It took two weeks to construct the effigy depicting a blood-thirsty image of Obama bringing nuclear weapons as his chariot of war being pulled by a rabid dog in the image of Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III pivots to Asia-Pacific.
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – There may be a reported high prevalence of colonial mentality among Filipinos, but on April 28, residents and bystanders behaved otherwise as they laughed at the larger than life effigy of US President Barack Obama as it passed by the streets of Manila.
The effigy depicted a blood-thirsty image of Obama bringing nuclear weapons as his chariot of war pivots to Asia-Pacific. His chariot is being pulled by a rabid dog in the image of Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
“Look, that’s Obama! Look, that’s Noynoy!” people remarked as they lined the streets taken by marchers protesting Obama’s state visit. Many took out their cellphones and phablets and took photos of the effigy.
It is the first Obama effigy conceptualized by Aldrein Silanga, 27, member of Bayan Muna-Metro Manila. With another visual artist, Mervin Pimentel, he said they began constructing it two weeks ago. They were later joined by eight to 10 activists from urban poor communities who they guided carefully to help in finishing the effigy.
When done, Obama in his chariot of war, pulled by rabid dog Aquino, stands on a four-wheel steel cart manually steered along the streets of Manila ahead of the peoples march by no less than 10 persons, including the artists.
In the hour-long march from Liwasang Bonifacio to Mendiola via Quiapo and Avenida, the effigy drew attention and grins. Some bystanders even raised their fists in response to the public address and slogans of the marchers. The children had fun heckling Obama and Noynoy.
Asked how they came up with the effigy’s design, Silanga said everyday poverty inspires them to make this especially since they need to represent in big mobilizations the peoples’ views and calls.
Upon arrival at Mendiola Bridge, the youth activists and workers removed the coiled razor wire barriers to get near the steel gates, which they shook hard in an effort to open it and let all the marchers enter. On the other side, lovely students who witnessed the action whipped out their cellphones to take photos and videos as policemen watched the rallyists from the other side of the gate. “They’re so brave,” the coeds said, pointing at the rallyists.
Soon the so-called first line of defense police, wearing protective helmets, vests and arm and leg pads, marched out of the Malacañang’s Mendiola gate, banging their sticks on their shield. They blocked and pushed the rallyists away.
Obama and Aquino’s effigy was then burned in Mendiola, and they continued the program they started in Liwasang Bonifacio.
Although the Bayan artists spent a long time creating the effigy, Silanga told Bulatlat.com he feels happy that it was burned in the end – “it’s like releasing stress. It is a cause of difficulty everyday, and here we burned it down.”