Friday, March 12, 2010

The Faces of Women

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, the continuing ordeal of the 43 illegally arrested and detained health workers highlights the plight of Filipino women at the hands of a fascist government. It reveals the faces of women in conflict and in struggle for the genuine liberation of this nation.

On one hand, there are the 26 women detainees, health workers whose only crime is to go beyond just caring enough to cure. They are the symbols of true empowerment: unschooled but not uneducated, marginalized but at the frontlines of healthcare, and poor but with the wealth of heart and sacrifice.

These women, and the men who are with them in their incarcerated lives, have the power rarely afforded today - power drawn from the respect and recognition given by their people. That they are subjected to abuse and humiliation in order to break them is testament not only to the integrity of their empowerment but also to the pathetic feeble-mindedness of their captors.

Then there are the relatives: mothers, wives, and daughters. They are the ones who troop daily to Camp Capinpin, endure the snicker and harassments of the military custodians, calmly listen to the stories of their detained loved ones, and go home to prepare for the next day’s visit. Theirs is the strength without a name.

And then there is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the woman who represents the prevailing social and sexual chauvinisms of a corrupt, decadent, and moribund system. Hers is a rule dependent on force - the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police - and propped up by her patron, United States-led imperialism.

That Mrs. Arroyo once turned a blind eye on the rape committed by US serviceman Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, and now ignores the mental, physical, and sexual torture perpetrated by her own security forces expose the cultivated prejudice of her detested leadership.

Today, the Filipino nation raises its clenched fist as a salute to the women who continue to oppose the fascist US-Arroyo regime.

Today, the continuing detention of the 43 health workers is a rallying symbol of the historic struggle to reclaim this nation, to attain freedom and democracy.

The cry of people and their immediate demand echoes true: free the 43 health workers now!

Statement on Women's Day, March 8, 2010. Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD)

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