My book tour schedule in the United States has been quite hectic, thanks to Filipino-Americans who organized it.
Everywhere I go, I have only met kindness and generosity, except for that one instance when a loud woman tried to hijack my talk at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). More on her later.
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Tomorrow Thursday evening (New York time), I will be joining three other Asian writers in discussing various aspects of SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: CONFRONTING AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES.
You can know more about it by clicking this link.
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This Friday October 20 (NY time), I will be talking to the Fil-Am Press Club of New York to discuss – Martial Law and the Reemergence of Authoritarianism in the Philippines. It will be held at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi (my favorite saint, by the way) at 135 W 31st St. in New York.
The public is invited.
However, I will not countenance anyone who tries to hijack my talk the way this loud, brassy and totally obnoxious woman tried to do in UCLA.
I am all for freedom of speech and assembly.
But she was demanding to know why I did not talk about jailed Senator Leiila de Lima.Well, for the simple reason that De Lima was not the topic of my talk.
I think she wanted to be THE SPEAKER, instead of me.
My advice to her – write a letter to UCLA and ask to be invited. Then you can talk your head off. At one point, I told her – I’m the guest speaker here, not you.
I also did not understand why she refused to tell me her REAL NAME. I mean, if you say I’m lying, the least you should do is tell me who you are. I have the right to know who is accusing me of lying, you know.
My conclusion is, perhaps Maharlika is afraid. Are your papers all in order with immigration, Maharlika? Or are you a coward?
Also, Maharlika, stop using sweeping generalizations. You say I am lying. Be specific. Show me the paragraph and page in my book where I lied. And prove that I lied.
Unfortunately for you, the others who came to my talk congratulated me afterward, which means they believed me. The so-called supalpal is all in your mind.
And unfortunately for the students, you robbed them of the time that was supposed to be theirs for asking questions and clarifying things.
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This Saturday October 21, well-known and multi-awarded author Ninotchka Rosca invited me to the AF3IRM National Conference in New York to be one of the speakers. The chosen topic for me – “Women and Duterte”.
I told Ninotchka, you sure want to get me into trouble. But I took up the challenge. This should prove to be interesting.
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On Monday October 23, New York University and the International Center for Transitional Justice is hosting my talk on “Human Rights in the Philippines – How the Marcos Dictatorship made Duterte happen”.
The discussants will be Dr. Jerome Whittington of NYU’s Department of Anthropology and Ruben Carranza of the International Center for Transitional Justice.
You can get more details by clicking here.
Phelim Kine @PhelimKine, deputy director of the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, said he would be coming to my talk.
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Then, it’s off to Washington where I will meet with the Fil-Am Community in the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the Fil-Am community in Washington DC, and possibly professors and students at Georgetown University.
But more on that later.
Who put together my talks?
My talks would not have been at all possible if I had not been invited by the Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. to join the Filipino-American International Book Festival by Edwin Lozada, Director of the just-concluded Filipino American International Book Festival and President of PAWA.
Among those who arranged my talks are the following people: Author Mila de Guzman, who recently wrote the book Women Against Marcos, Stories of Filipino and Filipino American Women Who Fought A Dictator. Leni Marin, former senior Vice-President of the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence. Edwin Batongbakal who arranged all my travels. (I believe he was a batchmate of ex-Senator Bongbong Marcos, Jr. in school once.); Rene Ciria Cruz who writes for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Lorenzo Listana.
In each city that I went to, more people took care of me and the logistics. I will disclose their names later. But let me just say that this is one instance where the kindness of strangers matter.
Finally, I would like to thank my publisher, Filipinos for a Better Philippines. Its board, consisting mainly of Ateneo de Manila University graduates, provided the books for my book tour. And of course my hubby, Alan, my book editor who has been manning the fort while I’m out.
All, without exception, are deeply concerned with what is happening in the Philippines.
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As for those who accuse me of treason, rebellion and of destroying the country’s image abroad, Duterte is NOT the country. His policies and pronouncements can be the subject of critical comments, which is part of a vigorous democracy.
To you, it’s OK to criticise the previous administration especially with regard to the tragedy that befell the SAF 44, which made the country’s image abroad suffer. Or the bus hostage taking crisis in 2010 which affected the country’s image, too. But suddenly it’s not OK to do the same with Duterte’s questionable policies on his “war on drugs” or moves to replace the present Philippine Constitution?