Daily Archives: May 2, 2009

Randy Ford Author-after the first “Battle of Mendiola”

      There had been no bigger challenge to the Marcos presidency than what became known as the first “Battle of Mendiola,” but it was only a prelude.   The president had hunkered down in his palace and no doubt felt secure there; and he had thousands of soldiers ready for an onslaught of battle tested, battle-ready activists.   Those students charged the barricade of barbed wire, and the more worked up they became the wilder they were, making it easy for them to demolish the barricade.   So there was some logic to the reactions of the soldiers, but it was deadly when they opened fire.

      Momentum was also at work when a student commandeered a fire truck and rammed it into a gate at Malacanang.   Tension was everywhere.   Demonstrating and rioting could no longer be contained on the campuses.   Yet the government wouldn’t change.   It was just as corrupt.   It touched everyone.   Injustice and poverty were worsening.   It had gotten so bad that many people prayed for a benevolent dictator.   And then it became more and more evident that Marcos wasn’t that benevolent figure, as the optimism of his first term dissipated.

      Elaine, more than anyone else, wanted Nick to stay away from the battles in the streets, Elaine who had demonstrated with him and Ben on campus, and had her picture taken for the paper while “leading the rabble”.   Elaine had been one of the 50,000 that had gathered in front of the Congress building, and (while still willing to demonstrate) she had become more circumspect and less vocal, when the rock and bottle throwing started, and they burned an effigy of Ferdinand Marcos.   This time she only went to be close to her man, an organizer who had helped stage the protest.   Nick clearly had a lot to do with her involvement, and she talked herself into taking positions to align herself with him.   Had Elaine carefully considered everything?   Or had her man, for obvious reasons, and because of her love for him (perhaps she was blinded by it), unduly influenced her?   It didn’t matter, though, how it came about.   Nick seduced her, while she scored big time.   It was the violence that scared her most.

      She had last seen Nick in his office (by chance she caught him there), and not because they had planned something; he talked about the higher gas prices and the raised bus fares, and even seemed very excited about it.   But then after a very short while Nick said he had to go and that something of great importance had come up.   He began to pretend that he was in a great rush; and Elaine had to accept that.   Though when he said he had to go off campus, and she knew him well enough to catch the tinniest fib, about things that were important and semi-important, she became a little worried.   And worried and at the same time relieved that he wasn’t going to involve her.   She knew he rarely had business off campus, she couldn’t think of anything that she couldn’t be apprised of.

      She became very worried.   When she found out about the burning of the buses and the first “Battle of Mendiola,” and there was no sign of Nick afterwards, she checked the hospitals.   She said to Ted the next day, “I knew he was involved.   It was just something I knew.   You know him.   You’ve spent a lot of time with him.   You know his passion.   Now he’s disappeared, after all that, the…I have no clue.   I could’ve been there for him.   So I’ve checked the hospitals, the morgues, and other places.   Help me with another place.   You say you haven’t seen him but he’ll show up.”

     Ted said, “But if I knew where he was, should I tell you?   Nick is an adult.   He has the right to disappear, if he wants.   Where am I in this thing?   What am I doing here?”

      She said, “That’s where we both are.   To be part of this you have be totally part of it.   You’ve got to give up everything else.   You can’t wait and see what happens before you join.”   And Ted thought, from the way she was talking, that she was hedging.

      She had found Ted in the dungeons.   That she had come looking for him there floored him, because of the relevance of the place and how it tied into the battles, win or lose, on the streets.   He seemed to know a lot about the history.   He said that he had an idea for a drama that he wanted to create in the dungeons…he made it sound as if it would have something to do with the struggle on the outside…which would incorporate the use of his flag in some way.   He asked her for her help.   And then he reassure her that Nick would be all right…something she might not have paid attention to had she not wanted to believe it.   And that she should try to find Ben; yes, Ben would know something.   He said nothing else about the drama he intended to create.

