DIALOGUES ON PHILIPPINE LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY, PART I
(Note: Below is an exchange between Eman Lerona and this blogger. Eman was reacting to my previous reaction to another language advocate, Remy Melendez. Both Eman and Remy know well whereof they speak in this vicious cycle we call neocolonization-decolonization-neocolonization that continues to blight out lives as peoples of the Philippines.)
You know well how difficult this struggle is, and your letter is a salve in this long and desolate and oftentimes lonely road ahead all of us, we who understand a little bit better about what we should do as non-Tagalog peoples.
It is not people here that we are against: it is the hemlock in the ideas of the Tagalist mind and mindset, the hemlock of 'nationalized' language that they force us to drink, as if we ourselves do not have our own drink, much better, much fresher, much more refreshing than somebody else's offer.
You remember that faint and vague claim of that guy somewhere: 'nagparaya' is his word, a Tagalog term which he passes off as Filipino, his own definition.
That term—nagparaya, as in ‘pagpaparaya ng Tagalog’—alludes to the sacrifice of Christ: Tagalog offering itself for all the peoples of the Philippines!
That, to me, is pathologic of a complex which, if our resident psychiatrist and mental health workers are reading this piece, they would call as 'messianic'.
Heck, they say over here: we do not need a redeemer outside of ourselves.
We only need each other, we non-Tagalog peoples—and with each other and because of each other, we can deliver ourselves from the clutches of linguistic death.
Best to you with the anito.
Subject: [The DILFED Forum]
Re: It is not the name, it is the struggle
Date: Saturday, November 15, 2008, 1:55 AM
Let me be the first to congratulate you for this little victory, Prof. Agcaoili.
I am only one of the 90 million or so persons in the Philippines, but who knows how many "ones" are in support of you—our advocacy? Panginbulahan halin sa mga Ilonggo kag Karay-a kang Panay.
In DILFED@yahoogroups. com, Aurelio Agcaoili
I understand, and you are right.
But to spend my day stooping down to his intellect, forget it, not in that way.
I will keep on writing, as I have always done, but not because of them and their poison.
I am going to continue to stand for our rights as peoples of the homeland. I have not stopped doing so.
My blogs are a proof of this position, and you can go figure how, like everyone else at DILFED and DILA and SOLFED and other groups, I have been a threat to this people, a threat to their false security of a statist nationalism and statist language.
Let me tell you that I write in their language too, and use their language to hit the head of the nail.
On a last note, please help me go on with this struggle.
In the meantime, I am bringing this struggle in the international arena, my modest way of alerting kindred spirits, in this kind of oppression that we have begun to like, or at least, some of the supposedly better intellectuals of the non-Tagalog cultures and languages.
You see them around, and they are many of them as well.
You can see in this paper I will present at the First International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation in March 2009, the abstract of which is found below--to illustrate my commitment to this struggle.
To win a slot in a conference like is a little victory enough for me, with an international audience that I hope will rise up to the occasion of seeing that in the Philippines all is not well, that, in fact, many things are wrong including this abominable Tagalogism that is killing our sense of self, sense of being, sense of becoming, and sense of community.
What more does the enemy want to liquidate--systematically salvage--all of us?
I am becoming a pariah, I must say.
But let it be. You check on my blogs where these positions have consistently been on a critique of the patriarchy of Tagalogism: asagcaoili-ariel. blogspot. com, aurelioagcaoili.wordpress. com, and nakemconferences. blogspot. com.
To plug: my winning essays in Tagalog, at the Collantes Prize for the Tagalog Essay, (2006, 2008) are a rebuke of the position of Anonuevo and his ilk. These essays are publicly available.
So I write in Tagalog to rebuke Tagalogism. You can say this: use the weapon of the enemy to destroy him.
In the meantime, let us not allow ourselves to be divided by this powerful group of patriarchs of the 'nationalized' language.
I tell you: it is not going to be a walk in the park, not in the coming years.
So there: our endurance, our perseverance, our sense of justice--all these will lead us to our redemption.
Or so I hope.
In a modest way, Nakem Conferences is our proactive response to all these legal oppression of--who is this guy again?--Tagalogistic position of convenience and comfort. Be well.
PHILOSOPHICAL AND PRACTICAL ISSUES IN THE CONSERVATION INITIATIVES OF PERIPHERALIZED PHILIPPINE LANGUAGES
By Aurelio S. Agcaoili
University of Hawai’i
The paper documents and critiques the initiatives of advocates of many minoritized and peripheralized Philippines languages to revitalize and conserve them and draw up from these initiatives theoretical and practical issues that must be addressed by these advocacy groups and by social institutions mandated to produce and reproduce what could be deemed as a just and fair because equity-based national and nationalized culture in the Philippines. The initiatives of advocates of ‘Other because othered’ Philippine languages have a history that dates back to the imposition from the center of a counter-productive conception of ‘nation’ and ‘nationalism’ from the center that prescribed—and continues to prescribe—a national language from the center at the expense of the ‘other’ languages and without regard for the rich diversity of these languages of the country. The public perception of a systematic because nationwide internal colonization by way of ‘Tagalogization’ of the public sphere that includes the wiping up of other indigenous and community languages in basic education and in national discourse grounds these advocacy efforts to contest the Tagalogization of all peoples of the Philippines and to actively negotiate a space for a new conception of nation and nationalism framed by the virtues of cultural and linguistic pluralism. The theoretical and practical problems of revitalization and conservation of minoritized and peripheralized Philippine languages results as well from the two-pronged means and methods to the systemic and systematic marginalization of these languages because of the privileging and entitlement accorded to Tagalog and English. The privileging and entitlement cut across the political, the economic, and the cultural. With the continuing migration of Filipinos everywhere including the United States, these problems are being brought over and reproduced in and among the diasporic and exilic communities of Filipinos. This is the reason why there is the need to revisit initiatives, in the Philippines and in the United States, to re-conceptualize policy and pedagogical approaches to heritage language teaching particularly in communities where there is a heavy influx of immigrant Filipinos from various ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines. The discussion and analysis is framed by the urgency of fundamental respect for cultural democracy and linguistic rights.
On Fri, 11/14/08, remymelendez
Subject: [The DILFED Forum] Re: Anonuevo's Article
Date: Friday, November 14, 2008, 9:57 PM
Anonuevo must be refuted. It's not that he reserves a response but what he stands for must be deconstructed. He must be made to understand that he cannot make statements like this and not get criticized for them.
Anonuevo is not just any Tagalista. He and Almario as I write this post are busy organizing and poisoning the minds of young students.
They are preparing a whole generation of Tagalistas fanatical and determined like themselves to take over when they are too old to do their dirty work for themselves.
These people are organized, they have a strategy, and have the know how to successfully bring fruition to their plans.
I have always said if language activism has to succeed, it must go into the real world. After all, Almario and Anonuevo have succeeded because they are out there not in here.