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Isang Hapon ng Kwentuhan kay Ka Rio, Kabataang Makabayan, Hukbo ng Bayan

in Mainstream
by Liberation Staff

Eskwela, pamilya, mga pangarap, buhay-pakikibaka. Ilan lamang ito sa mga ipinasilip ni Ka Rio sa aming kwentuhan, isang hapon sa isang sonang gerilya. Tunghayan ang isang millennial na sumasalungat sa dikta ng lipunang sa kabila ng kabulukan ay sumisibol ang mga kagaya niyang pag-asa ng bayan.

 

KAILAN KA NAGSIMULANG KUMILOS?

Naorganisa ako nu’ng second year college ako. Mula ako sa isang local State U (university) ng region. Kasagsagan ‘yun ng campaign sa tuition at miscellaneous fees. Dahil nga pabibo, e di join-join ako. Tapos alam mo ‘yung ano ng kabataan na adventurous, e di ganyan, sali-sali.

Nagpapapirma ako sa mga estudyante ng petisyon na wag natin payagan ‘yung ganito. Ayun, hindi na natuloy ‘yung plano sa school dahil sa petisyong ginawa ng mga organisasyon ng mga estudyante. ‘Yun ‘yung tumulong para i-pursue ang paglaban ng mga kabataang estudyante.

Pero hindi pa ‘ko nagtuloy-tuloy sa pagkilos nu’n. May patlang.
‘Yung sumunod, merong environmental investigative mission sa isang probinsya na merong problema sa mining. E dahil nga ma-adventure ako—at dahil dagat ‘yun!—e, di sama-sama ‘ko. Du’n ako mas na-agit (agitate). Bakit may ganito? Na sa kabila ng kayamanan ng Pilipinas, bakit may mga taong naghihirap— yung magsasaka, mga mangingisda? From there, nagtuloy-tuloy na ‘yung mga activities ko. Nag-gift giving sa isang komunidad ng mga katutubo. Du’n ako nag-Pasko sa kanila.

 

KM KA NA BA NU’NG PANAHONG ‘YAN?

Hindi pa ako KM (Kabataang Makabayan) nu’n. Basta aktibista. Isa rin ako sa KK nu’n— Kandidatong Kontak! Kasi nga ang tagal na pero hindi pa rin narerekrut! Ilang buwan pa bago ‘ko naging KM. Mula nu’n nagtuloy-tuloy na, hindi na ako napigil. Sumasama ako sa mga RTR (room-to-room) na pagrerekrut, pag-i-ED (educational discussion) sa mga estudyante.

Tapos, naglunsad ng mga pag-aaral sa isang sona (sonang gerilya), du’n pa lang ako nabigyan ng MKLRP, after a month na na-KM ako! Hahaha!

 

KUMUSTA ‘YUNG PAG-AARAL MO NU’NG NAGING AKTIBO KA NA SA PAGKILOS?

Sa eskwelahan, ‘yung oras lang na allotted sa mga subjects ko, du’n lang ako pumapasok. Tapos ‘yung the rest, nasa ibang kolehiyo na ‘ko, kumakausap ng mga estudyante, nagrerekrut. Hindi naman ako tumigil sa pag-aaral. Pinagsasabay ko ‘yung pagkilos at pag-aaral. Mas maano nga e, dahil guided na ‘ko ng MLM (Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoismo) principles, ‘yung kahit simpleng pagsusuri sa mga bagay-bagay, naa-apply ko s’ya sa loob ng eskwelahan kaya mas broader at sharper ‘yung mga pagsusuri sa loob ng eskwelahan.

Scholar ako. Hindi ako nagbabayad ng mga tuition fee kasi consistent college scholar. Basta ‘yun ‘yung ano ko sa nanay ko, na ok lang maging aktibista kasi hindi ko naman napapabayaan ang pag-aaral ko. Kahit sa gitna ng examination, midterm ganyan, nakakapunta ako ng mga activities labas sa eskwelahan. Nakakapunta pa ‘ko sa ibang probinsya. Hindi ako mag-e-exam pero kakausapin ko ‘yung prof ko, sasabihin ko na may mga ganitong activity. Dahil pinagkakatiwalaan nila ‘ko na hindi naman ako pabaya sa pag-aaral, pinapayagan nila ‘ko. Nag-e-exam ako pagkatapos na ng activity ko, ganyan.

