Hearts of Darkness: Revelations of Zimmerman & Nicole

brando

Marlon Brando as Kurtz

Heart of Darkness  is a short novel written by British author Joseph Conrad in 1899. It is hard reading, but it is one of those artistic gems that lasts a lifetime. In this story, we are forced to confront the potential for evil that is deeply bred within our souls. OUR souls, not just those of the two main characters in the novel, Charles Marlowe, ivory trader, and Mr. Kurtz, ivory hunter who operates deep within Africa at the upper reaches of the Congo River.

Marlowe is given the task of going upriver to bring Kurtz back, for his company has found out that Kurtz is ill.  Kurtz has been extraordinarily successful, but his success is attained by brutally mastering the savages who inhabit the inner jungle. They bring him ivory. His methods disturb the company. The illness affords them an opportunity to get him out of there. And out of the company’s hair.

After considerable trouble, including the sinking of his boat, Marlowe wends his way up the river and finds Kurtz ill, but still mastering the natives. Kurtz is in a state of vividly sane dementia. That seems contradictory. But Kurtz knows what is causing his illness, and it is revealed on his deathbed as he whispers in Marlowe’s ears, a dark and foreboding sentence that all of us need heed: “The horror! The horror!”

Kurtz’s brutal success is not without a steep emotional price.

Let me cut to Wikipedia’s crisp synthesis of the meaning of the story:

  • The story is a thematic exploration of the savagery-versus-civilization relationship, and of the colonialism and the racism that make imperialism possible.

The Heart of Darkness story line was taken almost page by page and worked into a movie in 1979 by Francis Ford Coppola under the title of Apocalypse Now. This story again has two powerful characters, the hunter, Willard, and the hunted, Kurtz. Kurtz was played darkly and brilliantly by Marlon Brando. Willard was played by Martin Sheen.  Willard and Kurtz are not ivory traders. They are American soldiers serving in Viet Nam. It is worth a rental. Its set-up is surreal, a famous helicopter surfing scene, and the plot grows in intensity as we reach the same climax as in the book:

“The horror! The horror!”

The movie addresses the same issues as the book. Brutality, racism, the evil within, and conquest. Both artistic works are dark. Indeed, at the end, they are ferocious.

Now I am sure you are wondering, what in God’s great gorgeous green globe do these works, a ferocious novel and a ferocious film, have to do with the Zimmerman Trial in the U.S.  and the Nicole case (the Smith trial of a few years ago) in the Philippines?

Well, I was drawn to the parallel in the public’s appetite for, and angst over, the two cases. The outsized passions, both reported by the media and fueled by the media, produce intense, dramatic conflicts in both cases. Both cases are racial at the core. One in America’s history, one in the Philippines’ history.

The passions give clue as to where the darkness lies, within the human spirit.

The darkness of heart is the incredible, seemingly unending capacity of our human kind to reduce others to lesser beings by the superficial qualities of skin color or language or behaviors shaped by culture.

If they aren’t like us, they deserve to be condemned.

This need to force others to our ways seems to be an obsession not unlike the way Kurtz forced the natives to bend to his will. And it promotes an equally intense opposite force. The agony of being penalized, innocently, unfairly, brutally by someone with power and a racial ax to wield.

heart of darkness

Sometimes the racial ax is subtle, sometimes sublime, sometimes hidden. Sometimes denied.

If it did not exist, neither would the explosive conflict of passions over one small person dealing with another small person and having the conflict end up in tragedy. Such as we had with Trevon Martin and Nicole.

I say small person, not to diminish any of the players in the respective dramas, or to discount the heartfelt tragedies the families have to deal with, but to categorize them as similar to the other routine tragedies we encounter or foist upon each other.  Deaths in car accidents or train wrecks or typhoons or forest fires or ferry sinkings or battle deaths or motorcycle accidents.

The darkness is to be found in the unnecessary judgments of others, and the pain they generate.

  • For Zimmerman, it was a middle-class off-white American male against a poor black kid out to get some snacks.
  • For Nicole, it was a cruel, white American soldier against a powerless brown Filipina out to find the love of her life.

That’s not how it ended up.

The symbolism and the reality are very easy to grasp: the powerful and privileged against the powerless and disenfranchised.

  • So American blacks and socially expansive liberals are outraged that the black kid shot by Zimmerman got NO justice.
  • As Filipinos were outraged that the brown girl sexually engaged and dumped at the side of the road by Smith got NO justice.

