Katatapos ko lang basahin ang “Recca: From Diliman to Cordillera.” In two words, inspiring, enraging. Napakahusay ng pagkakasunod-sunod sa mga artikulo; nabaybay ang pag-unlad ng komitment ni Recca/Tet/Bibo, bilang anak, kapatid, estudyante, aktibista, magulang, hukbo, at martir. Pinakatumatak sa akin ang “Black” ni Alamon sa bandang huli; marahil dahil na rin sa masining nitong pagsuma sa lahat ng kwento, pakiramdam, at katotohanan na nabasa ko na pagkarating sa piyesang iyon. Pero karamihan sa artikulo ay kailangang mabasa ng mas marami pa.
Kaugnay nito, noong nakaraang buwan lang din ay nakadalo ako sa huling gabi ng lamay sa UP Diliman para kay Eddik Serrano, isang political prisoner at gaya ni Recca ay tunay na iskolar ng bayan. May una dapat akong post tungkol sa kanya pero nabura ang draft, kaya dito na lang ulit. May mahusay din silang contrast.
Recca Noele Monte (1981-2014)
1. Maintain bridges
Recca has remarkably maintained and developed connections and friendships some would have effortlessly let go. Genuinely combating liberalism, she actively engaged everyone close to her: she wrote political yet very personal letters for her high school friends, enthusiastically reached out to her lie-low activist friends, etc. Her ability/proficiency to develop relationships should have been more manifest in her relations with the indigenous people and farmers of the communities she lived with/for – which I think the book has somewhat not shown enough just through letters from groups/communities.
2. Cherish revolutionary songs
Recca is a singer too. Before taking up arms, she was a member of a cultural national-democratic organization. And she was so diligent; perhaps most perfectly shown in “Buddy,” where her friend talks about how they ride university jeepneys only to sing progressive song to its passengers, not getting down even if the vehicle already restarts its route. And of course, other anecdotes of her general love of songs, of course particularly progressive and revolutionary ones.
Personally, this has reinforced my conviction to really do away with my very bourgeois appreciation of the mostly bourgeois songs I ever listen to. Since admittedly, bourgeois ideology sneakingly seeps in to my world view through culture – and a huge part of culture I consume are songs.
3. Uphold international humanitarian laws
It is only through the very brutal and unjust circumstances of Recca’s death that I have now understood the crucial difference between human rights and humanitarian laws. International humanitarian laws (IHL) applies in situations of armed conflict and aims to protect those who do not or no longer taking part in the hostilities; while human rights apply both during war and peace, and applies to everyone. One can not just simply say that IHL are applications of human rights during war. Since war is essentially the violation of various human rights: to life, to freedom of movement, to property, etc. The very existence of IHL, implies a recognition that situations where the violation of human rights become inevitable (ie. war), should at least be made humane. Hence that wars are not merely just about the violation of rights as caused by inhumane/evil people, as the ruling class would want everyone to believe.
Recca and the seven other martyrs who died with her on September 2014, were combatants in an on going armed conflict between the Manila government and the Communists – it is just expected that soldiers from both sides will die. But as Recca’s relatives would repeatedly point out with much anguish and rage, the killing need not be so barbarically violent (eg. to the point that the autopsy report literally described Recca’s skull as resembling a “crushed egg”).
Hence, the upholding of IHL is a very crucial and essential part of the pursuit for peace. The mere recognition of IHL is a recognition of the reality of war (as in violations of human rights) on the one side and the ever-present need for humanity. It is at the same time a recognition of the prevailing historical necessity/inevitability of armed conflict and a manifestation of longing for a just and lasting peace after.
4. Science can only be for the people
If not, then it can hardly be called as “science,” but must be exposed as another of the numerous mechanisms/schemes of the ruling class to lord over the people (i.e. genetic modification of foods as monopolized by huge agro-chemical transnational corporations). And so, Recca is a true practitioner of science. One of the more outstanding feats she has done is to successfully lead the construction of a simple hydraulic dam deep within the jungles of the North in order to provide electricity. This is actual science in action, taking into consideration the technical, social, economic, political, etc. aspects of its application.
Eduardo Serrano (1954-2016)
1. Build bridges.
“Ka Eddik” tirelessly connects with everyone he meets. Literally everyone he has a chance of talking to. Guards, nurses, co-patients – anyone. He consistently looks for a connection, be it common province, common interests, common situations, common opinions. He actively strives to connect with the common men.
2. Raise the consciousness of your family
We are born into conditions we have no control over, one of which is our families – which becomes obvious during our early teenage years. The characteristic and future of the family as an institution interestingly begs for another discussion, but it is now sufficient to say that the family we are born into is part of the great masses we aim to arouse, organize, and mobilize and hence we must. Political education for our families may sometimes prove to be more urgent and actually strategic for our own disposition and political performance – since obviously, depending on the level of understanding our family has of what we do, we are limited/capacitated. Ka Eddik has done a great job in this aspect of his revolutionary life.
3. Tirelessly pursue knowledge
Ka Eddik was on a Masteral course in University of Copenhagen when Martial Law broke out in the Philippines in 1972. He could have safely stayed in the certainly more comfortable halls of the foreign school but his response was that of a hero being called upon by his people – he went home and started working among Mangyans. After being illegally jailed in 2004, he later on enrolled in a Masteral program in University of the Philippines Los Banos and promptly finished its requirements while in jail.* And those are just his endeavors on formal education.
4. Create revolutionary art
Ka Eddik consistently created various forms of art while in prison: poems, paintings, crafts, etc. This may be said as a natural tendency given that political prisoners are torturously inflected with sheer boredom and isolation, but his art has inspired lots of activists – while he has successfully passed his time. Art is the crystallization of reality as expressed by wo/men. And Ka Eddik’s through form and content, truly expressed that of revolutionary optimism.