DARNED BELLS -- by William Dave HanleyHey 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!)
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.
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,