My Online Writings - 2004 - '07
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
Achieving equality with the English,
By going up or by bringing down?
I have been following the Daniel Smith case in Philippine with a certain level of interest. For, like so many other incidents that are becoming very common in connection to the English nations, this also is a theme on which my mind had more or less visualised events with prophetic clearness, many years ago when I embarked on my intellectual pursuits in relation to languages.
The theme that I want to discuss here is not on the legal uncertainties connected to the Daniel Smith issue, but on the enwrapping social mood that has emerged. Taken on a wider canvas, it is about the so-called superiority of certain groups, as against the hurt it is claimed to evoke in others.
Basically what I want to discuss here is on the issue of how equal are the English citizens to feudal language nation citizens. Here, I must clarify that by English citizen, I mean the citizens of Britain, Canada, Australia, America and New Zealand. No allusion is given to race, even though the term ‘White’ may incessantly crop up in the reader’s mind, for all these nations are predominantly ‘White’. Yet, to counter this, I can remind the reader that Europe is predominantly ‘White’, yet they do not come into the definition of ‘English’.
Let me first quote from this link: U.S.-Philippines tensions flare over custody in rape case
Wigberto Tanada, a former senator, who is one of the sharpest critics of the U.S. military presence in the Philippines and is representing the rape victim in opposing Smith’s appeal, said the cancellation of the exercises and the threat to suspend military aid shows that “the Americans still have not learned to treat us as equals.”
Here take the statement: “the Americans still have not learned to treat us as equals.” Now this statement can intelligently be dissected into two.
1. We (The Philippine people) want the American citizen to be equal to the Philippine Citizen. A rich American citizen should be equal to a rich Philippine citizen. An American worker should be equal to a Philippine worker. An American soldier should be equal to a Philippine soldier.
2. We (The Philippine people) want the Philippine citizen to be equal to the American Citizen. A rich Philippine citizen should be equal to a rich American citizen. A Philippine worker should be equal to an American worker. A Philippine soldier should be equal to an American soldier.
Now, which is it that this person wants? Even though the two statements may seem similar, in reality they are as different as Hell is from Heaven.
For the Philippine citizen to be equal to an American citizen, he has to develop his social and mental personality to that of an American Citizen. Here comes the difference. The American citizen is in English, while the Philippine citizen is his language, which, it is very much possible, is very feudal. Can the Filipino get the same level of social personality and right to articulation from his society, officialdom, and superiors as an American can exist in. If the language of Philippine is feudal, then if the ordinary citizen tries to don a pose of American personality, then the local society would see him as a most impertinent person.
This much I have said, because in the whole Daniel Smith issue, what is been harped on much is the factor of Daniel Smith not being treated as an ordinary Philippine citizen. What is embedded in this dialogue is the fact that ‘We don’t treat the ordinary Philippine citizen with any level of respect. We, the officer class over here, treat the ordinary Philippine soldier as a menial servant. We want all nations to follow our systems.’
Here again, it is not for the Americans to treat the Philippine people with respect. It is for the officialdom of Philippine to treat the people of Philippine with respect. Once this is achieved by the people, the respect of all others would naturally come.
If the ordinary soldier or citizen of Philippine can communicate with the same level of polite assertiveness as an ordinary citizen or soldier of America can do with his officialdom, then they can claim that there is some defect in the American protection rendered to American soldiers.
What American is seeing to is that its citizens are not treated with disrespect. This has been a hallmark of all English nations. It is a known thing that if a British or American Passport holder of whatever racial feature is being harassed in any part of the world, then the concerned Embassy or High Commission will work overtime to see that their citizen is helped. Can the Philippine government claim that they have ever done the same to their citizens all over the world? Can the ordinary Philippine citizen approach the Philippine Ambassador or other diplomatic officials in the Middle East, when they are under harassment there?
What the Philippine citizen is seeing is the unbelievable, in that the American Embassy is taking deep care into the welfare of one of its ordinary soldiers, which is too much for the officialdom of Philippine to bear. It gives ideas to the local citizen over there about what their government and its officials owe to them.
When talking about equal treatment, the question of what level of equality comes up. The lower level or higher level. Let me tell you one incident.
A few years after India got independence, there was the communist revolution known as Naxalite movement, in West Bengal. (Incidentally, it was crushed brutally by the government. Many affable leaders were literally beaten to death in police custody). I read the following incident in a local magazine.
