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About the author:
E. San Juan, Jr. is Professor and Chair of the Department of Comparative American Cultures at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington.
Before this assignment, he was professor of Ethnic Studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio and, earlier, professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.
As this century of wars and revolutions comes to a close, Mark Twain's "person sitting in darkness" is bound to experience a lightning shock of recognition. Those dark-skinned natives in southeast Asia, conquered by the brute force of "Manifest Destiny" soon after the occupation of the homelands of the American Indian nations, have now stood up by expelling U.S. military bases from their sovereign territory.
This event may come as a surprise to Western observers. But not to the countless martyrs--from Macario Sakay, Salud Algabre, and Crisanto Evangelista to the nameless victims of Maliwalu, Escalante, Lupao and of other still undiscovered sites of anti-communist barbarism; and surely not to Maria Lorena Barros, Macliing Dulag, Rolando Olalia, and thousands more who have sacrificed their lives so that the Filipino masses can achieve a measure of autonomy, justice, and equality.
Such, indeed, has been the destiny of the "White Men's Burden" in the Philippines after the 1896 revolution against Spain and the protracted resistance against the invading power of the United States.
It has taken almost a century for us to appreciate the visionary force of what our compatriot Jose Rizal prophesied in "The Philippines A Century Hence": the people's struggle for national liberation, though suppressed many times, will overcome in the end.
Written in the period marked by the declaration of martial law in 1972 and the 1986 "People Power" uprising, these essays are offered as a critical realization of Rizal's vision, and for the renewal of the struggle for popular democracy in solidarity with freedom-fighters everywhere.
Amid the triumphalism of a hierarchical "New World Order," one harks back to the enduring truth of Marx's statement …