Los Angeles: City of Bukid

Okay.  I admit.  It’s really hard to come up with witty and or inspiring eye catching titles for my blog posts now that I’m not constantly in danger of being a victim of EJK or military questioning or whatever.  And even though I’m no longer joining protests all over Mindanao, I can still say that my life is exciting.  It’s a different kind of exciting though, a quieter one.  It’s not less exciting, because Los Angeles is full of life and new things, it’s just not the blood pumping, heart pounding kind of dangerous excitement that I got used to, and may just miss a little bit.  It is exciting to be actually be comfortable in the ‘Comfort Room (CR or bathroom) Whew who knew!

I have been kept decently busy with my new responsibilities.  It’s been a lot of fun getting to know people, to work with them on upcoming events and even to tackle the bane of my skills–fundraising.  My personal goal is to become a fundraising powerhouse and luckily, with the people that I’m surrounded by at work and at home, I think that can be attainable, as farfetched as it seems right now.

You may be wondering at this point, what a Bukid is.  In Bisaya, the common language of Mindanao, Bukids are mountains.  Los Angeles is a city with mountains, yet unlike Davao, it is actually like the Bukid, many stores close sadly at 10pm.  But it’s okay, there are other establishments open, just not the ones you’d want to get a nice dinner at  after a long meeting.

There isn’t a whole lot of news to be reporting stateside.  In the Philippines, Balikatan exercises are starting up again.  These are ‘shoulder to shoulder’ maneuvers between the Armed forces of the United States and the Philippines.  It’s been a yearly thing since oh, 23 years ago.  Every year they use live rounds and civilians always get injured and are made to sign waivers saying they won’t sue the United States etc.  Anyway why should you care?  Because ti’s just a form of empire.  I don’t know what sort of freedom&liberty&equality history you’ve studied but democracy…well democracy doesn’t synergize with empire.  We are an Empire.

Rallying in Zamboanga City
Rallying in Zamboanga City

Just like the British, Japanese, Austria Hungarian, Charlemagne’s, Ottoman, Roman, Chinese and many more empires.  I was just sending a postcard to the philippines and had stamps from the ‘Forever’ series.  I saw one said ‘Justice Forever.’  I wanted to change it to ‘Injustice Forever.’  We can’t kid ourselves and delude ourselves into thinking that an American Empire is conducive to a democratic planet;  It’s not.  An American Empire is conducive to an American luxurious lifestyle…which is great, since we’re americans.  But lets be honest about it.  All this :Leader of the Free World crap that I hear on TV.  It’s easy to be the leader of the free world….when most of the world is oppressed by  our economic/cultural and military juggernaut power.  When no other nation can stand up and have a say without fear of repercussions and sanctions, it’s easy to be the leader of the free world…by default.  I know older folks will say we earned that right in WWII when America liberated the world…and yes I do not deny that America helped win the war.  Yet be wary of belittling the sacrifices of other nations who fought many bloody battles before America entered the fray.  It’s been almost 100 years since WWI ended, and almost 25 years since the Soviet Union fell, and still, we prevail as the only Empire.  The Leader. of the World.  Forget about free world.  Lets just call ourselves, the Leader of Earth.  I like it better.  It sounds less precocious and way more honest than the Leader of the Free World.

Look familiar?  Imagine 1770s.  Colonial townspeople holding up similar signs to protest British Empire. Have we become what our founders fought against not so many years ago?
Look familiar? Imagine 1770s. Colonial townspeople holding up similar signs to protest British Empire. Have we become what our founders fought against not so many years ago?

 

So what’s the point of my little paragraph?  Well this:  The Philippines has trouble passing progressive laws that empower their citizens because the politicians and business leaders, the once who have the power to do so, benefit to much from the current system.  Everywhere that I’ve shared that at home and in church, people shake their heads and say:  They are just super corrupt aren’t they Adam. Yes Bob, they are.

Yet the Philippines is just a microcosm of what global politics is.  The U.N., the United States and the Security council have trouble voting on progressive policies and international laws that empower global citizens and nations..because the elite 10% of the world, us, the 99& in the United States are part of the people that benefit the most from current global politics.  We have the power, we have the privilege.  Liberty, Freedom, Equality and Justice for all…american citizens oh and our euro friends too. And the Saudis cause they have oil.  At some point, we as a people, we as a nation have to step up and say that this is not just, that this is not peace.  As Christians we have to take a good hard look at our lifestyle, at our choices and ask if this is a life Jesus would be proud we had. Are these choices in line with Jesus’ teachings, because Jesus taught justice, Jesus taught liberty, freedom from empire.  Human rights, a society of inclusion based of of love.  Love for one another.

 

So think on that this week.

 

 

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