Group of Los Angeles calls it: the Balangiga Massacre, (slightly different than Wiki, but the same!)

That's funny, why do so many Continental and Archipelagic Filipinos call Balangiga a "Massacre" as they do in the two different links I have provided to them above -- when it was the greatest victory of the Armed Forces of the First Republic over the United States Infantry in the entire Philippine American War? It is irrelevant and disrespectful of those heroes and victors, and the equally valorous men they fought to the death, to note with too much emphasis and lack of dignity that one side won that battle but lost the War and vice versa. It would be like calling the Battle of Thermopylae the "Thermopylae Massacre." And this was after Dictator Emilio Aguinaldo had been "captured". The designation "Dictator" comes from the fact that the First Republic had declared martial law in order to mobilize for War with America. But Aguinaldo was no Leonidas, even if General Lukban, who commanded and controlled the Battle of Balangiga sure would qualify. Bonifacio wasn't much good on the battlefield and had been long dead -- the Father of the Katipunan -- the freedom fighters -- executed or murdered on Mount Buntis by his own countrymen. I feel a far greater kinship for those ancient Greeks, than many modern Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who would turn even rare victory into an ignominious defeat.

THANKS for bringing all this up now, WDH, and an interesting wider perspective I had not seen before...By the way, I think over a century later, we are still having problems with those Tagalog and Pampango "imperalists" of the Archipelago who rule from Malacanan Palace...

UPDATE: Message to William "Dave" Hanley...Please go and see what Manuel L. Quezon III thinks about your take on Balangiga. He thinks you are abetting Mindanao Secession And he's telling all of the Tagalog-Pampanga Principalia about it today, well, bloggerdom anyway.

UPDATE (Nov. 29) -- WILLIAM "DAVE" HANLEY on 'SECESSION' (via Email)
"Of course I promote secession. My folks sucessfully seceded from England in 1776. Sucessfully seceded again from Mexico in 1836. In 1861 would have made it three in a row were it not for "Uncle Billy" Sherman. Two out of three is not bad. Might want to try again some day. Mindanao? Maybe. Are they whistling "Dixie" down there and do they know how to "Stonewall"? More seriously, those who do not start with a primary loyalty to locality/region/state are doomed to failure when it comes to national identity or loyalty. Either they Balkanize (Filipinize????) or they Nihonisize.Naziize, or Sovietize. All human beings have to take care of the immediate homefront first and then make book with compatible neighbors-----or wish that they had. Uncle Sam saddled the Philippines with a unitary form of government and we are all paying the price for that.
A Rebel Yell To All,


Rizalist said...

A Warm Welcome Traveler!
The Stars are brightly shining over the Archipelago tonight.
I hope you have some insight into EITHER the Stone of Scone or the Bells of Balangiga. (Else, hence! you splogwart.)

Rizalist said...

I don't know if "William Dave Hanley" even has a weblog. I do remember encountering someone with this name in an old YAHOO group I used to belong to. But darn it DAVE, you better show up here to explain yourself if a MOB of Scottish or English Anglospherians show up to LYNCH us. Tinket of Scottish nationalism hah?

Edwin Lacierda said...


I, too, am against the return of the bells for now.

I do not think we Filipinos, with our myopic sense of history and lack of government funds, can possibly preserve these bells. Left to our own, those bells will eventually find themselves in the backyards of silversmiths or in Villa Escudero. No different from the Spanish era hallowed statues thefted from churches.

Until such time we have the financial means and a greater sense of history, I say, leave the bells with the Yanks! For now!

Rizalist said...

I GUESS I wouldn't say I am AGAINST their return, for we must consider the request of the blogging Bishops. Also, do you realize that what Mr. Hanley is suggesting actually would satisfy their request, albeit in an unconventional manner! As he says, " the detriment of troublemakers in both countries."

Anonymous said...

If a government funds will be used to retrieve the bell no matter how you say it is for the love of the country.....One thing comes to mind...The Juan Luna paintings retrieved by Winston Garcia using GSIS funds forgot the term was it fudiciary functions violated...

Good intentions but as in Robin hood and machiavelli end not justify means

A philantropist like Ayala can retrieve that in his own time

Rizalist said...

