Saturday, September 17, 2005

From dear Rene Navarro reading A BOOK OF HER OWN:

Dear Leny,

Your "A Book of Her Own" is very affecting on a very deep level of consciousness and psyche. It reveals your private journey through the dark woods into the light at the other end. Through studies, therapy, exploration of cross-cultural courses and roles, dreamscapes, memories, dialogs, whatever you've found along the way.

Ultimately, what the book represents is a search for the self as much as a search for a culture. Beyond the post-colonial, westernized values, dreams, lifestyles, the meretricious facade of materialism, the anomie and inferiority of the conquered people. A journey into the world outside as much as the world within.

Where is your native soil? It's been planted to a variety of trees and bushes. It's difficult to see what belongs to you and what does not. There are no labels on each species, nothing to identity its source and provenance and there are no clear roads and signposts to that place.

It's the predicament of the Filipino -- existential, cultural, psychological, intellectual, emotional.

It speaks of a Stygian descent, a turning point, a battle with demons and humans, a shedding of skins, a journey back to the homeland, a rebirth as a babaylan, a Return to the Source. Isn't that the script for liberation in ancient culture?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Not much time for blogging lately but would like to post a few upcoming events for folks who still peek in here once in a while:

September 16: Robert Jensen will speak at Sonoma State University at 7pm.

September 30: I am bringing James Perkinson to Sonoma State University (noon -1pm at Carson Hall 68) to talk on "Christianity, Supremacy and Indigenous Spirituality in the 21st Century: How White Theology Wages Wars of Color" and at the Pacific School of Religion (MUDD 100) at the Graduate Theological Union/UC Berkeley, at 4pm on the same day.

October 7: I will be reading from my new book, A BOOK OF HER OWN, at THE SITTING ROOM, to be held at Prof. JJ Wilson's house, 2025 Curtis Drive in Rohnert Park. For directions, pls call 795-9028.

October 15: Reading with a panel of PINAY POWER authors at UC Berkeley. Sponsored by the Ethnic Studies Department and EastWind Books at Berkeley.

October 23: Reading from A BOOK OF HER OWN, at the San Francisco Public Library. Details to follow.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Re-posting an email to pagbabalikloob listserve:

We already know the race and class discussions around the country surrounding the slow response to Katrina's victims. Today my young African American student hit the nail on the head: "Many of the people who couldn't afford to leave NO were probably on welfare, and so perhaps if they had all drowned it will be less drain on the government coffers so the authorities didn't act quick enough to save them."

When I think about this, it also makes me think of the rhetoric about immigrants crossing the borders illegally (Minutemen!) or it makes me think of Pat Robertson calling for the assasination of the Venezuelan president who dared to criticize the US. It makes me think about government foreign policy, military interventions needed to open markets, the need to rein in "banana republics," the need for "full spectrum dominance" as the American Project for the 21st century. These are all the things that the Empire needs to do in order to protect the global order it has put in place. As the Empire goes around the world rearranging the periphery, the Center collapses (what happened in NO) as the resources are all spent on those far outposts of the Empire. I think what happened in New Orleans showed this vulnerability of collapse from within and the first victims of that collapse are the poor and people of color.

I think there are may be some in this listserve who will not agree with these connections I am making. Many actually do believe in the projects of the Empire and therefore support the current administration's policies and perspectives. To a certain extent this shows the global racial hegemony that has been achieved by the far right...this ability to convince so many of us, i.e. people of color, that the projects of the Empire also benefit us somehow.

Even though we like to believe that the colonial and imperial periods are over and Filipinos and Fil Ams today no longer have colonial mentality -- it is still very much an illusion. I think that we demonstrate our colonized mentalities when we unquestioningly go along with imperial projects.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Someone from a listserve posted another religious spin on KAtrina: God is punishing New Orleans because it sponsors festivals like "Southern Decadence" -- which celebrates homosexuality. To which a Filipino gay male said: You moron, don't you know that God is gay? He created us in his im-Aids? Lame joke.

Another spin (from a Reuters report): God is punishing the US for what it did to Iraq.

Last night as I watched the news coverage about small towns in Mississippi coping with the disaster, I noted that the journalists weren't using the term "this people" as often as they used it when referring to the Blacks in New Orleans.

The world, including the victims of the Asian tsunami, is looking at the US and are finally seeing (and wondering) that the most "civilized" country in the world may not be civilized after all. We are exposed naked and shamed.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Why do journalists, government officials keep referring to the victims of Katrina as "these people??" If most of the victims were white and uppermiddle class will they be called "these people?" No. Most likely they will be called "our fellow Americans" or "brothers and sisters" and other endearing terms. But the unfolding disaster, chaos, all point to what the Rev. Cecil WIlliams said: "we are seeing what it means to be black and poor in this country."

And what does Franklin Graham say? He says "these people" and our country need God. We need to put God back into our classrooms!!

There -- i needed to get that off my chest. Read more here and here.

A Fil Am professor, Linda Pierce, was flooded out in Hattisburg but she was able to escape to Memphis and is temporarily staying with friends. Her friends are asking for monetary help for Linda as she has no access to her bank and belongings and she doesn't know when she can get back home.

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