7/31/2007

HR 121 PASSES!!

Evelina Galang announces

121 Coalition Statement on the Passage of H.RES.121
Monday July 30, 2007

With the passage of H.Res. 121, the United States House of Representatives reaffirms its promise as a powerful advocate for human rights.

We commend the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Mike Honda, and Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Tom Lantos, as well as all 167 cosponsors for their passionate, bipartisan support for this resolution.

We also want to thank Congressman Lane Evans and Congressman Henry Hyde who championed and supported H.Res.759. When H.Res 759 failed during the last Congress, many supporters felt defeated; but others did not give up. The 759 campaign became the foundation for a national movement behind H.Res.121.

We highly commend survivors Ms. Lee Yong Soo, Ms. Kim Koon-Ja, Ms. Jan Ruff O’Herne, as well as all survivors, living and deceased, who advocated for truth and reconciliation, and testified courageously about their agonizing captivity in military rape camps, also known as “comfort stations” during WWII.

We extend our gratitude to the American electorate who supported this resolution by sending thousands of letters and petitions to Congress members from all over the United States.

The so-called “comfort women” issue is not only about the past. It is also about the present and the future. Tragically, Japan’s wartime military rape camps were the precedent for human trafficking, rape, and sexual slavery that continue to this day. H.Res.121 delivers a strong message that we must protect civilians left vulnerable to violence and exploitation during armed conflicts, especially girls and women. The perpetrators of these deeds must now take notice: the world will hold you accountable.

This resolution is in no way an insult to the great nation of Japan. Rather, it is a challenge to leaders of all nations who would deny historical truth for political gain. The people of Japan have long understood that this issue can only be resolved with openness, honesty, and mutual respect. Leaders who deny history, like those who deny facts, serve no one but themselves. The people of Japan deserve an opportunity to put this terrible chapter of human history to rest, and reconcile with the world community in peace and in friendship.

Ethnic and sectarian conflicts in the Middle East serve as reminders that crimes such as these become fodder for future violence if the wounds they cause are allowed to fester without reconciliation, justice, or acceptance of responsibility.


Today, we stand with the United States House of Representatives to urge the people and the government of Japan to accept an invitation from their friends, the citizens of the United States, to officially acknowledge, apologize, and take responsibility for Imperial Japan’s role in the atrocities committed during WWII. We thank those who have sent us messages of support from around the globe, and we express our support for the citizens of Canada and Australia as they seek to pass similar resolutions. We see the success of H.Res 121 not as the end of our campaign, but as an auspicious beginning — one that will continue in partnership with human rights advocates in this country, in Japan, and around the world.


Statement From M. Evelina Galang,
Filipina American Coordinator, 121 Coalition

The passage of House Resolution 121 is an invitation to transcend past crimes against humanity, and a boon to the efforts of surviving “Comfort Women” who have been seeking justice for over 15 years. It is an opportunity for healing and reconciliation as well as a statement that defines what is and is not acceptable even during times of war. It is my hope that Japan accepts the invitation to bear witness to the women’s experiences and to honor and respect them by delivering a formal and unequivocal apology to all surviving “Comfort Women” of WW2.

On September 18, 1992 Rosa Maria Henson was the first Filipina “Comfort Woman” to step forward and ask the Japanese government to accept full responsibility for the WWII systematic rape and abduction of over 200, 000 women and girls throughout Asia. Following her lead, 173 of the estimated 1000 Filipinas subjected to the Japanese Imperial Army’s “Comfort Stations” also came forward and began to reclaim their dignity through organized campaigns designed by feminist grassroots organizations such as Liga ng mga Lolang Pilipina-Gabriela (LILA Pilipina).

Of the 173 Filipinas who have come forward, 54 have died. Today, only a handful of women in their 80’s and 90’s are actively involved.

The passage of House Resolution 121 demonstrates that the United States Congress and their constituents have heard these women. It is a great sign of respect and support. Let Japan follow the example of the United States House of Representatives as they pass House Resolution 121. Let them look to the women, see their faces and hear their stories. Let them acknowledge the past and take responsibility.

