Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rural Peace? Or Rural Backwardness?

Rural Peace? Or Rural Backwardness?

Regarding provincial backwardness, oppression despite modernity in a guise of "Rural Peace"

by Lualhati Madlangawa-Guererro

Last time, I read about a writeup regarding the right-wing attempt to emphasize the role of the rural area, particularly the smallest unit, Barangay in the province as the "nucleus of nation building." The words seemingly wanted to show these groups how "caring" towards the rural villagers, living in Barangays and having a degree of peace, prosperity and even dignity despite hostilities.

Despite the alleged "peace" orchestrated by the reactionary forces the right-wingers, wingnuts as I prefer to say, supported, and the modern-day equipment allegedly given as a "support" for these rural villagers, they seemingly doesn't uplift them realistically, in a manner that they emphasize much on "defending" rather than "serving", of "carrying the gun and acting like a thug" instead of "joining in the field."

And, God forbid,
How come these people, who spoke of "Rural Peace" supported the contrary? Of encouraging the people in "supporting" the Fascist enemy in the countryside fighting against the rebels? Do they have set of "services" aside from painting the walls of the school and any other acts used primarily for propaganda purposes? They may have done somewhat right, but it is not their primary goal-but putting it on the secondary as they emphasised on "killing the enemy"-and that includes the peasants themselves who are irritated worse than before-the same people who end up criticizing the presence of the rebels, this time the soldiers who spoke of "Rural Peace".

By the way, how come Rural Peace the Fascist soldiers hath spoken also meant Rural Backwardness for the peasants?

Based on our history, the Pilipino countryside, in its appearance seemed to be peaceful, with the peasants tilling their soil for good while the landlord enjoys the morning sun seeing its slaves doing their effort. However, behind these so-called Rural Peace is oppressive policies that stunted progress and enforced backwardness towards the toiling masses. These kind of problems, worse than ever, fueled sentiments that resulted to massive rebellions against the landowning gentry and of the state who supported them.

History also showed us the legacy of peasant revolts and attempted mass actions being led, not just by familiar personalities with privileged backgrounds, but also of those who, feeling the repressive policies of the landed gentry over the toiling masses, willing to join in their quest for liberation. Just like the Hukbalahaps during World War II, they may have disrupted Rural Peace in the name of liberation, especially against the foreign occupiers and the collaborators. And yet, they end up being defeated by the system who supposed to recognize them as heroes of the liberation. The system somehow, for many years treated revolutionary action "a pest" that disrupted order, and so is their concept of Rural Peace, or rather say its Backwardness.

And if that's the case,
As the enemy kept on trying to protect the landed gentry in the guise of protecting the countryside from outside elements such those who advocated Agrarian Revolution and other similar actions meant protecting backwardness towards its subjects. Like Vietnam, wherein American troops, despite their "Strategic Hamlets" and other "Populist-like" projects, end up in failure as the peasants, feeling getting dictated by foreign policies and wanting to till on the soil "allegedly infested by rebels" end up supporting the enemy!

We must even remember the Maliwalu massacre, which was happened after World War II, wherein peasant activists were being killed by the Military Police for being branded as Rebels under the Hukbalahap, they may have wanted land and a degree of a dignified Rural Peace for themselves yet the military gave them their deaths, same as the Mendiola and the Hacienda Luisita massacre, that seemingly a continuation of peasant struggles fighting for Rural Peace, land to till, and dignity for themselves as peasants who supplied the food for the nation.

But still,
The enemy treated them badly, to the fact that they send their soldiers and treating their action too militarily with a little or no degree towards the peasants, again, they may have done anything yet treated it merely as a propaganda piece. The painted corridors in a rural high school, the irrigation project, or the road improvement does not mean that it improves the situation-for still, we see the peasants feeling the repressive policies these soldiers supposedly stopping it, and still, they don't oppose.

As we sum all of these, we have expected much that the peasant, feeling the repressive policies the landlord, or the company forced upon to "in the name of rural peace and plenty", of "benefits" and the like, yet given less or none, and intensified much by the irritating actions of the Fascist military and its allies, would end up, rather sympathize with the rebels who successfully implemented the policies on eh agrarian question and the like, truthfully wanting a degree of Rural Peace with justice, dignity towards the peasantry.