Gee Karl, I never knew the Ayalas were PHILANTROPISTS. But what are you saying? That we should buy the Bells back? Why?

mlq3 said...

I didn't say he's promoting Mindanao secession. I'm saying what he wrote is indicative of the mentality so thoroughly absorbed by those who put regional loyalty above national loyalty. It began with the view peddled by the Americans at the turn of the century that the Revolution and the First Republic were only Luzon activities, which justifies the parceling out of the rest of the country into smaller entities all the easier to control.

mlq3 said...

I didn't say he's promoting Mindanao secession. I'm saying what he wrote is indicative of the mentality so thoroughly absorbed by those who put regional loyalty above national loyalty. It began with the view peddled by the Americans at the turn of the century that the Revolution and the First Republic were only Luzon activities, which justifies the parceling out of the rest of the country into smaller entities all the easier to control.

mlq3 said...

I didn't say he's promoting Mindanao secession. I'm saying what he wrote is indicative of the mentality so thoroughly absorbed by those who put regional loyalty above national loyalty. It began with the view peddled by the Americans at the turn of the century that the Revolution and the First Republic were only Luzon activities, which justifies the parceling out of the rest of the country into smaller entities all the easier to control.

mlq3 said...

I didn't say your correspondent was promoting secessionism. What I said was his missive projects the same mentality that was peddled by Americans up to the 20s and even beyond, that the Revolution and the First Republic were Luzon affairs. This has been adopted by those who put regional identity over national identity, and promotes the kind of thinking that would subdivide the country to allow its component parts to reach accomodations with greater powers.

Rizalist said...

MLQ3, Do you consider the American Revolution to have been a Continent-wide affair? I always thought it restricted to the Thirteen Colonies, and mostly along the Eastern axis tying Boston, New York and Virginia. Is it not a fact that though the Revolution had partisans in the Visayas, as Eric Gamalinda has even novelized, the anthropological basis for the Filipino nation being the Tagalog-Pampango Principalia is not disputed. Or is it? "National identity" I think exists in SPACE and TIME. Like a human being, no nation is born fully formed. But I am willing to be persuaded otherwise. Regarding Mr. Hanley I hope he will show up and defend himself. But as I have mentioned, he is a rather rare Republican to be proclaiming the existence of a PHILIPPINE AMERICAN WAR 1899 to 1902.

Rizalist said...

If anyone is interested in private communications with Mr. Hanley, just email me and I will send you his email. I'm sure he won't mind that. But I've only ever encountered him on the FILAMVOTERS at YAHOO GROUPS, a long, long time ago. So maybe he doesn't blog. Don't really know.

Anonymous said...

So I may wrong in even suggesting that we buy them back

Bu forgive me for a simplistic and simpleton example

Our car was sold to a car dealerfor some reason he kept coming back to us because he cant sell the damn(pardon term) car

to avoid complications we will just gather enough funds and buy the car back

that was just how I look at it but if I was wrong..fine with me... been wrong before many times

pardon me aabout Ayalas as philantrophists they were an easy example because it began with the letter A

Anonymous said...

About regional identityand national identity

I remember in the blog of MLQ I was caught in between 2 intelligent bloggers
whom exchanged things from the Linga Franca to the regional heroes

I think it was entitled Little Brown Brothers

I think what they were arguing about was about that regional and national identity

We Filipinos know the Spanish American war was due to the USS maine explosion in Havana
And the Americans only came to the Philippines after Spain surrendered Guam,Puerto Rico,The Philippines with it....for that Cuba got its so called independence

Looting in war is all but natural

The Crusades with original intention of defending Christianity ended up in looting may times over....

About the bell we need to convince the strongest lobby group in the world to get it back for "free"
getting it free is very might as well buy it back with no strings attached...

Rizalist said...

The Catholic Church wants it back .. but the more I think of it, William Dave Hanley's solution has a lot of merit!

Rizalist said...

I have included the recent email of William Dave Hanley at the tail end of the post. Interesting take on "secession" Check it out folks. Also noted are MLQ3's clarifications, I stand corrected he doesn't say WDH is urging secession. WDH does. But I think it must be a mental state from which he urges us to flee. Youn can email Dave