Well, we can explore a little and find that neither Martin nor Nicole were pure in ACT. Martin had a reputation as an aspiring thug and Nicole was totally drunk.  She later recanted the rape charge, saying she could not remember protesting. But both were PURE of HEART in the sense that they did not deserve dismissal, or to be diminished as a lesser being, or made less than whole by brutal treatment.

That is why they are similar, for the lack of justice for the innocent. And because the brutality toward them had undercurrents of racism. Or superiority.

For myself, I can’t reconcile the practical legal maneuvers of the courtroom – who saw what and said what and did what – with the subtle, hidden, sublime drives that cause people to discriminate.

Who among us has not felt the need to disparage, hurt, condemn, or even destroy someone else for the most superficial reason in the world:

They are different than we are, or think differently than we do.

We have great capacity for self-justification.

Read the arguments that take place on line and sample of the nastiness aimed at someone else when all the other person did was think different thoughts than us.

The reduction of others to a kind of lesser being needs to be condemned in the same way that racial discrimination needs to be condemned.

We presume to believe that we are a better kind of person than others solely because we have some ideas in our head. We operate some weird system of belief that our thoughts are superior, and we are superior, to anyone who would contradict us.

When we, as individuals, engage in that kind of “imperialism of the mind”, we consign ourselves to living far up the jungle river, like Kurtz. We become the real savages, as was Kurtz.

Comments
47 Responses to “Hearts of Darkness: Revelations of Zimmerman & Nicole”
  1. Lil says:

    reminds me of this attention-seeking anti-semite dutch commie
    https://www.facebook.com/thomasvanbeersum
    …under the guise of human right’s. lol

    • The Mouse says:

      ^^He is famous now in the Philippines 😀

      Ah, good parallelism between Nicole and Zimmerman. In the case of Zimmerman (half Hispanic guy with a white surname), female jury acquitted him. In Nicole’s case, female judges in the CA reversed the lower court decision. Both have been “public cases”.

      I can see where Nicole was coming from “for crying rape”. Not saying Smith wasn’t a jerk (who the heck want to have sex in the presence of other people?) but I believe his case was stronger — what happened was consensual. Come to think of it, if you were a women in a rather conservative and face saving society and you just had consensual sex with a random guy you met in a club and you have a fiance in the US Navy, the best thing you can do it cry rape to save your ass.

      • Joe America says:

        They were both jerks, Nicole and Smith, both drunk, both irresponsible. But Smith was jerkier for having dumped her on the side of the road. Nicole was a big jerk for doing as you suggest in your final sentence, denying accountability and putting it on Smith to keep her mother off her case. She was totally innocent except that Smith had his moment of dark heart. So my judicial ruling on Smith is “guilty” of a dark heart.

        • The Mouse says:

          Nicole and her minions were too dumb to file for a rape case…could have been something else…neglect or something…maybe, they would have convinced the CA more. Filing for rape doomed her case.

          Same with Zimmerman. As I understand, manslaughter was also filed. But there was more emphasis on murder and “racism”. So, they lost to the jury.

          Makes me wonder, have the males been Koreans or Japanese, not US Marines, would it have been a very public case? I don’t think so.

          • Joe America says:

            Really interesting speculation. I agree with you. There is a lot of underlying passion about America.

          • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

            It was a prosecutorial misjudgement. They were offered manslaughter but opt for Murder. They lost it. They cannot evern recharge Zimerman because of double jeopardy. The best they can do is civil.

            Obama in his unscripted appearance wanted Zimmerman to have backed down and stand down and let Trayvon pass thru and have Trayvvon someone else’s neighboor hood problem.

            … and listen, profiling is survival tool. This is how I survive and the rest of the Americans do. They profile your zip code, check school SATs in a particular Zip. I do that. I do not want my son in a bad school. Profile! Profile! Profile! Even those that wanted Zimmerman hanged, they do not want to live among blacks. And Blacks do not want to live among themselves because blacks victitim of choise is themselves, blacks.

            Whites are safe. They can tool around in their European without being molested because blacks only harm blacks.

      • Lil says:

        you mean famously hated now for being attention-seeking pakialmero prat ;P

    • Joe America says:

      Yep. The soul of a savage. Isolated from surrounding humanity by lunatic ideas and mob rule.

