Sunday, April 08, 2012

THREE WAYS OF LOOKING AT MARIA LORENA BARROS


TATLONG KUHA KAY MARIA LORENA BARROS / THREE TAKES ON MARIA LORENA BARROS

by E. SAN JUAN, Jr.




Over the years, since her death on 24 March 1976 at the age of 28, Maria Lorena Barros, now a prototypical “woman warrior” of the New People’s Army, has become the object of veneration by national-democratic activists. She is by right a proletarian heroine, a diwata of the masses. She has earned her niche in the historical archive of the Filipino people’s national-liberation struggle.

However, we are still in the era of capitalist globalization, possibly the last epoch of imperialism. And the Philippines, a U.S. neocolony, is a colony of finance-capital, despite its nominal independence. This fact discombobulates the Establishment orthodoxy of postcolonial scholastics. We are still living under the rule of commodification and the unchallenged reign of exchange-value, the cash-nexus. Is there a Maria Lorena Barros mall or boutique somewhere?

Arguably, feminists and women-liberationists have almost made her into a cult-object. Maita Gomez’s biography, Lualhati Bautista’s play, and other cultural works have contributed to this process of fetishism within progressive circles. We need some critical reflection on this phenomenon. Rizal as well as Bonifacio, not to mention the Aquinos, have suffered the same fate. In order to release her from the reification of such mechanical history, known as “the life of Maria Lorena Barros,” we need to re-conceive that event into “actuality.” We need to re-vision this event outside the time-space of bourgeois history.

Time’s linearity dictates the irreversibility of that event. However, those who immersed themselves in this event or process can acquire new means and modes of struggling against imperialism and class (as well as gender, racial) domination in a totally different way, finding paths into another world and through that, “actualize” certain becomings that would not have materialized in the realm of historical events. Postmodernists Deleuze and Guattari (following Nietzsche’s notion of the “Untimely’) speculate on “the becoming without which nothing would come about in history but that does not merge with history.” Foucault called the frozen event a “present” in contradistinction to the “Actual,” the now in the process of our becoming other. The Actual is not a future event but a new mode of existence that we are now in the process of undergoing and, in some measure, relative to our praxis, contributing to its realization. Inscribed within the framework of historical materialism, the notion of the Actual merges into the theory of praxis (as in Lenin’s and Georg Lukacs’ thought), the unity of subject and object, in the dialectics of revolutionary transformation.

This is not to discount or ignore current praxis, diverse forms of collective and personal resistance to the Arroyo regime and its US patrons. Resistance to the present can be provided by the Actual, which can be enacted and performed through living from within the “life of Maria Lorena Barros,” which equals its truth. Translated into Filipino: “Nagkakaroon ng katotohanan at nabibigyan-saysay ang kasaysayan ng buhay ni Maria Lorena Barros.” Note that “saysay” is embedded in “kasaysayan.” “Saysay” means value or significance; it evokes “saya” (joy) and “sayaw” (dance), and “sanaysay” (discourse; essay).

The three poems below which I wrote in three periods, the first one in this new millennium, the second in the Nineties, and the third before the Feb 1986 insurrection (when I was involved in the anti-martial law movement in the U.S.), are attempts to actualize the historical event called “the life of Maria Lorena Barros.” The historical contexts are important, grounding the act of writing; but beyond that, the “Actual” is contained within the experience of determining what Lorena means or signifies, from the viewpoint of the speaker or personae speaking in or within the poem. What various readers will experience in reading, is altogether a different matter and needs to be explored.

It is my hope that resistance to U.S. imperialist domination in the Philippines and global capitalism (for at least 10 million OFWs spread around the planet) can encounter a power of resistance from the becomings-other of those immersed in the actuality of the event the life of Maria Lorena Barros. Even for those who are not women, either biologically or socially constructed. And even for those who are not Filipinos or people of color, indeed, for all those who seek to be human in ways not definable or conceivable now, attainable only when (to quote Marx and Engels) we have moved finally from the domain of prehistory, alienated labor, and necessity. Mabuhay ang mga Lorena!




MARIA LORENA BARROS, PUMUPUTOL SA ALAMBRE’T REHAS (2009)

…With the same intense purity and fragrance, we are learning to overcome.

--Maria Lorena Barros


Kahit pumalaot na, lumalatay pa rin sa gunita:
24 Marso 1976 nang dakpin ng mga sundalo ng diktaduryang U.S.-Marcos.

Nang di mapiga ang tugon—walang tainga ang baril--pinaputukan ang ulo
bago sumubsob sa pampang ng “lupa ng araw, ng luwalhati’t pagsinta.”
Pahabol ng mga kaibigan: “Mababasag na ang bungo subalit hindi siya sumuko.”

Naakit ngunit ipinagkait. Kung maari, kahit di akalain, marahil.

