Forty-five years after

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Sunday, March 30, 2014


THE New People’s Army (NPA), the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), celebrated its 45th anniversary yesterday.

Much has changed since a group of 72 fighters armed with light weapons decided to wage a protracted “people’s war” against the government.

The Iron Curtain, the ideological and physical divide that separated the democratic Western Europe and the communist East, is no more. Most members of the Warsaw Pact abandoned the one-party system after the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

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The People’s Republic of China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,
which inspired the CPP-NPA’s unrest, also proved to be a disaster. China today is only communist on paper.

In Vietnam, the war between the communist north and the democratic south was not so much about ideology, but a struggle to throw off the shackles of foreign domination.

As for Cuba, Fidel Castro is a shell of his former self. The communist threat, or the red scare, that was a constant reality to baby boomers has become a historical anecdote to today’s netizens. I doubt they know what a Sparrow Unit is.

For some, it’s easy to conclude that the CPP-NPA is an anachronism. A remnant of the past. But the roots of its struggle continue to plague the country. The social ills that its founders wanted to eliminate--graft and
corruption, the growing disparity of the haves and have-nots, the disenfranchisement of the rural populace—remain.

Last week, the group suffered a major setback with the arrest of CPPNPA chairman Benito Tiamzon and his partner, party general-secretary Wilma Austria.

What shocked a lot of people was not the fact that the top cadres of the CPP-NPA were leading a “quiet” life in a sprawling compound in San Fernando under the noses of the military and police, but the fact that the couple doted on their pets.

They allegedly spent P14,000 a month on pet food alone. I think the amount is ridiculous. And I doubt their pets ate that much food. But it’s a big boost to government propaganda; the irony of having the purveyors of a classless, moneyless ideology leading such humdrum, middle-class existence.

I’ve always associated the group with the regime of the late president
Ferdinand Marcos and UP intellectuals. They were the dissidents, the
desaparecidos, the artists, the poets, the demonstrators in tight shirts
with large collars and bell-bottoms in my elementary years.

Today, the group has been reduced to being designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department, much like Al-Qaeda.

***
When people want to end a marriage, they separate, or they have an annulment. In the industrialized world, they have a divorce.

Thanks to Hollywood star, singer and food writer Gwenyth Paltrow, they can now consciously uncouple.

In her newsletter Goop, last year’s most hated celebrity used this term to announce her breakup with her husband of 10 years, Cold Play lead singer Chris Martin.

She also posted Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherry Sami’s thoughts on the modern-day phenomenon: “…A conscious uncoupling is the ability to understand that every irritation and argument was a signal to look inside ourselves and identify a negative internal object that needed healing.
Because present events always trigger pain from a past event, it’s never
the current situation that needs the real fixing. It’s just the echo of an older emotional injury. If we can remain conscious of this during our uncoupling, we will understand it’s how we relate to ourselves internally as we go through an experience that’s the real issue, not what’s actually happening.”

The US press has deemed Paltrow, the daughter of the late director Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner, pretentious.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 30, 2014.

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