    • edgar lores says:

      1. It is hard to credit that some people still follow Communism, the god that failed.
      2. It is also hard to credit that the military is still engaged in extrajudicial killings under Aquino.
      3. The issue of injustice seems to be at the core of the question of suffering which is the fount of all philosophical speculation and blogging, even the beauty tips and columns.
      4. The question of the Dutch communist “Why?” is a heartrending cry that is always asked and there are answers aplenty, but never any satisfactory answer.
      5. We all have ours answers and make our own choices as we clash in violent struggle or in violent embrace. Somehow, I like the idea and imagery of the latter.

      • Joe America says:

        I read the comments of some of these Filipino leftists and my brain goes into lock-down freeze-up. “What am I doing back in 1950?”

        I figure the Philippines was 30 years behind modern global nations when Arroyo left office, and is now about 15 years behind. Those who are still 60 years behind are the commies and people who refuse to grasp what is going on, and what COULD go on if the Philippines cleaned up its act.

        5. Indeed.

        • Lil says:

          what I find funny is when these leftists scream about injustice/human rights as if their oh so wonderful idealogy is the picture of a perfect paradise 😛

          • Lil says:

            the good side of that, Joe, is being back in 1950 is being young again…
            but I’m still younger than you! 😛

            • Joe America says:

              I’m only reporting the folklore passed down from my father. 🙂

              My age is intangible, illusive . . . a gentle wisp of irrelevancy . . .

              And I definitively HATE it that you are correct.

  2. edgar lores says:

    1. Great lessons in the 5 concluding paragraphs.

    2. “That is why they are similar, for the lack of justice for the innocent. “ So the verdict is: “Guilty as charged”?

    3. In the Zimmerman case, there are two temporal contexts to the encounter:
    3.1. The first context is the span from the time Zimmerman spotted Martin to the time of Martin’s death.
    3.2. The second context is the shorter span from the actual verbal/physical engagement to the time of Martin’s death.

    4. The law seems to focus solely on the second context and the evidence presented is purely from Zimmerman’s side as there were no witnesses.
    4.1. The first context in which there were racial undertones is ignored and not relevant to the law. There were witnesses to the first context in the form of telephone calls to the police and to Martin’s friend.
    4.2. My judgment, outside the narrow confines of the law, would have been manslaughter.

    5. True, there is a heart of darkness. But I maintain my faith in the basic goodness of man.
    5.1. In spite of the darkness, we are awesome. You are, all of you. I am.

    6. “The splendor! The splendor!”

    • Joe America says:

      6. Brilliant, and uplifting.
      2. They are guilty of having hearts of darkness for a moment. Or being extraordinarily human. They are not guilty under the law, which is regimented rule-making that sometimes does not assure complete justice, because sometimes there are shades of guilt, not just a binary guilty or not guilty.

  3. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Gosh, the world is difficult to understand. There are times I think of the sweet smell of napalm in the morning to end it all, yet, there are people that wanted to live not that their wanting to live but the pain associated with death the aroma of gasoline and fireball. They do not know that death by fire is the most humane way of dying. Senses becomes numb except they are seeing themselves die in slow motion, skin melting before their eyes. Living is cruel. Living is punishment. That is why God never kills me because living itself is punishment, death is a gift. Those that wanted to live longer are killed. Life is my punishment death is others punishment. God is cruel. God loves torture. Many Filipinos would want to trade places with me, since, I learnt cruelty from God, NO I WOULDN’T. I will trade places with them when they desecrate the church. I just keep plodding on to tease, humiliate and titillate God. I am not living miserably. I got everything 93,999,999 Filipijoos would want and lay their hands on. I am just not happy. I do not know what happiness is. I fear happiness. I am afraid to be happy because I might want more of it. That is the problem of God, I am sooo used to sadness, that it doesn’t hurt anymore.

    Blacks should feel the same way. They were given Liberia but did not want to. They prefer to live among whites like whites but they are just different like me. I already accepted the fact that most whites do not like rough on the edges brown-skin Pacific Islander. Yes, I am not Asian. I am a Pacific Islander. Why do Filipinos insist that they are Asian? They are only Asian geographically not in color. Not up here mentaly. We are just different. We are brown. Like hip-hop. Dress like rappers saggy pants droopy eyes, walk side-to-side because it is cool … now I lost my train of thought. My wife called what I was doing. Now, where was I …. ?

