Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The truth in one free afternoon*

Picture-taking at Rizal Monument


Performers at the side

Celebrating "Independence Day"

Bathing outdoors on Independence Day

Independence Day meal

I joined a relaxed, albeit brief, photowalk with some photographers on Sunday afternoon at the June 12 festivities, catching a little of that late afternoon sunlight on the crowds and performers. Independence day, as usual, served as an occasion for the State to present a diluted version of the historic struggles for independence and project the current armed forces with its array of weaponry. Walking around, I thought about the relevance of past struggles for freedom on the lives of ordinary folks today. I thought, too, about what Filipinos of old, those heralded and those less known, might say about the Philippines, if they were alive right now.

At the side of Quirino grandstand, there was an older woman with two children, one of them barefoot, eating food together under a tree. There was also a young woman taking a bath with her clothes on, using soap and buckets of water -- one of the many forced to live in the streets. Strong ambient light shown on them like a spotlight. The young woman’s efforts to be clean and decent were even more striking as she was within the vicinity of that spectacle put on by the State. For what are displays of military might and boasts of a glorious past when so many are without a proper home and a place to bathe in the present?


*From the lyrics of "My Rights Versus Yours" by The New Pornographers

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