Novelist and University of Miami Professor M. Evelina Galang served as Florida Coordinator and Filipino American Outreach Coordinator for 121 Coalition


AN APPEAL TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE



On July 30, 2007, the House of Representative of the United States of America will be voting on House Resolution 121 which calls on the Government of Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Forces coercion of young women into sexual slavery.

Lila Pilipina, an organization of Filipino women survivors of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery and Advocates and Gabriela National Alliance of Women in the Philippines welcome this development in the quest of all victims of wartime sexual slavery for their long-sought justice. While we are fully aware that the passage of this resolution cannot compel the Government of Japan to make the rightful reparations for its wartime crimes against the women abused during the Second World War, it is heartening to know that there are individuals in the government of the United States whose concern for women goes beyond time and borders.

For the people of the United States who uphold the rights and welfare of women all over the world, we urge you to support the comfort women’s fight for justice – a fight that goes beyond public apology and reparations. It is a fight, essentially, to learn from history so that it may never happen again.

We urge you to go beyond their issue. Systematic rape and abuse of women is a tool of wars of aggression. The harrowing experience of Filipino, Korean and Chinese women in the hands of Japanese Imperial Army was repeated in various other wars of aggression after WWII. Thus, we urge you to support all efforts to put a stop to the current atrocities being committed against women in wars of aggression including the ones you government is sponsoring.

Echo the Shouts of the Elderly Lolas of Lila Pilipina:



NO TO WARS OF AGGRESSION!!!

NO TO ANOTHER GENERATION OF COMFORT WOMEN!

7/24/2007

Strange Convergences

Surfing the net for "Anthony Stewart Head" because he was Giles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the episode Once More With Feeling is my current obsession.

Discovered Tony Head played Frankenfurter in a revival of Rocky Horror Picture Show and earlier...

earlier played in a band called "Two Way" who released the song

"Nole Me Tangere" ...

Not to be confused with "Noli Me Tangere"

Which makes the whole thing weirdly circular for me.

*eyeshift* Carry on.

Eros as Living in the Body

Leny has been writing about the body this month, the body and eros and gaps in decolonization theories.

I've been 'in the body' these past few weeks, doing the work of the living, with little time to stop and process it all. I wrote her about it and thought about expanding my email a bit here. When my experiences are not fully processed, they come out in fits and bits, part mosaic, part quilt - solid pieces, broken and glittering set in concrete at times, other times soft and nebulous, gently pieced together with elaborate chain stitching.

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She speaks of Eros and Power and Haunani-Kay Trask and I remember Hawaii and my daughter born two months too early and the heat and the sun and the light that was too yellow for my eyes. How I could never really rest there, how my skin craved misty mornings and cool NW breezes and darkness in winter. How Kay Trask was too radically feminist for me while bringing to my consciousness the possibility of sovereignty, if not in body then in mind and heart, but that the battle was on the field of the body and the body was a set of islands in the Pacific not my own, yet like my genetic ancestor. How I watched with mixed awe and projected jealousy that the Hawaiians had retained so much of who their bodies were on their body called Maui and Hawaii and Oahu, whereas at home, the Seneca and the Ojibwa and the Nez Perce and the Tlingit struggled to overcome the generational amnesia borne of genocide and survival through assimilation. How I realized that my home was not the Pacific, but the Pacific Northwest, in a rain forest near the sea where the nights were long in the winter and the days long in the summer.

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Then Eros...a quick Wikipedia search revealed Freud's idea of Eros standing in opposition of Thanatos, the life instinct versus the death instinct, whereas Jung set Eros and Logos together/in opposition - psychic relatedness and objective interest, yet both placed the emphasis on the division of male and female along the same lines, the body-mind split revisited/created again. And I think about Maganda and Malakas, Beauty and Strength, again aligned along gender lines and looking for ways to talk about the strength in beauty without speaking of beauty queens and the objectifying gaze, ways to talk about the beauty in strength as nurturing as gardening as creating spaces to grow without speaking solely of drag queens and the objectifying gaze of men's bodies transforming into women's bodies.