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      God has a heart of darkness. God is sinister. God is the devil in a sheep skin. Poor Satan, he gets blamed of all things that God is wrong and powerless on Filipinos. This is where Filipinos have learned, God Excuses. There must be God, because Zimmerman just saved white family from an overturned SUV! Would Zimmerman have helped them if they were black? I do not know. Maybe not. Because the moment those blacks see the image of Zimmerman he will never see the light of day. Zimmerman is a victim of America’s media. Despite his hispanic looks, The American Media painted him white because of his last name. We are all aware that Hispanics and blcks are like water and oil. They do not mix … in penetentiary. In American jail system, they are segregated. Placing these two races together is combustible, spontaneous combustion. Pure headache.

      Nicole knew how to play her cards. Gimme visa I’ll retract. Sure she did get her visa. Miracle! How? I do not know. A prostitute got her visa? Who offered her Visa? Who facilitated her visa? Who interviewed her? Did she know how to fill in the blanks in the form? She was just a prostitute. She got nothing. She got no show of wealth to go back to the Philippines to, she is a prostitute, but she sure did get a Visa. Alan and Rappler despite his englischtzes analytics and travel abroad for speeches on freedom of speeche conveniently missed it.

      The U.S. government likely offered her a Visa in return of retraction. It is obvious. I have had difficulty getting a visa. I gotta have brain. Money. Wealth that I cannot give up before they gave me a Visa. How can a lowly prostitute get it in a flash?

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        That is a $64.00 question ….

      • edgar lores says:

        1. Ah, Mariano, you are in fine form today. But then you always are. The prism through which you see has colors that are beyond the range of ordinary mortals.

        2. Your first sentence, “God has a heart of darkness”, is an insight that few would permit themselves to think and fewer still would utter.

        2.1. People steeped in duality would shake their heads and protest, “No! Impossible!”, and create an external cause, the Devil as you have mentioned, to explain the darkness and to make him the scapegoat.

        2.2. They might also couple the external force with an internal cause in the guise of Original Sin. Man chose to have Free Will, so evil is part of mankind’s making. Hence, the need for salvation.

        2.3. Nietzsche, who seems to have come into vogue lately, says that good and evil are “different expressions of the same basic impulses that find more direct expression in the evil man.” So the impulse is organic and is an expression of the “will to power” which is beyond good and evil.

        2.5. The Buddhist view is that evil is neither innate nor an external force but something we create because of ignorance in our attachments (to certain objects and behaviours).

        2.6. In Hinduism, good and evil are aspects of karma. Good begets good and evil begets evil, and we are reborn as beetles or Brahmins.

        2.7. A conceptual extension of these Eastern religions is that there are phenomena and it is our poor human understanding that classifies phenomena into good and evil. There is really no duality. However, it might be valid to say that if you were to maintain the duality, then your view, Mariano, might be logically correct in that phenomena arise from the same source.

        2.8. Nondualism is supported by mystics who have experienced the bliss of a unitary world or, rather, the bliss of no-self and no separation, of union with all that there is.

        2.9. I don’t know. I am still currently attached to duality, of the male/female kind as well as the good (food, music, literature)/bad (food, music, literature) kind, but as I approach old age, I might venture into this world of non-duality.

  4. Based on what I read about Trayvon’s shooting since I don’t live in the US, If you use common sense, Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter. He was told by 911 to stay inside the car. But hey! In Florida, the one who acted on self-defense has no burden of proof. Are they trying to resurrect Wild, Wild West in the east coast? HAHAHAHA. Good thing I’m in the Philippines, where you can witness people shooting someone else over parking spaces on very rare occasions AT LEAST.

    Agree with you Joe. That “White-Hispanic-called-by-the-US-media” Zimmerman had prejudicial, dark thoughts on Blacks, and the rise in crime in his community gave him a convenient justification. On Nicole, I’m not that knowledgeable bout the facts because i had my high school issues back then, but the fact she accepted the elusive, coveted Green Card showed to me the darkness in her as well.

    That Van Beersum’s mistake is that he failed to realize that Philippines has a high-context culture; you can’t just shout at a crying Pinoy, policeman in front of the world HAHAHA. Also, as a foreigner, he isn’t allowed by the law to participate in rallies and demonstration. Correct me if I’m wrong though.

    A lot of Filipino social media commentators need to realize that introspective conclusion of this article. Even if they don’t, a lot of them are wusses in real life anyway.

