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Oct 02nd
Home Sections Politics The Filipino and the Clash of Civilizations, Part I
The Filipino and the Clash of Civilizations, Part I PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 01 September 2007 19:07


T he discussion of the Filipino version of the projected coming of the "Clash of Civilizations" started in June 2003. I wrote a series of articles about the topic in my then column, "Daily B.R.E.A.D.," in the of New York. Unfortunately, it no longer carries the series in its archives although the web site still shows the title and comments from readers. The has decided to reprint the series, as updated, as the topic would have to be included in the Mission/Vision Statement(s) of an Overseas-Filipino Workers (OFW)-led Political Party for the Philippines in preparation for the 2010 elections.

How the Initiative (Topic) Started

On June 19, 2003, former University of the Philippines (UP) Prof. Cesar Torres sent me an e-mail through the Professor Torres is based in San Francisco, California. He wrote: "For Bobby Reyes: Can we forego that Mindanao-Sulu conference in Las Vegas and let us have a one-day discussion of the Mindanao-Sulu issues here in San Francisco?" Then he said: "I am going to start inviting people to a preliminary discussion of this conference, 'The Filipino and the Clash of Civilizations.'  We might even invite Samuel Huntington."

Professor Torres added: "Let us invite Mike Bolos from the Middle East, Ka Tonyang (Binsol, now deceased) from Tokyo, Filipinos from the Netherlands, Milet Mendoza of Tabang Mindanao, others from Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy, Mindanao and Sulu, the UP, Ateneo, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president, someone from the UP's Institute of Islamic Studies, someone from Bayan Muna, Walden Bello, Maria Resa of CNN who had that one-hour special on Al Qaeda's birth in Manila and its Southeast-Asian tentacles, Raul Roco (now deceased) and the other presidential candidates, Eddie del Rosario as the representative of the OFWs and Gil Ramos, religious representatives from the World Council of Churches . . .

"All of them will be paper writers. There will be plenary sessions and work groups. Simple lang, not like what Rodel Rodis and Greg Macabenta did on that 'Global Wow' conference. We will publish the proceedings. The conference results can guide academicians, policy wonks, public administrators and NGO leaders in the Philippines and this generation when the 'clash of civilizations' intensifies.

"We will request Ms. Estela Manila to reserve the Koret Auditorium in the San Francisco Public Library and some smaller workshop rooms.

"Our guests from all over the world do not have to stay in hotels. I can be the host of five people . . . The other organizers, you, Perry Diaz, Ernie Delfin, Yolanda Ortega Stern, Dr. Isagani Sarmiento, my friends in the Fil-Am Community, Manang Benday (the 84-year lady whom I call the Tandang Sora of the Filipinos in America) can accommodate other conference participants."Taking Cesar Torres Seriously

I was one the few who took seriously Professor Torres on the "Clash of Civilizations (CoC)" as the Filipino conference topic. I assured him of my participation when I met him in San Francisco on Oct. 3, 2003, during Philippine Sen. Nene Pimentel's visit. I was a member of the senator's party. Then Professor Torres and I met in Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 2003, again with Senator Pimentel. We discussed briefly the proposed conference.

The possible reason for the Filipino leaders' reluctance to participate in a dialogue about the CoC was that few of them have heard of Samuel Huntington. Besides as somebody in the group said, "What do Filipinos have to do with the CoC?"

Samuel P. Huntington is a Harvard political scientist. He has a controversial thesis called the "CoC." He contends that future international conflicts would be drawn along cultural - rather than ideological, national or class - lines.

Professor Torres' proposed conference should be brought into focus. In his book, Mr. Huntington argues that Latin-American immigration could create a cultural clash between Hispanics and Anglos. He says that eventually America would be divided into two groups of people, two cultures and two languages.

My regular column in the discussed the Filipinos in America. My piece on February 22, 2003, talked of Filipinos as Asian Americans or Brown Americans. Another essay discussed the Filipinos being HispanoFilipinos. I have actually laid the predicates for Professor Torres' topic for a proposed Filipino conference on the CoC.

The Filipinos may be involved in the CoC, if it happens. As Brown Americans, Filipino Americans are extension of the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) community. But as HispanoFilipinos, they belong to the Latino group. If Filipinos in America would consider themselves Asian Americans, then they belong to the Confucian civilization. The Muslim Filipinos are part of the Islam civilization. And right now the Americans are trying to deal with these various civilizations, to follow the Huntington theory of the CoC.

The then Philippine presidential candidates in the 2004 elections and the national leadership did not bother to support Professor Torres’ call for a conference on the CoC. After four short years, the Muslims are again in an uproar in Mindanao, perhaps the topic needs to be addressed in solving the problems in Southern Philippines.

(To be continued . . .)

Editor’s Note: To read the earlier articles of this series, please just click on these hyperlinks:


The Filipino and the Clash of Civilizations, Part I


The "Clash of Civilizations" Now Brewing in California?


Is the Philippines the Prototype of the "Clash of Civilizations?" (Part III)


Overseas Filipinos Can End the "Clash of Civilizations" in RP (Part IV)


Illiteracy Fuels the Ongoing “Clash of Civilizations” in RP, Especially in Mindanao (Part V)


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Last Updated on Saturday, 09 January 2010 13:13

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