Monday, June 12, 2006

Killing season in the Philippines

Not many, if any, of the one hundred thousand Filipina domestic helpers who work hereabouts will be marking the day, but today is, apparently, Independence Day in the Philippines.

That's independence version 1898, when the Spanish colonialists withdrew as a result of their defeat in the so-called Spanish-American War (which was fought over who should own and rule Cuba).

Turn of that century Filipino independence did not last long, however. A US military occupation force soon installed itself. The newly-independent Filipinos rebelled. The result? What is now known as the Philippine-American War (1899-1913), although at the time it was called the Philippine Insurrection. Hundred of thousands of civilians died. Does any of that sound familiar?

Top caption:"Kill every one over ten" - General Jacob H Smith. Bottom caption: "Criminals Because They Were Born Ten Years Before We Took the Philippines" (New York Journal -- May 5, 1902)

The killing continues. The Philippines is, after Iraq, the most dangerous place in the world for journalists. There is also an ongoing, low-level and methodical campaign of murder targeting legal left-wing organisers and activists. Don't believe that? Killing Season in the Philippines: Asia Times

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