    • Joe America says:

      I tell you, people who behave like idiots will be revealed as such in this modern day of the phone-cam. What a fine representative of his “cause”, eh? I hope he remains in the Philippines. The more losers the negative rabblerousers have, the quicker they will dissolve into a bubbling cauldron of irrelevancy.

  5. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/07/21/mother_finally_gets_sons_body_back_from_philippines.html

    Mother finally get his son’s body back from the Philippines taken hostage by Cebu Funeral Parlor. Her son was stabbed in a motel. The mother insisted her son be autpsied again in Canada because she said she believes Cebuanos do not know what they are doing and this is from the mother who has not set foot in the PHilippines nor can pinpoint where Philippines are.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Despite of it all … this policeman opened my heart than that PMAyer carried by a scrawny helpless malnourished underweight Filipino in the Battle of Leyte.

      http://news.msn.com/world/crying-cop-a-symbol-of-humanity-in-philippines

      • I have 2 hypothetical scenario regarding the cop’s fate.

        Scenario 1. I expect the crying cop to be a laughing stock of his “kabaro”/fellow policemen. Most of the cops here, except the ones featured in the SONA, are bound to parochial interest and show macho, thuggish image.

        Scenario 2. Or, the bigwigs of the PNP will turn him into a symbol of dutiful and humane Police, and promote him.

        Scenario 3. Someone will castigate the PNP for their poor planning and logistics. Imagine puttting a policemen at barricades without food and necessary supplies for days..

        • Joe America says:

          My opinion: I believe scenario 3 is the best, and the “someone” who castigates the PNP is the PNP leadership. If the policeman is ridiculed by his mates, they are scurrilous mates and lousy policemen. He ought not be idolized, either. He ought to be thanked for representing the PNP in a warmly human way, and left on the job.

          • Lil says:

            Yep without food and supplies and to be yelled at by a Anti-Semite Dutch Commie. I hope his Commie ass gets deported. We don’t need foreigners meddling and stirring up trouble especially Loony Commies.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          I was a Filipino. I used to be a Filipino. (I define Filipino by the character and attitude not by the looks and geographic birth). I’ve been there. BEING SOFT IN THE PHILIPPINES IS A LAUGHING MATTER. A crying policeman will be crucified for being bading, bakla, gay, bayot that has no place in an outfit run by PMAyers … Yes, Philippine Police are run by PMAyers, possibly by that PMAyers that is carried to the shore.

          Remember, that PMAyer is still out there ….
          Also, remember that police chief that tied a thread on snatcher’s testicle? Yes he is dead. No ! No! No! Not the police chief … the guy with a thread on his testicle that is the one who is dead. And the Philippine Media is afraid to cover or they will be kicked out from PNP gridirion and sources of news.

          Benigno Aquino is the only FEW GOOT GUYS IN THE PHILIPPINES. Once benignos term is over HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN. I am hoping not.

  6. JosephIvo says:

    Construction of easy paradigms is needed for quick decisions in emergencies, belonging to a group for protection, these instincts are well engrained in our brains. The actions of Zimmerman and Smith were very instinctive.

    The answer to me seems to be “Culture”. Joe guides / controls our emotions with references to books and film. Culture helps to surpass instinctive behavior. Culture as the monopoly of physical power (and guns) in the police force only, stringently reinforced, as the teaching of etiquette in language, dress codes, behavior…, as the teaching and appreciation for art in its diversity, visual, auditory , taste, film, dance… inclusive the confrontation with different styles, as in the creation of common stories and hero’s, rituals… Teaching to share, include, innovate, challenge…

    It takes a village to teach a child, but the world became our village. Can’t we see the trees anymore through the forest? Is multi-cultural education possible? I think that just as you have to master your mother tongue well before you can excel in new languages, you have to master your own culture well before you can fully appreciate other cultures. But “native” cultures are disappearing fast (e.g. American cultures differentiated by region, by class, by ethnic differences…).

    Today only marketers decide how we have to live a happy live, globally where possible. This results in sugar and sweet tastes killing culture, Fox killing culture, mono-cultures killing culture, the globalization of consumption killing culture… And the lack of education kills culture, teachers became servants no more the esteemed carriers of knowledge they once were.

    Help Mariano, I got lost too.

    • Joe America says:

      Ha. You made your point, lost or not.

