The stand-off ended last night. After hours of negotiations, the rogue soldiers left Oakwood and were shuttled back to barracks. They shall be dealt with according to the "Articles of War" (not that I understand what that means).
And because of the incident, the Philippines was deemed newsworthy enough for Pres. Gloria Macapagal's State of the Nation address to be aired live on CNN-Asia.
There is a lot of wisdom, I think, in many of the statements that government officials are giving about the situation. Tourism Secretary Dick Gordon, National Security Adviser Roilo Golez, Ecclesiastical and Media Affairs Adviser Dodi Limucauco, and several other officials have said something to the effect of: The idealism and conviction of these junior officers ought to be lauded, and their ideas, thoughts, and grievances ought to be heard. However, we also ought to be firm that their method of airing their grievances is unacceptable.
After days of coup rumors and a night of confusing news, this is what's happening: a small group of junior officers and soldiers (about seventy men in all, according to the Inquirer report) are holed up in a service apartment building in the Makati Business District. I'm not sure what exactly they're trying to accomplish (and no one is, actually), but they have come out with one press statement already, alleging that the government has been in cahoots with rebel forces in Mindanao, among other things. Meanwhile, a few opposition political groups have tried to take advantage of the situation by attempting to organize mini-rallies around Makati (though attendance appears to be very low), and some opposition politicians (as expected) are grandstanding .... In the meantime, the stand-off continues: government troops have surrounded the building where they are at, and the president has given the mutineers until 5 PM today to report back to barracks. (It's 11:30 AM as I type this.)
The general sentiment I'm getting is that most Filipinos just want this whole thing over. Nobody really understands why the mutineers are doing what they're doing, nor what they pragmatically hope to accomplish, apart from publicizing their grievances.
My cousin, who's with the 101st in Iraq, has been writing e-mail more frequently, and his messages are sounding sadder and sadder. One of his friends had a heart attack and died a few days ago, and another one just got a Dear John letter from his fiancee.
Iraq no longer fills newspaper headlines the way it used to, but I hope we all remember that thousands of young men and women are still there, still unsure of when they will finally be coming home. Please keep my cousin and all his fellow-soldiers in your prayers.
As if the shock from David Kelly's death weren't enough to rattle the side of me that still feels some loyalty toward the land of my birth .... This news I find quite sad, and disturbing. It's rather unnerving that one of the oldest religion institutions in the world appears to be on the brink of unravelling before our very eyes.
Meanwhile, I'm feeling renewed at work. We had a very loooong planning meeting yesterday, and the brainstorming sessions got me excited about the things I hope to accomplish in the next three years.
(Subtitled: hindi lang si brownpau ang naiinis dito)
Background: I have just spent the last week preparing a list of fallacies that students commonly commit in papers. That list included, of course, petitio principii, known in English as begging the question.
Today: I was reading a Salon compilation of commentaries from the international press about the US intelligence scandal, when I came across this line from an article by Jim Lobe published in Asia Times:
In a television interview, [ambassador Joseph] Wilson ... said that he was stunned when Bush referred to it in his State of the Union address and concluded that its mention was part of a broader effort to influence public opinion. "It really comes down to the administration misrepresenting the facts on an issue that was a fundamental justification for going to war," he told the Washington Post. "It begs the question, what else are they lying about?"
Uhhh ... it begs the question???
So, the question is: Whom do we hit on the head? Joseph Wilson, for making that statement, or Jim Lobe, for including the quote in his article?
1. What were your favorite childhood stories? I read a lot of Enid Blyton and other British children's books. But I also enjoyed dark or complex fairy tales, like the Grimms' and Hans Christian Andersen's.
2. What books from your childhood would you like to share with [your] children? All of them. Everything.
3. Have you re-read any of those childhood stories and been surprised by anything? Yeah. The goriness of Grimm.
4. How old were you when you first learned to read? If my mom's stories are to be believed, I could recognize letters and syllables at two, and I was reading books by three.
5. Do you remember the first 'grown-up' book you read? How old were you? My parents really encouraged reading in our house, so I the difference between "grown-up" books and non-grown up books were somewhat blurred. We'd go to the bookstore once a week when I was a child and my mom would buy any book that I found interesting, whether it was for secondary school or primary school readers.
1. Do you remember your first best friend? Who was it? I don't know if Edwin Antillon counts as my first best friend, because I didn't know the phrase "best friend" yet at the time. Our parents teased us as boyfriend and girlfriend, though. We were three. :)
The first person I acknowledged as a "best friend" was Penelope Siraj. We were four or five, I think.
I was best friends with Melissa Liew, probably from the ages five to eight.
2. Are you still in touch with this person? No. I think my mom still has some idea of the Antillon family's whereabouts. Last I heard, Edwin was in Georgia.
I have absolutely no idea where Penelope is or what she is doing.
The last time Melissa and I wrote each other was when we were still in college.
3. Do you have a current close friend? More than one. My "oldest friend" (a best friend whom I'm still best friends with) is Gen. My other best friends include Anj and Karen. I always know that my conversations with Erik, Chiqui, and Jerome will be profound. And I will always make sure that Ginny, Ela, and my various barkada's are constantly updated with the major landmarks of my life.
And of course, M.
4. How did you become friends with this person? Fourth grade, high school, first year college, block, college org.
5. Is there a friend from your past that you wish you were still in contact with? Why? Of course. All my past best friends (save for one). When people who have touched your lives lose touch with you (or you with them), you can't help but wonder at times how they are doing and how time and life have treated them.
(Update: Make that, Bush supporters and CIA veterans. I find it frustrating that even my college junior students, with their scant knowledge of Arendt, could have predicted the fallout from the war on Iraq ... while Bush, Cheney, and all these sixty-plus-year-old "leaders of the free world" were too blind to see it.)