Juneteenth was “June Nineteenth” when Union Soldiers emancipated slaves in Texas. The slaves slurred their words and June 19 became “Juneteenth”! The reality it points to, however, is that of emancipating human beings from the legal clutches of being treated less than their nature.
It is in such mix of metaphors that we zero in on Lolo Jose, aka, Dr. Jose R. Rizal. Rizal, the exiled medical scholar, an effete intellectual in the pantheon of U.S.-sanctioned heroes, distinguished himself not only as a man of many talents but also demonstrated with his life that he and his race deserved membership in the Cortes of the human empire.
He volunteered to serve as a medic in Cuba, not wishing to be branded a rebel against the rule of Spain but he alienated many of the basilica’s tonsures. In the Philippine uprising, the Katipunan, and Bonifacio dragged his reputation into the melee and his fate was doomed.
While the charges leveled against him were on rebellion, he was more a threat to King Philipp’s wards in the archipelago as the short but exceptional Indio bested their fashionably groomed Filipinos-Spaniards born in the archipelago. Spanish rulers hated Rizal’s guts.
In the ruling classes of the world, whether it be by kinship as a member of royal blood and elite social structures, or the new power class whose progeny keeps gracing generational advances (Jeb Bush of the George Sr. and Jr. presidential Bushes cannot easily be dismissed, no more than Hillary of the Clinton conjugal WH be denied her right; as the Aquino-Cojuangcos are really no different from the Romualdez-Marcos), they are entrenched powers. Juneteenth in the US of A dealt with a racial divide that erupted in a Civil War; Lolo Jose dealt with a Filipino/Indio divide that earned him a firing squad.
In the Pacific, we still have the Matua-Matao that claim rights over subjects in the isles of Micronesia and Polynesia, and Carolinian sailors and navigators privy to oral traditions are treated supreme and are prominent over ordinary subjects not advantaged enough to participate in sacred rites.
Juneteenth emancipation slaves from existing strictures, like those in Texas, and cultural strictures like Korean, Japanese, and Chinese arrogance that limits many Sinosphere’s minds. The selfhood of that introspective guy from Calamba en Laguna de Bay, exiled to Talisay, in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, now Mi Retiro Park, well-sailed-and-railed through Hong Kong, Japan, the United States, and Europe, demonstrated a capability unequalled in heroic myth making. Lolo Jose embodied a Pride of the Malay Race!
Juneteenth got Ambrose and Joe Hill mixed into the CNMI soil. Unified Pinoys is a political illusion but a nightmare, nonetheless! They can determine elections in Guam and Saipan if they unite.
Fortunately or sadly, take your pick, the political progeny of Lolo Jose, clannish and regionalistic, do not constitute a union of blends. In a country where “one person, one vote” counts, that is well and good.
We doff the salakot on Moy Mercado and the Pinoy this day! © 2015, Saipan Tribune