      I think such a thing as a “native culture” is very rare since the advent of the radio, then the television, then the internet. Only provincial souls, cut off from these mass pulping machines, have authentic native culture.

      This is what I have been wrestling with, the unreality that is our reality. The reality fed to us by sugar and Fox and global homogenization, that takes truths and spins them or denies them or embellishes them until we are reacting to ghosts, and believing that we UNDERSTAND. We don’t understand, we just go with the illusions to the best of our ability.

      How does one create a culture if one is afloat in the West Philippine Sea without a life vest? The only way I can figure is to swim to the nearest island and chop down all the radio and TV and internet towers and form bonds with one’s neighbors to begin anew.

      Or roll over onto one’s back and float off to oblivion enjoying the cool of the water and the heat of the sun and the fact that God granted us the senses and brains to think about things, and feel in ways that animals . . . or even human savages . . . cannot.

      I’m committed to doing the latter . . . but I do eye small islands with an intense sense of longing when we fly over them.

  7. manuel buencamino says:

    I loved both the book and the movie. And the philosophical questions they raised. Both stories also left me with a nagging question, what if Conrad’s Kurtz and Copolla’s American troops just stayed home and minded their own business? What made them think it was perfectly alright for them to go those places, were they invited?

    As to Zimmerman, what if he followed the police’s advise and just stayed in his car like they told him to? As to Nicole, women have a right to get as drunk as they want without having to worry about men taking advantage of their condition.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, MB, I am happy to say I am in total agreement with you. Both Zimmerman and Smith displayed extreme darkness of heart, and the laws ought to be re-written to make that a crime.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      If Zimmerman had not followed, Trayvon would have likely hurt someone down the road …
      I do not know the intent of Nicole to get drunk with the American becaue it was reported by Philippine Media, definitely Nicole wanted the American for the visa which she got eventually …. and, she never came back even a peek to the PHilippines and of course, she was able to import her immediate family and parents.

      If American troops had stayed out of Vietnam, I wouldn’t have a Vietnamese Masseuse and goot Pho` after. If it were not for Vietnamese boat people Volkswagen Beetle wouldn’t have had a makeover, it was Vietnamese from Orange County that did the makeover for Volkswagen. If Americans had stayed out of Vietnam, Cambodia would have surpassed Philippines in mouths to feed.

      For every negative action there is equal positive reaction and this always happen in the Philippines but this time it failed on Aling Glo and her personal Supreme court justice Renato Corona

  8. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Ten Shocking Facts about Slavery that schools did not teach you.

    http://screen.yahoo.com/10-shocking-facts-slave-trade-162013234.html

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting video, great music. I don’t understand the closing “fact” that there are 50,000 slaves in the United States. Perhaps we need a definition of slave. That is so wild to me that the whole video falls into the category of “low credibility”. To me, “slave” means titled ownership. It does not mean kidnapping or forced submission. If forced submission is the definition, then I’d suspect there are many more than 50,000 in the U.S. And what about the Philippines, where abused wives cannot get out of the marriage? They are for sure indentured.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        Sundays in Luneta is the place to watch houseslaves in their finery. The cabinet members, senators, congressmen including Benigno Aquino and his relatives have slaves. These slaves do not have:
        1. Social Security contribution
        2. No Vacation time
        3. No sick time
        4. No nap time
        5. No break time
        6. No overtime
        7. They work from sun up till 10:30p.m.
        8. Only one day off, Sunday.
        9. Before they go to Luneta, they have to cook for their masters first. When they come back around 6:00 they go man the kitchen and laundromat right away
        10. They are underage.
        11. They are overage.
        12. Once they are useless, they are sent back home with no retirement pay.
        13. No benefits.
        14. They are raped.
        15. They are abused.
        16. Gosh ….. Oh, my God !!! What God? God healed the slaves and thanked the master for believing in him … OH MY GOD !!!!!!

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          17. No health benefits …
          18. No dental benefits … MOST HOUSESLAVES DO NOT HAVE DENTURES …
          19. They are required to wear Identification cards in gated community while homeowners do not. I wonder how the security guard can tell from homeowner and houseslaves that are required to wear uniform and Identification. Maybe homeowners are more tisoy looking.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, the punishments of Job for those born into poverty. The social values promoting such extreme hiring practices represent a total lack of compassion toward others, even if they are vulnerable. Indeed, BECAUSE they are vulnerable. It is rather what Smith did in dumping Nicole on the side of the road, is it not? Only it is done every day, one Filipino to another. It is the driver who refuses to heed a pedestrian in the sidewalk, or the government authority who lords it over all before him.

