Minsa’y Isang Gamu-gamu

The recent incident in Afghanistan involving an American soldier shooting 16 Afghan civilians reminded me of this Filipino movie classic. Yes, I know how pigs are considered in Islam, being one who grew up with Muslim friends in Mindanao. But in this movie directed by Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara, Corazon de la Cruz (played by Nora Aunor) utters the famous line against American servicemen who visit the wake of his brother to pay an indemnity of $787, after he was shot by a Clark Air Base sentry who mistook him for a wild boar while he was flying his kite. Hence the line “my brother is not a pig.” Yes, we too had our own share of Filipinos shot and killed by American servicemen. In Trans-Pacific Relations: America, Europe, and Asia in the Twentieth Century, a manifesto by Anti-American groups in the Philippines claimed that 31 Filipinos were killed by US servicemen from 1952 to 1964. None of the Americans were charged. And in most of these cases, the US military, as well as its government, was quick to whisk the serviceman out of the country. Of course, little is known about the abuses of American troops in the Philippines then. The media had limited access in the military bases. The government was intensely pro-American and anti-communist (it was the Cold War after all). And the people didn’t have the means to publicize such incidents on the net like we now have. Much of the killings near the US military bases would only be known in the post-Marcos years.

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