Kasabay rin nu’n, ako ‘yung president ng academic organization namin sa school.

 

ANO BA’NG KURSO MO?

Psych. AB Psychology ako. Nagkasabay minsan na may pajama party kami sa academic organization namin tapos may ED din. E, ako ‘yung presidente ng org namin, hindi ako nakapunta sa ED! Hahaha! Nasayang ko ‘yung pagkakataon na ‘yun kasi du’n din sana ako bibigyan ng MK (MKLRP – Maikling Kurso sa Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino).

 

HINDI KA BA PINIGILAN NG MGA TEACHER O KAKLASE MO NA BAKA MAKAAPEKTO SA PAG-AARAL MO ‘YUNG PAGKILOS MO?

Siguro dahil ‘yung eskwelahan namin may isyu dati na naghukbo ‘yung mga estudyante, tingin nila na ‘yung organisasyon na sinasalihan ko ay aktibista, rekruter daw ng hukbo, ganyan-ganyan. Sa unang bahagi hindi naman nila ako sinasabihang ‘wag ka d’yan’. Sabi lang ‘mag-ingat ka d’yan.’ E di, ‘ok!’.

 

PAANO MO BINALANSE ANG PAG-AARAL AT PAGKILOS LALO NA’T ISKOLAR KA?

Pwede kong isantabi ang pag-aaral ko. Babalikan ko siya pagkatapos ng activity. Kaya hindi naging hadlang ‘yung pag-aaral ko sa pagkilos— o baligtarin natin— hindi naging hadlang ‘yung pag-kilos ko sa pag-aaral, ganyan.

Kung nandu’n ‘yung kapasyahan mo na lumaban at ‘yung diwa mo na talagang maglingkod sa estudyante at mamamayan, kahit ano’ng panahon ‘yan, pwede kang lumarga. Hindi ‘yun nagiging rason basta nandu’n ‘yung diwang palaban mo.

Nu’ng fourth year, naging chair ako ng isang University-wide na organisasyon. E di, mas lalong humihingi ‘yun ng panahon sa pagkilos dahil ako nga ‘yung nakatoka. May campaign din, ‘yung pagpapataas ng budget para sa mga State universities kasi may banta pa rin ng pagtataas ng tuition.

Kaya nagpapaliwanag kami sa mga estudyante, hindi dapat burden ng mga estudyante… mga chuchu…dapat ‘yung gobyerno ‘yung singilin natin, ganyan. Another round ng petition ulit! Petition signing, recruitment, ED, RTR na prop ‘yung pinagpapalit-palit na ginagawa namin sa loob ng school.

Nagampanan ko naman ‘yung mga ganu’n habang nag-aaral. Tapos nagti-thesis pa ‘ko nu’n. Thesis. OJT. Yung OJT ko, thrice a week ‘yun pero sa pagitan nu’n pumapasok ako sa school para du’n pa rin sa kampanya, rekrutment, ED.

Kaya ayun, bongga lang ‘pag naiisip ko. Tumbling. Lagare! Hahaha!

 

ANO ANG NAGING EPEKTO NG PAGIGING AKTIBISTA MO?

Karerista ako nu’ng hindi pa ‘ko aktibista. ‘Yung goal ko talaga, maka-graduate nang laude— cum laude, ganyan. Dapat maintained yung grades ko, dapat college scholar ako lagi.
Nu’ng nagtibak ako, mas tumaas pa ‘yung grado ko, nag-university scholar pa nga ako. Kaya sabi ko, hindi talaga hadlang ‘yun. Kapag nakikita mo, mas lumalawak ‘yung pang-unawa mo sa mga bagay-bagay; mas matalino ka sa loob ng eskwelahan. Di ba? Totoo naman ‘yun, e. Kasi hindi ka nakakulong sa apat na sulok ng pamantasan. ‘Yung teoryang nakukuha natin, mas naa-apply ko nga lalo’t psychology ‘yung kurso ko: paano naaapektuhan ng lipunan ‘yung pag-iisip ng tao. Mga ganu’ng eme! Hahaha!