          Power and the will to use it.
          Poverty and no way to escape it.

          There is an awareness that this needs to be dealt with. The Legislature enacted a measure early this year (Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers – Republic Act 10361) that mandates that employers provide social security and health benefits, and pay a designated minimum wage.

          It is rather a pea in a hailstorm, however, given that the practice is so broad, the enforcement mechanisms so weak, and the need so great. If implemented aggressively, the law may put people out of work, because the costs to provide benefits are not small.

          The solution is twofold: (1) grow the economy while slowing population growth, and (2) more social pressures brought to bear on the abusers.

          The more intransigent of the the two problems is (2). No one knows exactly how to do that.

  9. cha says:

    Over dinner last night, my son brought us up to date with Russia’s recent drift towards a homophobic society through the efforts of the alpha male Vladimir Putin. Apparently, a law has just been put into place in that country allowing police officers to arrest and  detain foreigners and tourists suspected of being homosexuals. Just as well, the adoption of Russian babies by homosexual couples from other countries has also been banned. As for their own citizens, there are whispers of a plan to pass a law that will also allow the government to take the children of homosexual Russian couples. 

    This led to a discussion on how laws have oftentimes been crafted (and continue to be so) to institutionalize prejudice and cruelty to our fellow human beings.  The White Australia policy of old, apartheid in South Africa, segregation in America and so on came to mind. And as is wont to happen whenever there is talk of evil in this world, religion found its way into the conversation and how so much wrong and injustice has been committed in the mighty name of Jesus (the crusades)… and Allah (jihad)…but never it seems as yet in the name of Buddha.

    So then we found our way into lightness after what was turning out to be a dim and depressing dinner conversation; deliberately so I suspect, as like most normal human beings, I reckon we could only tolerate so much darkness in our lives (or over dinner for that matter). Our natural instinct is to seek the light, to find a source of illumination that reveals to us not only what lies ahead but what we have also been able to surmount, and then to find a way to hope instead of despair. 

    And so going back to  our dinner conversation, one of us then wondered, “are there any gay Buddhist monks at all ?”.  We laughed and agreed someone will just have to get on that. In the meantime, there’s the wonderful blend of flavors and lightness in my san choy bow to marvel about. 

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the dramatic read, Cha. I was heading into deep dark depression, then you twirled me out into a light smile at the end. If I had to join a religious congregation to avoid the apocalypse, it would be gay Buddhist monks.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Thank gootness we are not gay bashers here. They have life to live and their crime is loving each other unlike religious that force themselves on others in the name of salvation and mercy.

      On the other hand, I feel for Zimmerman for profiling but it is unfortunate he profiled a black man. Everyone profiles and stereotypes. We profile community by school’s SAT scores. A SAAB and a Volvo, Fiat, and other low key european cars in the neighborhood is tame. An old Impala, souped up BMWs, Lincoln Navigators, Cadillacs is a scary neighborhood and you’d thought “these are expensive cars”! Wrong. These are the car of choice of bad people. We profile all the time for our safety and survival. Is it discrimination …. ? Is it wrong …. ? Ask Neiman Marcus, they have never set up stores in poor bad neighborhoods. Safeway Groceries been bashed for not opening stores in Compton, they did open one under pressure yet built like a prison, spy cams everywhere and armed guards up front. Of course, their prices are higher because they gotta recover the cost of spy cams, vandalism, security guards and shop lifters. Compton protested, well, they should know better, oh, well, they wouldn’t have been in that neighboorhood if that knew better.

  10. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Can’t believe these Americans. I just do not understand them at all. They had Eliot Spitzer that sent shivers up the spine of Wall Street scammers; California have had Arnold Scharzenegger; USA had Bill Clinton; Now they set their scope on Weiner … All sex scandals. All effective.

    They should run for political office in the fanatically religious roman catholic christian Philippines … It doesn’t bother Filipinos a bit.

    Ameicans wanted a Holy Man to sit at City Hall while they are not holy at all.

    Americans meddle into the private life of Weiner while not allowing their government to tap into their cellphone, internet habits and e-mails. Well … I cannot understand AMericans because I am a Filipino.

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