And Eros breaks down into a this concept of Life Instinct, not just the drive to procreate but to live fully in life, today, now, in the present, to see that there are no ordinary moments, that there is never nothing happening in the world we live in. And I think of Dan Millman and the recent movie version of Way of the Peaceful Warrior - tangentially I met him 10 years ago this summer, my last summer in Hawaii, and he taught me how to juggle, to be mindful and releasing thinking all at once, that in juggling there is only really one ball, always in motion, jumping time and space.

I wrote to Leny:

We are built of our experiences and experiences only come from living, of meditating on living, on honoring the living we do.

Without the body we are simply mind or simply spirit - everything is theoretical until it is proven out with experience, with living in the body.

... there's a scene (in the movie) where Dan's mentor asks him if he knows how to clean a windshield and Dan says yes, his hand buried in his pockets. Dan's mentor throws him a windshield cleaner and says "Do it. That's the difference between knowledge and wisdom. The doing."


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And if Eros is living, the instinct to live, and if life as we know it here on this particular planet means growing and changing, then living and nurturing is about growing and changing and these things can only happen with the ability to choose, to have choices to experience a thing, a place, a taste, and this reminds me of Ingmar Bergman's Magic Flute. I'm uncertain if it is Mozart's flaw or Bergman's that casts the feminine principal as personification of evil and the masculine principal as personification of good, but in any case what struck me is the idea of Power and Weakness vs Power and Strength. The Queen of the Night is seen as having great power but also fatal weakness, whereas Sarastro is seen as having great power but also life giving strength... the difference? The Queen seeks to twist her daughter's fate to her own purposes, taking away her choices, whereas Sarastro seeks to teach Pamina and her love Tamino how to make choices for the betterment of others.

I see the same in Beauty and the Beast where the Beast creates choice for Beauty at every turn - she chooses to sacrifice, chooses to stay, chooses to leave, chooses to return. In the Disney version we're given Gaston, again a character who seeks to take away choices - the choices of Belle, her father, and the Beast.

Power, then, is not the problem, it's the possession of strength, the ability to think beyond personal gain to the future and sustenance of an entire community. And I see this among my ancestors, the barangay system there, the grange system here, where resources are gathered, celebrated, and redistributed among the people.

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Eros and the body... the body as vehicle of experience and more, not just intermediary, but essential to experience. Without Body, we are thought and spirit with the theory of living only. Bringing awareness to Eros is to celebrate and acknowledge the body for giving us what our minds and spirits can't - proof positive that what we think/believe is true, actually is, in the limited space of our bodies, actually true. And by true, I mean experienced and shared.

This concept of Objective Truth I find slippery these days, a different sort of vocabulary than the one I'm using now. Again because of the division created between Objective and Subjective, Male and Female, Light and Dark, Right and Wrong. The alignments are too easily made, habitually made and for now, left alone.

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And I think of the bodies of the Filipino comfort women and the bodies of those who fight to have their experiences acknowledged and recognized. How genocide is about taking away the bodies, taking away the evidence of violence, taking away the price paid for the riches of colonization. How the body remembers and if you take away the body, then there is no evidence of crime, and if there is no evidence, then there is no memory, and if there is no memory then there was no crime. But the body remembers, the body of the earth, the body of the blood, the body of the genetics, the body of social thought and social structure, and so there is no erasure, no sure erasure, only the bending of perspective, the revision of history.

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Leny is asked to account for the lack of sexuality discussions in decolonization, to account for sexual abuse and deviation as an expert witness, to account for the disconnection and disease of sexual abuse among 'her' people. As if any one body can account for a People.

I wrote to her about decolonizing sexuality:

Releasing shame and seeing it as a social contruction is the easiest, the tip of the iceberg, but one that requires constant meditation. We are habituated to shame, both as colonized and colonizer. Then there is the possiblity of viewing the person as whole, as mind and spirit moving in life through the body, listening to what the body teaches through experience rather than trying to control experience by limiting the body beyond simple safety measures. Being with the body as record keeper and fortune teller. Being honest with the body's revelations about our habits, fears, strengths by being present with the Body.