 

CUM LAUDE KA NU’NG NAGTAPOS NG KOLEHIYO, HINDI KA BA KINUMBINSI NG PAMILYA MONG MAGTRABAHO?

Pag-graduate ko, hindi agad ako umuwi sa bahay namin. Agad-agad, pumakat ako pagkatapos ng graduation. Kinukumbinsi ako ng nanay ko na umuwi kasi parang may salo-salo sa bahay. Alam mo na, graduation tapos may honors pa ‘ko. Pero sabi ko, wag na. Parang hindi ko na rin inisip ‘yung mga pahanda-handa. ‘Yung mga ka-batch ko ng hayskul may mga laude rin. E di kantyawan, ‘pakain ka naman!’Pero after how many months later pa ‘ko bago umuwi sa bahay namin. E di wala na, panis na! Hahaha!

 

ANO’NG GINAWA MO? SA’N KA PUMAKAT?

Nagkomyu (community) kami nu’ng bakasyon. Nag-school-based din ako pagkatapos. Pero ang mungkahi ko du’n sa mga kakolektib (collective) ko, ayoko du’n sa pinag-aralan ko. Gusto ko sa iba na. Kilala kasi ako ng mga dean, mga prof.

Tapos parang pinepersonal kasi ako dun e. Nu’ng wala na ‘ko sa school, may narinig akong kwento na sabi raw ng OSS namin, hindi naman daw ako deserving mag-cum laude chuva-chuva kasi nga raw tibak ako, ganyan. Bitter! Hahaha!

 

KAILAN KA SUMAMPA SA HUKBO? PAANO ‘YUNG PAGHAHANDA MO?

Two years ako sa YS bago ako nag-CS. Comedy lang ‘yung pagpasok ko sa sona (sonang gerilya) nu’n kasi hindi naman talaga ako magti-TOD (tour of duty). Parang meet and greet lang sa mga hukbo, ganyan. Kasama ko ‘yung mga bagong KM, pinapakilala sa kanila ano ang hukbo, eme. Ako naman joiner. Tapos parang ako ‘yung naantig ba, na magpaiwan! Hahaha!

Di ba kampuhan nga ‘yung pinasukan namin, ED festival. Meron du’n isang kasama na gusto nang magpahayag ng pagpupultaym pero 16 years old pa lang so hindi pa pwede. Parang naisip ko, ‘hala siya naiisip na niyang magpultaym kahit 16 pa lang siya, pero ako 22 na ‘ko, hindi ko man lang maisip ‘yun.’ ‘Yung mas bata sa‘kin nakakaisip nang magpultaym kesa sa’kin na mas matanda. “Ano ba, teh?” Ganu’n ‘yung feeling ko.

Tapos meron pang isang kasamang kadre-militar na galing sa lokal, medyo hirap magbasa. Pauwi ako sa kubo ko, nakita ko siyang nagbabasa nang malakas “DA-PAT-PAG-A-RA-LAN…” Matanda na siya. Sabi ko, ‘Ano ba ‘yan!’ Parang na-antig na naman ako. Dito ka na talaga, teh! Hahaha! Eto na talaga ‘yun. Kasi parang ang husay-husay na niyang kadre-militar pero gusto pa niyang mas mahusay na paglingkuran ‘yung mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng pagtataas ng kamulatan sa taktika ng pakikidigma. Kahit na hirap siyang magbasa pero dahil gusto niya, pinu-push niyang magbasa. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘Ikaw ganito, nakapag-aral ka pa!” Hahaha!

 

WALA PA BA SA PLANO MO ANG SUMAMPA SA HUKBO?

‘Yung isang kasama ko lang talaga ang magti-TOD. Wala talaga ‘kong balak magpaiwan. Gusto ko pang mag-aral. Gusto kong magdoktor kasi pangarap ko yun. Nakahiram na ‘ko ng reviewer, nagpaalam na ‘ko sa nanay ko magte-take ako ng entrance exam.

