Monday, December 21, 2015

Bigotry remains embedded

Bigotry remains embedded

The controversy stirred by the invitation of Ilocos Norte Congresswoman and former First Lady, Imelda Romualdez Marcos to deliver a speech marking the 40th anniversary of the Ateneo Scholarship Foundation could have been a golden opportunity to heal the old wounds of political enmity that has deeply divided this nation.   The acceptance of the invitation, not visit  as some reporters in the mainstream media nastily insinuated, was itself an act of respect to the Foundation.  The alumni of the premier elitist Catholic school should have refrained from venting their emotional wrangle.

Neither could it be said that the invitation extended to the wife of the former President was meant to revive what the hypocritical elite and their Maoist confederates  termed as the “dark chapter” in our history.  Rather, it was an acknowledgment of the gratitude to Mrs. Marcos’ contribution to the Foundation.  It was Mrs. Marcos who organized the Van Cliburn piano concerts way back in 1974.   Through her prodigious efforts, the concerts held by the world’s most renowned pianist generated something like P6 million for which Van Cliburn, at the instance of Mrs. Marcos, agreed to donate the proceeds to the Ateneo Scholarship Foundation.
For that generosity exhibited by an exceptionally great pianist, the Foundation promptly reciprocated  by conferring Van Cliburn the honorary degree of doctor of humane letters in 1974.  And for the information of those scoffing bigots, Van Cliburn was  an American hero who  deviated from the rigid ideological demarcation that prevailed during the Cold War.  To quote a write up about him: “Van Cliburn (July 12, 1934—February 27, 2013) was an American hero.  He was hailed as one of the most persuasive ambassadors of American culture, as well as one of the greatest pianists in the history of music. With his historic 1958 victory at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, at the height of the Cold War, Van Cliburn tore down cultural barriers years ahead of glasnost and perestroika, transcending politics by demonstrating the universality of classical music.”
The friendship  established by Mrs. Marcos with that American great piano genius had its inner expression that could only be understood if one had a deeper sense of understanding peace.  Mrs. Marcos devoted much of her time promoting the culture and the arts, and music was inseparable to it.  Both have their commonality in their extraordinary but different talents of wanting to help the poor but talented students.   
Van Cliburn refused to see the world from the fixed US vision in treating  friends and foes.  He would rather touch the soul of people by spreading the universality of music.  He was loved by the Russians at a time when the world wanted to call them Soviets and communists. He crossed the path to make friends with the wife of the man whom the local elite and their misguided Maoist mascots called a “dictator.” 
Never had Mr. Van Cliburn been so grateful to Mrs. Marcos and her husband because it was here in the Philippines where his music was accorded the greatest expression of love for humanity.  Mrs. Marcos was equally honored to have the greatest pianist of all time subscribing to her advocacy that culture and the arts should  transcend beyond the mantle crust of elitism.  Mrs. Marcos discovered that Van Cliburn’s love was not just confined to the universal message of music but to the universal act of love for humanity.
Ms. Marcos built the National Arts Center at Mount Makiling in 1976 to  encourage the Filipino youth to develop and love the value of arts.  Van Cliburn together with another world renowned ballerina Margot Fonteyn were honored as guests.  On several occasions, Van Cliburn played at the Cultural Center, and Mrs. Marcos made it a point to make his concert a success.  That was greatly reciprocated by Mr.  Cliburn’s wish to donate the proceeds to the ASF.
Father Jose Ramon Vallarin, SJ, for his sudden and awkward apology for having invited Mrs. Marcos, because of strong pressure from the bigots whose only license to rant was their claim of being alumni, said the invitation  was not meant to forget the so-called “dark years of the dictatorship.”  However, the good priest forgot that his statement was also meant to forget the good deeds of the former First Lady.  Besides, there was no reason for Villarin   to make an apology because the invitation had its Divine  reason which is to thank her. But as it is, the change of mind to make a clownish somersault was not a mistake. It was symptomatic of confused mind.
If those hypocritical alumni  termed her presence as an insult to the memory of Atenean student-activists, like Edgar Jopson, maybe they would been honored to invite as their guest a fellow Atenean, Jose Ma. Sison, the self-exiled leader and founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines and confer him an honorary doctorate degree. Likewise, if one would  re-examine  the unfortunate fate that happened to that student activist who went underground, it was a decision solely made by him, believing he was doing it to liberate this country from the “dictatorship.”
  These psychopaths and dregs in the mainstream media should have been honest enough to clarify that Jopson was killed not on his way to school.  He joined and was an active member of the underground wing of the Communist Party called the National Democratic  Front.  Whether he was killed in actual encounter or killed while was asleep in his safe house is beside the point. He was deeply involved in the violent campaign to overthrow the government, and these hypocrites cannot make an issue of his death to denigrate one who has positively accomplished more for this country and to their school.
Ateneans, including most of my relatives who are graduates of that premier school, would have nothing to do with what these raving psychopaths are ranting about.  Besides, thousands were killed fighting the government, and the fighting became much bloodier during the time of Mrs. Aquino.  Yet, not one from among these ranting alumni could recall a name of those killed because they happened to be sons  of poor peasants. For this, one could already see the kind of morality and values they want to impose on us.
Besides, the Romualdezes are no strangers to Ateneo. Mrs. Marcos’ father, Orestes, and her two uncles, Miguel and Norberto, all distinguished lawyers, were  graduates of Ateneo.  Do these raving alumni have the patent to dictate what the school and the foundation should do when they themselves have not contributed anything, except for their badge as graduates of that school?   These are hard questions we ask for it seems they are the same people that have  been chanting reconciliation, yet  we could see in them the ugly scars of  hatred and bigotry.

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