This all brings about spiritual rememberances - the Church as Body, the Body of Christ, a body of people, a body of work, somebody, nobody, we are the body - movement, change, revelation, experience. The basis for the analysis of Eros, then can apply to all these spaces. The question, the becomes, how to we provide space for our selves and most especially for each other to do that work, to allow those experiences to come forward, to allow the unique work of each body to come to fruition.


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There is more... more in my body to speak of, the stories of experiences with broken hearts, broken bodies, lost bodies, grieving bodies, new bodies, aging bodies, mythic bodies, bodies of work, somebodys, nobodys...

but bodies live /in/ time, and time slips quickly or perhaps I move slowly, and in any case, there has not been enough time to process it all, the loss, the cherished moments, the growth, the setbacks. But these things, Eros, Bodies, Power, Weakness, Strength, Beauty, Life, Death, Change, Growth, all touch what I'm writing about, when I'm writing, which these days isn't much and my body feels it, yearns for it, but there's this busy-ness of living which requires the body, requires the attention, requires the compassion.

So I live as Eros requires, for I am not eager to greet Thanatos as much as I may have been in earlier days, and for that, I am grateful.

Guardians of Copyright

I'm elsewhere... writing... living... thinking... and not necessarily in that order. More, hopefully, sooner than later.

In the meantime, for your amuse/bemusement:



This says it even better:

People Who Owned the Bible - A Story

(which, in MHO, is actually a parable... or teaching fable... but you'll get the gist...)

7/02/2007

Things That Matter



Measure S. 1315, "Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007"

The Honolulu Star Bulletin reports: "Equity provisions for Filipino vets were included in the Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007, which was passed out of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs yesterday (6/27/2007), Hawaii's senators announced yesterday....Roughly 120,000 Filipinos were drafted in 1941 to serve alongside U.S. forces in defending the Philippines -- an American commonwealth at the time -- during World War II. Those Filipinos were promised the same veterans' benefits as American servicemen, but Congress rescinded the pledge in 1946, when the Philippines gained independence."

It's been a long struggle to gain the promised benefits to these vets. Many have passed on. Many children and grandchildren still work to gain recognition for their fathers and grandfathers. About 18,000 vets still live, wait, hope, pray that the right thing will be done. I hope the wait will be over soon.

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House Resolution 121 passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 26, 2007

House Speaker Pelosi states: "Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee made a strong statement in support of human rights by passing a resolution in support of the comfort women, who were coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces during the World War II era...Out of 200,000 women that were exploited as comfort women by the Japanese Imperial Army, only a few hundred are still alive. This resolution calls on the government of Japan to accept responsibility for the coercion of young women into sexual slavery during the war by making an unambiguous statement of apology."

A significant step forward for this movement to gain recognition and reparations for this group of women who have suffered so much for such a long time. I am hopeful that this means we are becoming a society that will not tolerate the abuse of civilians, especially women and children, during time of war.

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How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties.

"From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service,” Taguba said. “And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.”

I would have liked to have seen him at his June 25 speech to the San Francisco Commonwealth Club. I hear that the audience was packed and that Taguba does not see himself as a hero, just a soldier who got fired for doing his job.

Angry. Frustrated. Jaded. These words do not begin to describe how I feel about this, especially given today's news of Scooter's Escape

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Roy was a friend who believed in smiling, in encouraging others, in community. He's gone now. We know he is gone. And we, the living, are left to remember.

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Finally, this small thing...

100 Poets @ Greenlake

From the Poetess of Greenlake: "Here they are, the poems (by 100 local living authors) printed on t-shirts and put onto unsuspecting runners running around Green Lake (Seattle, WA) on Sunday 10 June 2007."

My hay(na)ku, Charm Against Headaches, ran around (or was run around?) Greenlake, one of my childhood haunts. Hanging with 99 other NW poets, even from T-shirts, is a cool, cool thing.