      So after a few days Nick reappeared…all classes were suspended for a week, and everyone hoped that that would ease the tension.   Yet they knew they hadn’t seen the worse of it.   Nick’s good fortune was that he hadn’t been killed, and he said he decided to disappear for a while.   The only thing he didn’t want was to have the police come for him at the university.   They did that to other people.   It was something he half expected.   He went back home to allow the situation in Manila to cool down, and, as a precaution, he hadn’t told anyone, which infuriated Elaine.   He traveled to and from on the bus, but that didn’t make too much sense.   He began to think about giving up his position at the university…thinking perhaps that he had already compromised it, and on the bus he had time to think: where could he best be put to use, as a foot soldier, as a leader, or as the brains.   He even talked…and talked to his father about it…of rallying the masses in Central Luzon.   He thought long and hard about it, and he went to a HUK camp, as he said, “to risk it.”   He couldn’t help but notice the women there, and one of them could’ve enticed him to stay; they were pretty enough, though one of the reasons he came back was Elaine.   Ted said, “Given such a choice, I don’t know what I would’ve done.   A jungle bride, or Elaine…a hard choice.   Forgive me, Susan.   I’m human.”   And Nick wouldn’t get sympathy from those who hadn’t faced what he had.

       Randy Ford

Leave a comment

Filed under Randy's Story

Allan Radbourne- MICKEY FREE: APACHE CAPTIVE, INTERPRETER, AND INDIAN SCOUT, Western History

      MICKEY FREE: APACHE CAPTIVE, INTERPRETER, AND INDIAN SCOUT by Allan Radbourne

      WINNER!  Western History association Robert M. Utley Award; American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit

      On January 27, 1861, an Apache raiding party attacked John Ward’s ranch in the Sonoita Valley of southeastern Arizona and carried off Ward’s thirteen-year-old stepson, Felix Torres.  Thus began a remarkable odyssey in which a young Mexican American boy was transformed in an Apache worrior and eventually served as an Indian Scout for the U.S. Army.  Nicknamed “Micky Free,” after the character in a popular novel, he captured the public imagination as he moved effortlessly between three cultures and participated in the important events of the Indian Wars in the Southwest.  Allan Radbourne employs three decades of research in archival records, printed sources, and Apache oral tradition to tell the story of Micky Free and the Indian Scouts who played hitherto underappreciated roles in the Apache Wars of 1870s and 1880’s and the application of reservation policy.

      2005, 328 pages

      ISBN 0-910037-46-9

      $34.95 hard-cover

9 Comments

Filed under Books to Read

Natalie Maydell and Sep Riahi- EXTRORDINARY WOMEN FROM THE MUSLIM WORLD, Youth Non-Fiction

     EXTRORDINARY WOMEN FROM THE MUSLIM WORLD by Natalie Maydell and Sep Riahi, paintings by Heba Amin (Lancaster, PA: Global Content Ventures, 2007)

     This encyclopedic book provides short pieces on a wide variety of notable women from throughout Islamic history.  From wives of Muhammad to an African poetress to a turkish fighter pilot to an Indonesian freedom fighter to an Egyptian singer, this book dispels nearly every stereotype about Muslim women, and introduces many famous female role models to a younger audience for the first time.  (Middle School and up)

      The Middle East Outreach Council established the Middle East Book Award in 1999 to recognize books for children and young adults that contribute meaning-fully to an understanding of the Middle East.  Books are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of the Middle Eastern subject, as well as on their characterization, plot, and appeal for the inteneded audience.  Awards are announced in Novemenber for books published during the period from January of the previous year through September of the current year.  For the purposes of this award, “The Middle East” is defined as the Arab World, Iran, Isreal, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books to Read

Mohieddin Ellabbad- THE ILLUSTRATOR’S NOTEBOOK, Youth Non-Fiction

      THE ILLUSTRATOR’S NOTEBOOK by Mohieddin Ellabbad (Groundwood books, 2006)

      The famous Egyptian illustrator Mohieddin Ellabbad presents his “notebook” which shares how he grew up and took on his profession.  He uses text, photographs, drawings, and Arabic Script to cmmunicate his aspirations as an artist.  Most compelling are the questions he raises for readers, for example, “Where do stories come from?” and “How does the way you feel affect the way you draw?”  Younger readeers will be delighted by how he combines images and shows the change in his country over time.  (Middle School and up)

      The Middle East Outreach Council established the Middle East Book Award in 1999 to recognize books for children and young adults that contribute meaning-fully to an understanding of the Middle East.  Books are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of the Middle Eastern subject, as well as on their characterization, plot, and appeal for the inteneded audience.  Awards are announced in Novemenber for books published during the period from January of the previous year through September of the current year.  For the purposes of this award, “The Middle East” is defined as the Arab World, Iran, Isreal, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books to Read