It seems to me, a cursory look at history will reveal we repeat patterns: One pattern often repeated is war. Well, it's been going on for thousands of years, and we can't quite seem to kick the habit. Not only do we keep going to war, but the patterns in the pattern are the same.
But let me tell you why I ended up wanting to write a little piece on this subject.
First, let me make a confession: I play around on Facebook. And I like the political activists' pages. One page in particular that I like belongs to the marine component of the Occupy Movement known as, Occupy Marines. Well, they posted this photo of a woman holding a sign, and the sign quite got my attention. Here's the picture.
Well, it evokes much thought and feeling. It first occurs to me, rather strongly, that these wars we have going on around the world are having major effects; it's not a major revelation and I'm not trying to be flippant or funny. It is clear that the effect these wars are having are coming home to us. The children of war are coming to our shores and we must respond in some fashion; hopefully in a way that brings understanding to the problem.
We have been at war for more than a decade, and have added more countries with which to go to war: We had Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya, and drone attacks in Pakistan; I know there's more, but that's off the top of my head. Children and adults, women and men, are traumatized (an understatement) by these wars, and the effects are there, elsewhere, and coming here.
But that's not it, and that's not all that I started thinking about. Let me give you even more autobiographical information. My Dad came from the Philippines. But him and Mom split up when I was a kid. My Mom eventually moved me to a predominantly white community. Nothing wrong with anyone of any race or because of race, but fact is, it meant I was culturally deprived growing up. Consequently, at that time, when I was a teen, I decided to research my Dad's heritage. In the middle of all that, I learned what was the history of the United States in the Philippines, not to mention the history of Filipinos coming to America. Here's that story: At the turn of the 20th century, the US went to war with Spain; the Filipinos had been fighting a war against the 300 year colonial rule of Spain. America jumps in on the Philippines after the Philippines had pretty much won their fight against Spain, and America says, "We want your country now!" It's a little more complicated than that: The US went into the Philippines claiming to be helping the Filipinos with their fight against Spain, Filipinos were adamant about remaining independent, the US didn't like that plan, there was a supposed skirmish between the US soldiers and Filipino rebels, and that was enough cause for the US to go to war with the rebels to keep the Islands. Somewhere in there, we find out that elements in the US and Europe were afraid someone might get control of the Philippines and screw up Western business with China. Dig a little more and you will find that Mark Twain was adamantly opposed to US invasion of the Philippines, and wrote up some scathing pieces on the whole business.
So, I follow the rest of my thoughts on this issue. During my studies as a youth, I learned about a Filipino American labor activist named Carlos Bulosan. He had immigrated to the US from the Philippines, became a farm laborer. It was practice, in the first half of the 20th century to use contracted, cheap farm labor from the Philippines, in the US. Bulosan pretty well documented, though he wasn't the only one, the horrible conditions of Filipino farm laborers in America; there was rampant racial discrimination against them, violence, and they lived in substandard conditions. Anti-miscegenation laws were in full swing, and a Filipino could be maimed or killed for dating a white woman; and, of course, they dated white women anyway. For one thing, no women were coming from the Philippines due to the fact immigrants were mainly male farm workers; that's who was being shipped in to do the work.
I don't know if you've connected up what I connected up yet. The chickens coming home to roost. An Iraqi woman, traumatized as a child as a result of America's war in her homeland, and coming to America; a young Filipino in the 1930s, looking for work in the land that colonized his homeland, being completely abused in the process.
The same patterns we see today in these ventures overseas, these wars, we can see in the old Philippine-American War and it's after effects: Use of torture, monied interest, nefarious excuses for war, manipulations of the public, an influx of immigration from the abused country into the colonial (sorry, had to use the term) power's country; then the resulting problems from the influx of immigrants, the local backlash, the scars of war.
There's similarities there for sure.
And it just tells me we keep repeating the same patterns, and patterns in patterns, and the public continues to go along with it.
Well, all of that spurred me to write this article over here. You might find it interesting.