7/01/2007

Link Roundup

After a few weeks of being away from the blog, I'm finding it difficult to get back into it, finding it difficult to write anything more than emails to friends. It's a reentry problem, one I'm familiar with, so I'm working it through tonight by reviewing my blog links from my sidebar. Connecting with my online community helps me feel connected, a very necessary part of my writing...

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This will have the side effect, though, of totally messing with my blog stats as I go back and forth between the blog and my links.

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Kelli mentions reading on a blog the suggestion that there are no American Poets and she proposes that perhaps what we need is a reality show to make poets more visible. I like the idea of "So You Think You Can Write," although the Atwood/Duhamel/Hickok panel doesn't sound quite as intense as Cowell/Abdul/Jackson...we'd need a good screamer like Mary Moore and an avante garde poet who no one 'gets' to fill in the space for Maya...

The promotion of poet performers though would be a good thing.

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Dean speaks fondly once again of daughter Sage and her ability to cut through to the heart of the matter. Life as layered complexity.

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Like Ivy I feel as if I am waiting for something...although I think in my case, I'm waiting for myself... to show up for the page.

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Okay... I'm not sure what happened to Rick Barot, but his link goes to a strange blog by Lloyd that appears to be a travel advertisement or something. But is also could be a poetry installation that I somehow missed the intro for.

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Kim also seems to be having difficulty with words and writes her own meme...

1) Yep, I modeled for a figure class back-in-the-day too... hopefully the sketches of me have been torn up, doused in gas, and duly burned....

4) I cry over dance movies too, the latest was Stomp the Yard and my all time tear jerker is Strictly Ballroom...which I see was a Baz Luhrmann flick, reminding me of course of the other tear jerker Moulin Rouge! for the dancing, the music, and the gorgeous energy of Kidman/McGregor.

8) Hair clogs? Hair anything doesn't sound appealing and clogs made of hair sounds... yeah, gross...

9) "The only little Asian in Montana learning to throw the tomahawk" *blink*
*LOL*...okay... yah, truth to tell, I've thrown an axe at a hunk of wood before, but it was at an event called the Brunwulf Olympics and I was dressed in a 9th century Scottish chiton and it was a Scandinavian throwing axe...but I was the only Asian throwing that year... I think I was the only Asian onsite that year. Oh, and let's not forget, the event was in North Idaho.

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Michelle and I are Myrna Loy doubles, although her stats are a bit stronger than mine

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Hard-hitting Barbara Jane does her own link roundup of sorts, pointing to the comments of Marianne Villanueva and Cecilia Brainard. BJ reiterates her vision of Filipino Lit

I am interested in seeing work published that does not limit itself to the narrative tropes of identity and cultural pride. I imagine "riskier" work, formalistically and linguistically challenging work, precisely crafted and well-contained work, genre boundary pushing work, writings examining such taboo or touchy subjects as, for example, sexuality, sexual abuse, domestic abuse. As well, I'd be interested in seeing work in speculative fiction, excerpts of novels in progress, essays on writing process, critical book reviews.

A high bar to set, but she's out there doing it, as are so many other FilAm writers, and the shift is palpable. We are finally moving away from apologetics writing and into an activist art which broadens rather than constricts.

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Nick shares travel pix... me, jealous? Absolutely.

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Finally... at least for tonight... Filipino Tsismis provides a couple of great links:

Vangie Buell, author of 25 Chickens and a Pig for a Bride: Growing up in a Filipino Immigrant Family, has that sense of preserving history that resonates with my recent work. I'm not surprised to see she's involved with FANHS. Another book to put on my To Get list. (I really need to finish my Bought but Not Yet Read list first - I've /got/ to.)

Barriors looks pretty cool, just off the block, really, but potentially hard hitting. It's got that great cross-over potential too between panel comics and animated strip.

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I think the biggest obstacle for me now is that life has been coming at me very fast and it spaces different from where my writing projects were outlined to take me. There's that sense of separation from my 'real life' and my 'working life' and not just the work that I do at my 8-5 job, but also the work of family caretaking. There shouldn't logically be a difference, but it's there, in my mind, nonetheless.

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Midnight plus six minutes. Time to sleep.