Thursday, February 9, 2006

Quezon's Chilling Allegory About Assassination

HIS HAS BEEN MY GREATEST FEAR, given the Gordian Knot of Gloriagate and the golden opportunity it presents to the wrong sorts of Alexanders. But Manuel L. Quezon III, expresses the apprehension more poignantly than I could've, for the lack of the kind of tragedy that has touched MLQ3's own family in the 1949 ambush and assassination of Mrs. Aurora Quezon by Communist Hukbalahap, in Bongabong, Nueva Ecija. In Faith or Fear, for PDI today, Manolo achieves a masterful kind of allegory only rarely seen in that tendentious newspaper. He chooses Leon Ma. Guerrero as a voice invoked to deliver a warning? A foretelling? --(Read the whole thing!)
Instead of faith, we have fear -- so much of it, and from which I myself often suffer -- of rebels, of revolutionaries, of those not from the status quo. A passage from Leon Maria Guerrero always reminds me to resist those fears. In trying to explain why Ms Aurora Quezon was killed by peasants when she had tried so hard to help them, Guerrero wrote, “People who ask this have never been hunted. They have never starved and shivered in hiding. They have never felt that the hand of every man was turned against them. But the outcasts of society, or those society has made outcasts, no longer recognize any duties to it. Humanity is their enemy.

"All those who have homes while they lack a roof over their heads; who have food on their tables while they must pick the fruits and berries of the forest; who have clothes on their backs while their own rags are torn in the underbrush; who can sleep secure while they must start with panic at the sound of every twig breaking in the night -- all those are their enemies. And they wait for a time when they can hit back, briefly, blindly, but enough to suit their wild envy and humbled pride; they watch the laborers clearing the winding road; they watch the bright banners of welcome waving in the forbidden towns -- an enemy comes, one of the happy and secure -- they watch the long rich plumes of dust sweeping across the gorges from the road, their hand is eager on the smooth barrel of the gun, one more chance to get back at them, no matter who, no matter if the gentle lady in the official car is a friend, for they have no friends, and so they press the trigger.”
TRAGEDY, as glimpsed in this most painful episode of post-War Philippine history, is not so much like Ultra -- "tragic because it was preventable" -- but quite the opposite. "The essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things," Alfred North Whitehead is quoted as saying in the 1968 classic, "The Tragedy of the Commons." [Science, 162(1968):1243-1248.}

UNSTABLE EQUILIBRIUM I place my Faith in the Laws of Physics which are really a proper subset of the Ars Poetica. At the moment our situation is one in which the marble truly could roll off the present point of unstable equilibrium -- in virtually any direction, at any time, due to the gravity of the crisis besetting the polity. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has laid waste to Philippine democratic institutions. In successfully surviving and saving herself thus far, the President has placed the country in this dangerous state where the future trajectory of events and outcomes can hardly be predicted. We are forced to look, painfully, to the tragedies of the past, for clues to the inexorable workings of the present. But I would choose a different event of communist terror for clues to what might happen next. I would choose the Plaza Miranda Bombing of August 21, 1971, which Jovito Salonga of the Liberal Party has so eloquently and definitively pinned on Joma and the CPP/NPA. There may not come another golden opportunity for the fast-aging wards of the Dutch welfare state in Utrecht, to pull the pin and trigger just once more, to prove how much power there is in their murderous ideology masquerading as revolution, which terrorizes even Manuel L. Quezon III to this day. Maybe that is why the Left gets so much leeway from him?

"They chained him to their ambitions, and still he wags his tail." MLQ3 says of Joe Abueva.

I guess that Fear is definitely greater than Faith, because the one you die of, but the other, you die for.


Amadeo said...


Your mention of Alfred North Whitehead reminded me a bit of my previous incursions into the study of parapsychology of which he was considered a pioneer with his concept of prehension.

Scientists like him confirm the blur between the traditional sciences and the newer ones like parapsychology.

Rizalist said...

Mathematics and philosophy were his fortes if I remember. That 1968 paper on Tragedy of the Commons is a great read though. It's got a lot to say about several impt issues.