Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume III, Number 44 December 7 - 13, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
To Be A ‘Sison Terrorist’
There are three kinds of terrorists: the Bin Laden terrorists – millionaires who attack innocent civilians; the Bush terrorists – monopoly capitalists who use armed aggression against those opposed to imperialist hegemony and the rule of monopoly capital; and the Sison terrorists – patriotic and democratic citizens committed to the struggle of the poor and oppressed.
D. L. Mondelo
Militant and passionate songs were sung; pledges were made to further the defense of the Filipino expatriate; catchy phrases were recited; speeches were eloquently delivered; and, of course, dozens of copies of the expatriate’s latest book were eagerly bought.
These were the highlights of the launching of Jose Maria Sison’s (Joma for short) latest book, “U.S. Terrorism and War in the Philippines,” in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Nov. 28, attended by several dozens of guests, admirers and supporters.
The Philippine edition of this book was published by Aklatang Bayan, Inc. and was first launched in October in Manila (Book Review - Sison’s Praxis).
The European edition of the book was published by Papieren Tijger, described by one of the book reviewers as “one of the few remaining progressive publishers in the Netherlands.”
Theo Droog, chair of the Dutch-Philippine Solidarity Movement (NFS) and the Committee DEFEND, said in his welcome remarks opening the book launching, that the publication of the book is part of the effort in the fight to defend the democratic rights of Joma and to remove his name from the European Union’s so-called terrorist list.
Droog also stated that the book sets the record straight as to who Joma really is because he is being prosecuted and persecuted by the Dutch, U.S. and European Union governments based on secret files that appear to be very deficient on facts.
Gerard van Alkemade of the Hague Peace Platform- a Dutch pacifist group, a longstanding supporter of Joma, and one of two guests who reviewed the book - said: “Joma is not a terrorist but an outstanding Filipino scholar. His book is a good documentation on the real terrorists.”
Dr. Rita Vannoberghen, a medical doctor from Belgium and member of the Brussels-based Medicine for the People, provided the colorful part of the review.
“Proud to be a Sison terrorist”
“If you read this book, they might also label you a terrorist,” Vannoberghen said heartily, while proudly displaying a button that says: “Proud to be a Sison terrorist.”
She said the terrorist labeling of Joma is only a test case which is intended to incriminate the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and all other progressive and revolutionary groups in Europe as terrorists.
She delighted the audience by comparing three kinds of terrorists: the Bin Laden terrorists – millionaires who attack innocent civilians; the Bush terrorists – monopoly capitalists who use armed aggression against those opposed to imperialist hegemony and the rule of monopoly capital; and the Sison terrorists – patriotic and democratic citizens committed to the struggle of the poor and oppressed.
“I am proud to be called a Sison terrorist,” Vannoberghen declared as the audience responded with applause.
“The only condition to become a Sison terrorist is to buy the book,” she smilingly concluded before an approving audience.
Wars of aggression
In a brief remark, Joma thanked the guests and organizers of the launching. He also thanked Fidel Agcaoili who put together and edited the book, and his Dutch publishers.
Joma explained that his book merely cites the biggest forms of terrorism, i.e. “wars of aggression by the United States against the Filipino people and other peoples, the U.S.-supported Marcos dictatorship, and the plunder, exploitation and oppression of monopoly capitalism.”
Joma told the audience a little about his personal background by saying that his anti-imperialism can be traced to the experiences of his ancestors, including the histories, experiences and writings of Filipino heroes.
“When I went to the Ateneo de Manila (where he attended grade and high school), the Jesuits described Andres Bonifacio as a thug, and I was shocked!,” Joma said.
Explaining his inclusion in the European Union’s terrorist list, Joma said the Dutch government provided the European Council some flimsy charges that could be used against him.
On the contents of his book, Joma said: “We have to understand the grand-scale terrorism of the U.S. as it is connected to monopoly capitalism. The problem for the U.S. monopoly capitalists (in their so-called war against terrorism), is that people are fighting back.”
Paul de Rutter, who represented the Dutch publisher, said it was a good experience to work with Joma. He expressed hope that they could work again in a similar project.
Meanwhile, another book about Joma is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of next year. The book is authored by New York-based multi-awarded Filipino writer Ninotchka Rosca.
Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been in exile in The Netherlands since 1987 when the government canceled his passport. He now serves as Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP.
A multi-awarded poet, he has written and co-authored several books about the Philippine revolution, history, political economy and other subjects.
Contact Committee DEFEND (firstname.lastname@example.org) for copies of the European edition of “U.S. Terrorism and War in the Philippines” by Jose Maria Sison. Bulatlat.com