One young British girl,with communist sympathies, joined a small unit of the Naxalites. The writer in the magazine says that she also fell in love with the young Naxalite leader. This may be disputable in that over here, an understanding of companionship as apart from deep affection cannot be conceived by the local man.
It so happened that all of them were arrested and put into jail. In the jail, she being a ‘White woman’ was given a cot to lie down. The others being local Indians were made to lie on the ground. When the lady came to know of this, she tried hunger strike to force the officials to provide him with a cot. I do not remember what came of it.
Now what struck me was the writer of the article saying:
There was an anomaly in the rules made by the British to protect their own persons. They had written into the rules that when persons of European origin are arrested by the Indian police, they have to be given a Cot for lying down. So the officials were forced to provide for the British girl with a Cot.’
Again he says:’ It took some time for the government officials to see this anomaly, and later they rectified it’,
Here again the rectification can be seen from two different perspectives. One of English. Here rectification means that all are provided with a cot.
The other of feudal language: Here rectification means that none should be given a cot.
Here again the question comes up of why the English did not write down that all persons, including Indians should be given a cot in the jail. Here again, the theme goes to the Indian feudal languages. The officialdom has a natural disdain for the ordinary citizen. If not properly attired with superlative attributes, the indicant words for the ordinary man are of the low level. When this man is arrested, he is like a menial servant for the jail officials. If it is written down that this menial man is to be given a cot, it literally means asking the jail official to treat him with deference. The British did not write: ‘Do not give a cot to the Indian’. It was for the Indian official to see that his countrymen are treated with concern.
Yet, the British with their uneasy understanding of the Indian systems, were very careful about distressing the Indian official too much, for they lived in another world, where society was structured in a weird design. Here it was the right of the official class to even beat up the ordinary man.
Here, I need to point to the Serial Murder issue in UK. Had it happened in India, it would have been a torment for the people in that locality. Yet, since it was prostitutes involved, the issue may have dimensions, for they literally belong to the gutters, along with the poor, and the destitute, unless they are rich. Yet, a police investigation would have been a real terrifying torment for the people of that locality.
In UK, police asked for information, and around 10,000 persons called. In India, only the real idiots would call the police, unless he or she has some direct interest in the matter. Then comes the questioning. A number of persons would be rounded up, harassed verbally, mentally, and physically. For the police personnel also belong to the servant class mentality. They know no other method of investigation.
A few persons may even commit suicide, as the humiliation of a police questioning would literally erase all right to self-dignity he or she may have built up in life.
Coming back to the Philippine example, one may see the words of ‘White man’ coming up continuously from the belligerent groups. Now, suppose the issue had been of a black American soldier being involved. Here the issue goes back to how Blacks are viewed in Philippine. In India, White is a very much liked colour, as against Black, even in human complexion. In all matrimonial advertisements, much highlighting is given to the ‘White’ colour. Even though, the English expression for White complexion is ‘fair complexion’, in vernacular the word used is ‘White’, and for dark complexion the word used is ‘Black’.
Now again, how much the woman would have liked to be linked with Black soldiers, when White soldiers were available is also a moot question. But then, all White soldiers do not translate into handsome companions. Their nationality also has deep impact. (Incidentally American blacks cannot be identified with any inferior groups, either mentally or physically, such being the development an English environment has bestowed on them).
Now, if the American soldier involved was Black, and the American Embassy takes the same interest in protecting him, the belligerent statements lose many of the its sharp racial taunts. But then, there is also another thing. If the Blacks do not measure up to much in Philippine mood, then will the lady involved make a festivity of the whole incident? Here, I am not belittling the seriousness of the crime if it has really happened, but only bringing out the farce of the whole hostility, which is marked mainly by racial issues, ideological vehemence, and moods of inferiority complexes.
Then comes the issue of what the Philippine soldier sees in an American soldier. Can an American soldier feel at ease when the command is given to a Philippine officer? Even a refereeing to an American soldier to another colleague by the Philippine officer can really spoil the attributes of the American soldier. Yet, the issue is not the same when Philippine soldiers are under American command. Even though they will know that they belong to another inferior system, they will discern the positive differences.
Coming to the custody issue: Consider a Philippine soldier in similar circumstance. Will he like to be in American jails or in Philippine jails? If other things like proximity to this family and friends are not there, the Philippine soldier will fight for being in American legal custody.
I have seen many American films depicting the horrors of American jails. I have also seen many films depicting Indian jails. It is my considered opinion that a lot many Indians would prefer living in the horrors of American jails, than in the gutters of Indian freedom.
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