Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Burning of Manila

I HAVE had sleepless nights lately. The nights are hot; days sweltering heat from the usual hot summer this country suffers every year. But no, it isn't the heat.....that is not the only reason why I can't sleep.

A COUPLE of days ago, I watched a docu film on TV made by NHK on its 20 years-anniversary celebration of its BS arm. It was about the rape or was it, properly labeled, The Burning of Manila.

IT SHOWED scenes I have never seen before....scenes that would forever be etched in my memory for as long as I live. I cried at the atrocities perpetrated not by the usual villains in the eyes of people like me who was exposed to american ways and books. It was done by american troops who made it sure that no one stayed alive.

THE VIDEO clips were scenes from the american side of the war. It detailed the surging american troops towards Manila, which they described [ based on records retrieved from the US Archives] as " The Beautiful Downtown", referring tot he south side of Pasig River.

THE DOCUMENTARY featured interviews of retired soldiers who were part of the american contingent at that time, Filipinos who were residents [some still are,] of Intramuros, A Filipino who worked at the PGH, Japanese soldiers, navy men, and Taiwanese recruits of the Japanese Imperial Navy. I must say that all sectors were represented, hence, fair ground for everyone.

DESPITE THE presence of civilians, the american troops were seen bombing no end the city, with Filipino men women and children seen fleeing to safer ground, but nonetheless caught in the web of gunfire, bombardments.
This didn't stopped for hours, nay, days on end. What's more, the american soldiers burned each building, making sure nobody stays alive inside them. Retreating Japanese soldiers, even if they raised their hands in surrender
were fired upon, killing not only the unarmed soldiers, but innocent civilians as well. When asked why they did so, one american ex-soldier replied: "We were ordered to do so!" Another, seeing the havoc that they created, cried,
saying his neighbors do not even know he has killed so many during the war. Another had the audacity to say: "We has endless supplies of ammunitions, so we used them all and killed every moving thing we saw!"

IN THE end, one can see a Manila I have never seen before: reduced to rubbles and decaying bodies of innocent men, women and children piled up; Manila City Hall were in shambles with its clock tower remaining, but the iron
steels visibly seen; the Tourism building and the finance building that has once housed the Japanese troops burned and reduced to rubbles, almost flatttened to the ground. There are more. It brings to mind the scene I once saw
at the Hiroshima Peace Center. The same one ravished by the bomb from the B29 dropped by Enola Gay.
And Nagasaki, too.

I CRIED. I cried for the countless civilians who were sacrificed and innocently died for the war that they cannot

I CRY, even I recall the other side of war: the long-lasting effects of radiation that the bombs
continuously do inside the bodies of those orphans of war......

I CRY, as the effects of Agent Orange continue to ravage the children of Vietnam, Cambodia and other places
where they were used.....

I WONDER why these atrocities are not dealt with in the textbooks?

I WONDER why these are not taught students at all levels of education?

I WONDER......

IT IS time to wake up.

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