The Land of my People- The Waray Waray

Tiny - Posted on 17 December 2013

Needa Bee/PNN Poverty Scholar

Eastern samar of the philippines...the land of my people the waray waray...I remember going to the river to catch shrimp too big to fit into my hands that would be fried with saba (the philippine plantain) or stewed with gabi leaves, banana hearts, bamboo shoots in coconut milk...i remember the cobras that were put into the rice silos to kill rats that got into the storerooms of freshly harvested and dried rice...i remember the tiki tiki lizards who lived in the rafters of the house and who always appeared when it was time to eat...I remember my family throwing rise up to the lizards when they would sing “tiki tiki tiki” in a loud chorus and how they would skillfully catch the rice midair with their long, fast tongues...I remember being fearful and unable to sleep as a monsoon passed by...i remember my family seemingly untroubled telling stories, laughing in the darkness as the storm rattled and raged outside...

On november 8, 2013 typhoon yolanda hit the eastern visayas. It was the 26th typhoon to hit the nation of 7,100 islands this year. And the strongest known recorded typhoon in the history of world according to merterologists. It was three times stronger than huricane katrina and four times larger. Four million people mostly waray waray have been displaced. At least 10,000 have died and the body count continues. An an ugly agenda of forgien imperialist interests is unfolding.

The last time is was in the eastern visayas I was twelve years old. It is the ancestral lands and territory of the waray waray people – the third poorest region of the philippines and home to a warrior society that has a history of militant resistance against spanish, japanese, u.s and chinese imperialism. We have countless stories and songs of the waray waray people being hospitable to the forginers...until my ancestors realized that the agenda was of complete colonization of the islands and her people. Whether it be 1898 or 1948, once the waray waray realized what was happening, my ancestors organized and massacred foreign soldiers. One of the most well known masacares happened in banglagia. We completely defeated the u.s military attempts under general douglas mac arthur to remilitarize the area. In retaliation mac arthur declared he would turn the area into a “howling wilderness” and had every waray waray over the age of 10 years old killed.

Today the lands of the waray waray people are again a howling wilderness.

I remember sitting on pink beaches, dipping sweet juicy mangos I picked off the trees into the salty sea and devouring them with enthusiasm and delight... I remember unsuccessfully attempting to try to follow my cousins scampering up coconut trees on white beaches... I remember seeing crocodiles that were the size of fallen redwood trees and running faster that I have ever run in my life...

In a country that is used to the monsoon season this super typhoon was nothing that the islands have ever seen. Entire cities have been left without a building or a cococunt tree left standing. The beaches I ran on are were covered with debris and dead bodies. A month after the storm and some areas still have no electricity, no internet no phone. Some ares still have not received relief.

It took the philippine government five days to actually respond to the disaster. The first relief efforts came from other nations, not the republic of the philippines.  And once the relief efforts came, corrupt politicians repackaged the relief goods with notes that said “brought to you from senator/congressman/president so and so”. That took a few more days for the relief to arrive to the people. And other relief supplies never made it to the visayas. They were resold at stores in manila.

Imperialist military forces took complete advantage of the corrupt philippine government's inaction and disregard. The u.s and then israel and then china sent thousands or military forces to flood the region....not with relief...with guns to “maintain order.” Two weeks the philippine declared all grassroots relief efforts were outlawed and forceably evacuated grassroots volunteers. Last week the red cross came in with forced live polio vaccinations for the entire region. The philippines irradiated the polio virus in the 1940s.

Why this surge of military in the philippines? The philippines was a direct colony of the u.s from 1898 to 1940. From 1090 to the present we have been a neo-colony of the u.s. The philippine republic was set up by the u.s government. Every philippine president has attended harvard or yale. And every policy and budget item reflects the imperialist needs of the u.s. Currently the u.s. Government has more than 60 military bases throughout the philippines and is actively engaged in protecting and moving forward the interests of foreign multinatinal corporations, and of fighting the revolutionary new peoples army – the armed underground branch of the national democratic revolution in the philippines. The philippines has always been a startegic military stronghold for the u.s and other imperialist powers. It was always been a treasure chests of natural resources from gold to uranium to coconut to sugar to lumber to fish to cheap exportable labor.

In the new world order of 2013, the need to fully secure the philippines for imperialist military domination and for her resources is so serious that rather than help the philippine people who survived the typhoon they would rather kill them. Stories have been told that a week before typhoon yolanda u.s military HARP technology was seen in the waters off the coasts of eastern samar...The waray waray people after all are known to be resilient warriors who fight back and win...

I remember walking thru the rice paddys and the way the mud would ooze thru my toes... I remember watching my people farm the land and fish the waters...i remember listening to the stories of how brave and fierce and reslient my people are...i remember sitting in the jungle under giant leaves listening to the sounds of the place that runs in my blood and flesh and certain that with was paradise on earth...i remember...and I know that what I remember no longer is...


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