Ano pa ang maidadagdag sa talang naibigay ni Maita Gomez?
Mahapdi ang dagok— Iadya mo, Birheng nagpupumipiglas mapanghas--
Sukat nang hagkan ang barbed wire na pumulupot sa katawan.
Di lamang tumalon ang babae (sabi ni Joi Barrios) sa “alambreng nakasabit…”

Isaisip ang nangyari kay Expedito Albarillo, saksi ang anak na si Adel—
dinurog ang katawan—di raw sinasadya--walang patawad ang mga hayup, di biro.

Sa gubat ng Mindoro, maamo ang lobong gutom. Bagamat di bawal.

Naakit ngunit ipinagkait. Kung maari, kahit di akalain, marahil.
Subsob na’t nakalupasay, iuumang pa ang dibdib sa bayoneta ng tadhana.

Mayuming gunita, sumakandungan ang armas mo. Iadya mo kami.

Mapagkandiling diwa, itayo ang katawang nalugmok.
Inang sumabog, nadurog.

Nakalatay sa budhi: ang ating kaligtasan ay nasa ating pagkilos.

Marsong walang katapusan, Abril, Mayo…
Kinalawang na alambreng putol.
Bakit di maari? Sa bawat hakbang natin nayayari ang landas
kung saan bumabagtas
at sumasalubong
ang nakabukang bisig ni Lori.





ADIK SA ‘YO? Pag-ulit sa pag-iiba-iba ng talinghaga’t haraya (1994)

(In Memoriam: Maria Lorena Barros )

“Ano ang isang ina? Mayamang hapag ng gutom na sanggol. Kumot sa gabing maginaw. Matamis sa uyayi. Tubig sa naghahapding sugat…Ngunit ano ang isang makabayang ina? Maapoy na tanglaw tungo sa liwayway. Sandigang bato. Lupang bukal ng lakas sa digma. Katabi sa laba’t alalay sa tagumpay ang ina ko.”


Di ko na hahanap-hanapin pa, Kasama Lory,
buhat nang matagpuan ang duguang katawan mo sa Isabela--
Di na adik ngunit sabik
malaman kung anong umakit sa iyong ihandog ang buhay
nang walang pakundangan

Mahigit 800 ang nalunod paglubog ng MV Princess of the Stars--
Sobra na tama na, adios Manny Pacquiao!
Bawat pagpihit ng tadhana, ilang buhay ang lumilipas
ngunit sa anong dahilan o anong layon?
Adik pa ba? Sabik na madukot ka?
Sa telesineng terorista nina Glorya at mga berdugong heneral
walang bida kundi ang uring imperyalista’t alipuris--
Adik sa kalupitan at kasamaan....

Sabik sa inyo-- Shirley Cadapan Karen Empeno Sabik akong matagpuan
sina Jonas Burgos Nilo Arado Luisa Posa Dominado
Sa umaga’t sa gabi ng galit at pighati sa pagitan ng pagpatay
kina Mario Auxilio sa Bohol at Celso Pojas sa Davao
hinahanap-hanap kita,
O armadong anghel ng katarungan--

Di na adik ngunit sabik--
Noon, sa pagitan ng bawat bugbog kay Nena Fajardo at bigwas kay Nelia Sancho
natagpuan kitang naghihintay....
Mahigit 4000 taong nalunod paglubog ng MV Dona Paz noong panahon ni Cory--
ilang libong namatay sa lahar, sa baha, sa bagyo, sa terorismo ng AFP...
Adik ka pa ba? Hahanap-hanapin pa ba?

Adios, Gretchen at Regine at Rufa at Susmaryosep-- Lani Misalucha!
Magwala man ang militar, di na mawawala
ang pag-asang inaruga mo, Ka Lory, istratehiyang pinakasasabikan--
Magkasalubong tayo sa bawat daluyong ng pakikibaka
sa bawat yapos, sa bawat labing humahalik....

________________________________


ANG TAGUMPAY NI MARIA LORENA BARROS (1983)

Punglong sumabog--
Simbuyo ng paghihimagsik!
Ipinagkaloob mo ang iyong metalikong kaluluwa
sa dapog ng Rebolusyon.

Di kailangan ang uling ng pagdadalamhati
Di dapat mamighati

Tilamsik ng dugo!
Sa sugatang himaymay ng iyong dibdib umapoy, sumigid
Ang umaasong adhika:
Kaluluwa mo'y masong dudurog sa tanikala ng kadiliman.

Sumagitsit, napugnaw--
Sa lagim ng iyong pagkatupok, titis ng hininga mo'y
Di tumirik, di nagsaabo....
Ang pasiya mong lumaban
Ay nagbagang tinggang umagnas, lumusaw sa anumang balakid.

Kailangang magpatigas,
Dapat maging bakal--
Hindi ginto o pilak--
Ang kaluluwa upang sa sumusugbang lagablab
ng pag-usig sa kabuktutan


Pandayin ang katawan ng ating pagnanais
Pandayin ang pinakamimithing kalayaan
Pandayin ang liwanag ng kinabukasan.

No comments: