Post by galahad143 on Jan 26, 2011 19:57:04 GMT -5
I haven't read his book but I think his presentation is so incorrect when he explains the Filipino side. David Silbey author of War of Frontier and Empire. What do you think? www.c-spanvideo.org/program/197531-1
Post by insurrectomad on Jan 31, 2011 8:08:45 GMT -5
He not that far off the truth, But he did only spend just 3 or 4 sentences relating to the Filipino perspective. Remember, he is an american who has never been to the Philippines and pronounced cavite as Cave-vieghtt! He does agree this war has never been openly and fairly dealt with but kept in the shadows. Most of his lecture is about the condition of America from the 1870's to 1902, and in particular the state of the US Navy and the pitiful army, that had 1 in 7 men deserting every year! And that was in America, before sailing to a war in the Phil. He also agreed that " it's time to let the Fils have their History back!" Soooo, Don't leave it all to Yanks! You tell them!!
His knowledge on the US side was right on, but if I were to present a non-biased lecture, I would make an equal sided presentation. The kids in that lecture will now leave with an incomplete understanding of the whole war and some understanding that the Filipinos were not all into really disciplined fighting. I guess it is true that the victor shall write HISstory of a war.
Post by insurrectomad on Feb 7, 2011 1:45:16 GMT -5
I can only repeat, if all books, lectures, films and TV docs or dramas are produced by Americans (not even Pinoys!), then you have events tilted to the American perspective. The Film "some---Lions?" showing WW2 contribution made by the Algerian & Moroccan forces (French Imperial Army) had to be made by their own film makers before any valued recognition was made to their war efforts. They fought like lions pushing up through Italy! The French film industry wasn't interested anymore than Hollywood or any other European film studios. As Americans view the Battle of Bataan as a defeat, rather than a sacrificial victory, that prevented the Japs from invading Australia; you may never see hollywood making a film about it! It must be a Filipino undertaking, be it a book or a film! David
Well, if it's similar to Silbey's lecture at the National Historical Institute I thought it was good food for thought. Like it or not, the Revolution got rather errrm screwed over by very poor leadership, which I would say is not altogether unusual when compared with other revolutions, even America's and France's. For our Bonifacios, Lunas, Del Pilars, Ricartes, Aguinaldos and others, there were conflicts between Washington and Horatio Gates (the Conway Cabal) not to mention the slighting and eventual defection of one of their best generals, Benedict Arnold in the American Revolution (not trying to be an Arnold apologist but I think the way he was treated by the Continental Congress was rather shabby and he had a temper like Bligh of the Bounty!) France had its own squabbles, Girondists vs Jacobins, the Russian Revolution saw infighting on both the Red and White sides and I won't get started on the innumerable warlords and bandit leaders in Mexico and China. It's TOUGH leading a revolution when essentially a leader is sometimes little more than a figurehead and everyone pays lip service to him but wants to be his own little feudal warlord. In any case I thought Silbey did a pretty good and interesting job interpreting the war from the American point of view. I mean, it's not like what he said wasn't backed up by some historical accounts, particularly what he said about American forces advancing to contact and the Filipino forces retreating before contact. And there were times like the Bonifacio-Aguinaldo and Mascardo-Luna feud when interpersonal rivalry ruined good strategic sense. I think what he could have done though was give more time to the Filipino perspective.
I guess while I want to be nationalistic I also want to caution against extreme nationalism to the point that it becomes revisionism. Case in point - I've seen so many movies in Asia where Wong Fei Hung kicks the butts of the white imperialists trying to take over China (or the white soldiers are easily defeated by kung fu fighting, arrow firing Chinese), or Indian heroes triumph over the British or, in our case, Filipinos easily defeat the Spanish or Americans. That's not good history. That's revisionism. Like it or not, the Chinese Boxers were cut down by rapid firing rifles notwithstanding any kung-fu skills, the British did defeat and take over India, for better or worse, and the Spanish did defeat the Filipinos on occasion, and we defeated them on occasion - just be clear about which occasion you're talking about. If it's Bonifacio's fiasco at San Juan del Monte, please, that was a sad defeat. No amount of cinematic magic can change the historical fact that Sancho Valenzuela and a bunch of other captured revolutionary patriots were shot by firing squad after that fiasco. If you want to talk about a victory, please talk about Imus or Binakayan or Noveletta or the battle to a standstill before Biak na Bato. Talk about the guerrilla tactics or the superbly designed trenches of Evangelista or the turncoat Filipino militia who used their knowledge of Spanish countersign and codeword to surprise the Spaniards. But let's not make up victories where there were none. If we must talk about 'defeat' let's rather understand why and learn from it rather than inventing something that didn't happen. To do anything else is a disservice to those who actually had to fight and die in the real historical battles.
I thought that "Baler" was a step in the right direction - if somewhat TOO melodramatic (among certain other flaws) but generally a good effort. And David's right, we need to tell our own stories like the North African soldiers did with Indigenes. Let's just try and keep it real though, not exaggerate and make up victories or make the 'enemy' look stupid and pathetic to try and increase our on-screen glory (no magic shooting like Lito Lapid or FPJ that brings down a whole battalion of Castillas or Yanquis!) because that's just pathetic.
As I've said before, the lecture was one sided and incorrectly presented for not showing the Filipino perspective. I am not Filipino nationalist as I am a US sailor and my nationalism lies with America, my roots may have come from the Philippines but my heart is American. That being said, I again declare that for a responsible author and lecturer, all sides must be presented unless one has a goal to sway readers one way. In analyzing his lecture, he came close to declaring the Filipino patriots as fighting cowardly and only stood in front of the firing line because of an owed gratitude and not because of his patriotism. Granted that there were indeed internal bickering, but the Filipino soldiers were seasoned veterans from its struggle against Spain. Many Filipinos died in battle because of their superstitious belief in amulets protecting them from bullets. Also, the US military has this habit of counting 300 enemy bodies, they did this in the Philippines (check historical battles and see enemy casualties...almost always 300), WW-1, WW-2, Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq and Afghanistan. Although America have the greatest fighting machine, you have to give credit to the valiant Filipinos who fought the Americans, unfortunately very few Filipinos kept journals during the war, so many of their stories were buried with them. The author still could have gathered information from books of memoirs of Filipino fighters that were published later. I have to view the lecture again, but I think he also hinted that Aguinaldo was not fighting for the Philippines but for the Tagalogs only...many Filipinos believe this old propaganda, if it were true why would Aguinaldo send troops and generals to the Visayas and Mindanao like Gen. Lukban?
I think that he could definitely have done more to round out the Philippine side though I suspect that his ultimate objective was less to give a strictly objective hearing to both sides than to prove the point that an 'insurgency' well handled could result in both sides fighting hand in hand 40 years later. However, I thought that he was rather more 'fair' to the Filipinos than a lot of other American historians I've read. I recently browsed through Osprey's latest book on Counterinsurgency because I noticed that there was a chapter on the Philippine "Insurrection" there. What I read there utterly made my blood boil. If you can get it on library loan I'd urge you to check it out if only to see what was written. The writer of the article was rehashing the same old 1898 myths that it was 'only the Tagalogs' who were siding with Aguinaldo and that Aguinaldo did not represent Philippine nationalism, going to the point that suggesting that the term "Philippine American War" was incorrect and should not be used. I swear I've not been so angry over a historical article in a LONG time. He conveniently ignores the whole propaganda period prior to the actual outbreak of revolution, the uniting force of the propagandists, particularly Rizal as well as the widespread organization of the Katipunan (he also confused Aguinaldo with Bonifacio by stating that Aguinaldo only controlled 'the Katipunan' when at that time as I understand that would be an anachronism - he was leader and president of the Revolutionary Government - but then since that particular historian wants to utterly DENY that the First Republic existed as a historical reality of course he won't say that!) which laid the groundwork for organizing the patriots not just in Luzon but in the Visayas as well.
By contrast, I found Sibley, while still biased, not as offensive. He does, if I recall correctly, point out that many of the Philippine Army officers were not at their posts on Feb 4 which automatically puts them at a disadvantage though I wonder if his explanation while sounding partially correct in that there was a very strong regional undercurrent which had a bad habit of strangling Filipino efficiency then - as it does from time to time even now - as well as the latent feudalism that existed then as it does now. The army units would be loyal to their own officers and none other in many cases - that's a documented fact as the internecine struggles between officers like Luna vs Mascardo, del Pilar vs Natividad, etc. etc. show but then that didn't mean all officers and men were like that. Furthermore this problem with personality clashes was also present in the American Revolution and they also suffered from the loyalty to their own officers syndrome as well. It's only later on when the Continentals became more professionalized through experience, retention of veterans and drill by such European trained officers as Von Steuben that they became more capable on the field - and this does not reflect on the well drilled veterans of the various Continental Line regiments which were based on pre-existing standing militia in places like Delaware and Maryland. In our case, we had the ex-Spanish Army Filipino veterans, men like Jose Torres Bugallon and Manuel Sityar, plus European educated officers including Luna. So its not like we didn't have good officers and men. But from what I've read, time and time again interpersonal rivalries led to defeat and Silbey brings that out, albeit attributing it to regionalism. I would say that they were just rivalries plain and simple.
He also makes the point that the American army officers were Civil War veterans who knew that launching frontal attacks on prepared - nay, entrenched! - riflemen was suicidal and yet time and time again that's exactly what they did. While Silbey may have assessed the psychology incorrectly, the fact is that the Revolutionary Army was driven back from the gates of Manila and forced to retreat to the central Luzon plain. It may have been a combination of factors - certainly the Filipino troops were not cowards! I wonder if other factors like supply (or lack thereof), unpreparedness (maybe they were expecting the war to end and they would march into Manila and didn't have enough bullets - pretty hard to stand up to an attack if you're out of ammo!), loss of officers and men, lack of training - while there would be veterans in the ranks from 1896-1897, there would doubtless have been lots of untrained or green troops as well, as well as what you mentioned - superstitions, amulets that they thought would make them invulnerable.
His reportage though is definitely lacking in reporting that Filipinos did stand up to fight and cause severe casualties on occasion - Quingua and San Mateo come to mind - while the defensive battles for the Ilocos and Visayas were headaches that gave lie to Roosevelt's declared victory. He also doesn't mention that Aguinaldo's strategy of retreating to Tinio's area of operations was sound - he could have continued the war indefinitely in the mountains if Funston hadn't found him, I sincerely believe that. That's what Yamanutsa tried to do in 1945 and MacArthur certainly didn't lick him by August 1945.
I don't know where these American historians get off repeating that same old bullcrap 1898 propaganda about only 'the Tagalogs' fighting. The army of 1898 was a magnificent cross section of virtually all the nation - from Tinio's Ilocanos, del Pilars Kampampangans, Pio del Pilar's Morong (Bataan) troops, the Cavitenos, the Bulakenos, the soldiers of Malvar and Lukban in the Visayas.
Like all history, one needs to sift through nationalist/regionalist/personal/cultural/racial bias on both sides.
Ultimately, Silbey does suffer from his own particular American perspective but he's more gracious I felt, than others.
I think the propaganda of only Tagalogs were fighting the war was to give truth that the First Philippine Republic was not ready to govern the country as it were a government of Tagalogs for Tagalogs and would therefore discriminate against all other non-Tagalog people of the Philippines to include the Spaniards (both Peninsulars and Filipinos), mestizos and foreigners living in the country and also to keep a wedge between the Filipino Christians and the Filipino Muslims, keeping them divided to effect easier conquest. I have great respect for the Filipino patriots as my ancestors fought hard to free the Philippines from the clutches of invaders which also made may swearing in to become a US citizen not so easy as I was giving up the very right my forefathers fought and died for for generations. C'est la vie, I have fought in the first war of my family for America and started a history, sacrifice and tradition I hope my descendants will appreciate...until they decide to became an immigrant and later citizens of another country--i will roll in my grave
I agree with that... its shameful though that some American historians still perpetuate that myth. I don't think that we are being revisionistic to claim that our version is more correct, but rather for the past hundred years the textbooks were made to say what the conquerors wanted them to say which wasn't all truth. Even Leon Wolff's LITTLE BROWN BROTHER gives lie to the colonial propaganda.
I hear ya... I'm looking forward to settling down with my fiancee (American) pretty soon but it does give me pause to think that I wish it were the other way around sometimes - that we were settling down there instead of here. At the very least I hope that my kids will still retain the traditional Filipino values that I grew up with and not become entirely Americanized that they forget their cultural roots.
Post by insurrectomad on Feb 27, 2011 4:32:30 GMT -5
You will have to work very hard to get your kids to retain trad. Phil. values, language, knowledge and interest in the "old country". Having a large Pinoy presence in the States with your own TV Station and newspapers helps. Best of luck! David
I finally found time to listen to David Sibley's lecture on his book about the Phil-Am War.
It was this line that made me pretty much stop listening to Sibley's lecture:
"Philippine history for too long has been defined by the countries that controlled it... But let me suggest that one of the first ways to deal with the war, effectively, is by letting the Filipinos have their history back. And the best way to do it is to call the conflict what they want to call it. Since I don't speak Tagalog, I'm going to stick with "The Philippine-American War" for the purpose of this paper."
This statement of his already displays bias. Though he says that the Filipinos should "have their history back," by saying that he is going to stick with the "Philippine-American War," he immediately gives his own title to the conflict and shows did not consult with Filipino academic sources. It does not matter if he speaks Tagalog or not... he neglects the fact that many Filipinos do speak English and, again, could have consulted with his fellow Filipino historian counterparts.
By sticking to the name, he effectively imposes his own thoughts, ideas, and biases without being objective.
I remember when I was in undergrad, my professor told me that many academics become stuck in the ivory tower. They're so high up and only see things from a top-down view. They lose touch with people down below and the author, unfortunately, does this.
On the other hand, as many have said, he pins down American history pretty well. I don't think that his history is entirely incorrect but I agree with 79thfoot that he should have done more to round out his paper by incorporating more of the Filipino and maybe even the Spanish sides of the story.
Either way we go about it, he becomes an authority on the subject. Maybe I need to read the book to get a better understanding and to see if maybe he did explore the cultural complexities of the war.
Hopefully, someone can draw from his book and help round it out by exploring the perspectives of the different cultures that were involved. The history of the war is so complex that it is worth looking at it from a neutral perspective. It will not only allow "Filipinos to have their history back" but that everyone can understand all perspectives of this widely misunderstood and forgotten conflict.
Well - I was more pissed at what some American college professor said in the new Osprey book about counterinsurgency in the chapter devoted to the Phil-American War. He basically said that the war doesn't (present tense) even deserve to be called a war and was basically a counterinsurgency against (again repeating that cherished myth) one tribe of natives.
I have a feeling that a lot of us will find the assertions of Prof.Anthony James Joes in his article on the American "Counterinsurgency" in the Philippines 1898-1902 very offensive. He asserts that Aguinaldo did not constitute "the head of full fledged Filipino nationalism". He confuses Aguinaldo as head of "the Katipunan" and makes the old McKinley era assertion that it was only Aguinaldo's people (ie. the Tagals) who were fighting against the Americans. Ultimately he asserts that terms like "Philippine-American War" are "quite misleading".
I can understand that there are those in this country who would still like to pretend that what happened in 1898-1902 (though in actuality this lasted far beyond that year) were exactly according to what the American history books wrote. I'd like to hope that they are a minority. They forget that Washington had his own share of problems and rivals in men like Horatio Gates and Charles Lee as well as ignoring the shameful deception that the United States, which our ancestors looked up to as the vanguard of freedom (sadly they did not take note of Rizal's statement that America is a great land - but only if you're white), played in encouraging Aguinaldo to return and then stabbing him in the back and to add insult to injury to make it seem like it was a pathetic little insurgency. I swear if we'd done as well as Vietnam (sigh, maybe if Rizal had survived to become a unifying force, sort of a figurehead president/leader of the revolution w/c would have helped to smooth over or maybe even eliminate the whole Aguinaldo/Bonifacio and Aguinaldo/Luna issues) and kicked American ass in 1898, America would not have been so proud.
I don't like getting hyper patriotic about this issue - my fiancee is American and I am happy enough to let sleeping dogs lie insofar as America does not get arrogant about what it did to us in 1898. But when some American academic comes out and makes assertions like that from a purely biased American standpoint I find that deeply offensive.
Check the facts he might say - well, check your own facts I'd retort. America, as an ally of the Philippine Republic - it even sent a military representative on June 12 - had no moral or legal right to buy us from Spain, while Spain, who held virtually nothing any longer except Manila, had no actual territorial right to sell us. The war they fought against the Philippine Republic was an illegal war and people like Mark Twain and William Jennings Bryant were absolutely right to protest and fight against it (another reason I won't totally d**n America - there were Americans who realized that what their government was doing in the Philippines was WRONG).
Ultimately all I have to say about it is this - if America can feel hurt and wounded by 9-11 and Pearl Harbor then the Philippines and Filipinos have every right to feel offended and wounded when talking about how our very allies stabbed us in the back in 1898.
You know what... screw Osprey. Perry and co should just publish their own book of Philippine army uniforms.
Last Edit: Mar 21, 2011 1:50:58 GMT -5 by 79thfoot
Post by insurrectomad on Mar 22, 2011 3:40:29 GMT -5
To be fair to Osprey, They are only publishing material that is offered to them. how many Filipino writers & historians have submitted material to Osprey's? Has anyone an insight into the Aquinaldo film "El Presedente" being made right now in the Philippines. This is a mega sized movie for the World market, so whatever is shown will be seen everywhere and as Perry said believed as the real truth as the producer, director and scriptwriter are all Fils. Will the film be any different in its presentation than what Hollywood would deliver? I pray it is so! It will be shown at the Metro Manila Film Festival in December, perhaps 4 or 5 months after the Premier of "Amigo". Together these films should stir a big interest in these wars. I think that publishers like Osprey would be very open to a book on the real Uniforms, campaigns and illustrated maps/battles of the conflict on the tail of the film. If we can't remove their "blinkers' this year, we never will! Already the conflict in Libya has the american public looking back at their past anti-insurgency wars and overseas conflicts. I wish there was a way to contact the production crew of 'El Presedente' to ensure that these issues are addressed. Does anyone know how to reach Director TIKOY AGUILOZ or the Producer, Film star JEORGE ESTREGAN ( Gov. ER Ejertcito of Laguna)? If anyone can do this, then do it now! david
Post by insurrectomad on Mar 24, 2011 21:15:26 GMT -5
There was an other book written by a French Army officer observer based in Manila; is this part of the same book? I'm interested in reading the German accounts, as they were involved in some fighting. Salute, David