The color red

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Friday, December 27, 2013

THE closing week of Decembers marks red-letter days for many Filipinos.

Red symbolizes the color of Santa Claus’s winter suit, or the red poinsettias, the color of riches, power, and royalty (2 Sam 1:24; Lam 4:5; Rev 18:12, 16) and of the birth of the Christ child, the divine king, celebrated every December 25.

Yesterday, a number of Filipinos celebrated the color of red. December 26 marks the birth of Mao Zedong, the chairman of the Communist Party of China. Not coincidentally, the day also marks the birth of the Communist Party of the Philippines-Maoist.

For the Christians and the Maoist, red symbolizes the color for blood.

For the Church, red reminds the faithful of her martyrs. It reminds us of the wounds of Christ and the stripes by which we are healed (Is 53:5; 1 Pet 2:24). Red is for us a remembrance of the ever flowing font of divine love and forgiveness.

For the Maoists, the red of December 26 symbolizes the red flag with the hammer and sickle, its red army and fighters, and the color of blood of its so-called martyrs who died for their armed struggle.

Does the color red of the Christians and Maoist like East and West, and ne’er the twain shall meet? Maybe not, if the Maoists and the Government can find common grounds. At least, that’s what the peace talks between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front strive to achieve.

Early this December, I was in Nepal. For the whole time I was billeted in the four-star Himalayan Hotel, I got to receive The Himalayan. The national daily featured news articles on Nepalese politics.
I remember that in the early 1990s, the country had a significant armed Maoists’ “people’s war” that had united with other republican forces to topple the “god king” of the panchayat monarchy.

Nowadays, The Himalayan featured news articles on the pre-occupation of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist whether to take part in the newly-elected Constituent Assembly, and create a national government.

The United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) spokesperson Agni Sapkota said party members have finally agreed late this month to join the assembly after a meeting with leaders of other major political parties.

The parties have agreed to form a parliamentary committee to investigate the Maoists’ allegations of election irregularities. The Maoists came third in the Nov. 19 election.

Whether we agree or vehemently disagree with our own local Maoists, no one can deny that their party has its own constituency of thousands.

Moreover, if our Filipino republican democrats bat for pluralism, we should encourage the CPP to slug it out in the marketplace of ideas in our governance arena. The Maoists need not necessarily surrender their arms and give up their 10-point agenda for a people’s democratic revolution. After all, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees of individual Americans to keep and bear arms.

On the other hand, the CPP could emulate its CPN comrades, could stay the hand of armed struggle, and form a united front in a coalition government of forces who agree with the party’s call for industrialization and agrarian reform.

Who can disagree with the promotion of a national, scientific and mass educational system that’s free, irrespective of class, religion, creed, sex or color? Or promote the national language as the principal medium of communication in Philippine society?

Like Catholics and Protestants, or Christians and Muslims, Filipinos who care for their country can find common grounds. Why build walls when we can all create bridges?

In this season of hope and goodwill, let us all promote Valentine red, the color that symbolizes the love for our fellow Filipinos and the masa.



Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 27, 2013.


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