Nasabi ko na rin sa mga kasama sa kampuhan na gusto kong magdoktor. Sabi nila, “E di dito ka na lang magdoktor.” Totoo rin naman, pwede naman talaga. Sa sampung taong namamatay, pito du’n ‘yung hindi nakakakita ng doktor bago mamatay. E lalo dito na sobrang layo ng ospital. Hirap talaga ‘yung masa kasi nga mamamatay na ‘yung pasyente pero nandito pa rin sila sa baryo, nandyan ka pa rin sa daan. Mamamatay na ‘yung pasyente pero papunta ka pa lang.

Tapos napag-isip-isip ko kung magdodoktor ako, sino ‘yung paglilingkuran ko? Syempre ‘yung mayayaman pa rin, ganyan-ganyan ‘yung rason ko. Isa ‘yun sa factor kung bakit ako nagpahayag na magpaiwan for one month.

Pero hindi ko pa naaabot ‘yung one month, nagdeklara na ‘kong magpultaym talaga sa hukbo. Aside sa comrade pressure, hahaha ‘yung eklabu ng mga kasama na “gusto nga nating baguhin ‘yung chuva-chuva,” nag-decide na rin talaga ‘ko.

 

MAHIRAP MAG-DECIDE PARA SA KAGAYA MO ANG SUMANIB SA HUKBO, PERO MAS MAHIRAP ‘YUNG MANATILI. PAANO KA TUMAGAL NANG MAHIGIT ISANG TAON NA?

Actually, wait lang kuha lang ako ng English ko. Pengeng panyo! Hahaha!

Ano, nakakatagal naman, e di ngayon isang taon at tatlong buwan na ‘kong pultaym. Syempre sa buhay hukbo naman talaga, hindi lang naman puro saya. May kakambal siyang sakripisyo, lungkot sa pagka-miss sa pamilya mo, sa labas… sa pagkain, char! Hahaha! ‘Yung bag ko nga dapat hindi nawawalan ng pagkain e. Kahit hindi mo kakainin basta nakikita mo ‘yung pagkain, pang ano lang, pampataas ng morale, “Uy may pagkain pa ‘ko!” Hahaha!

Sakripisyo at sakripisyo din talaga ‘yung ibibigay mo.

Hindi lang ‘yan hirap sa lakaran, kundi ‘yung sa morale din. Pero dahil sabi nga ni Mao, “’Yung katapangan ay nagmumula sa kamulatan natin.” Kaya ang dapat na pini-feed mo lagi ay ‘yung kamulatan mo—‘yung ideo ba—‘yung pagpapataas ng ideo. Para malampasan mo kahit na anong hirap. Kasi ‘yung diwa mo, nakaturol du’n sa layunin mo mismo, ‘yung prinsipyo natin na lumaban. Lagi’t lagi, parang napapansin ko sa sarili ko nagbabasa ako ng dokumento, o kahit na ‘yung I Engage pati ‘yung diary ni Tuy sa Vietnam, kapag nakakabasa ako kahit ilang pages lang, yakang-yaka ko kapag lakaran. Kayang-kaya mo talaga basta may kapasyahan ka. ‘Yun nga, ‘yung katapangan ay nagmumula sa ating kamulatan, sabi ni Mao.

 

‘YUNG PHYSICAL NA HIRAP, LALO NA ISANG BABAE, PAANO MO NILALAMPASAN?

Syempre dahil nga ano… malaki ako! Hahaha! Talagang hirap na hirap din sa akyatan. Hirap pa ‘yung pack ko. May baril pa ‘ko. Pero dahil nga sa mga kasama, hindi ka naman iiwan n’yan, e. Tutulungan at tutulungan ka. Papasanin ‘yung bag mo kapag hirap ka na talaga. Tutulungan ka nila hanggang sa unti-unti mong malagpasan ‘yung mga kahirapan, ganyan.

Bilang babae… hassle ‘pag tag-ulan. Mahirap din yung hindi makaligo. Tapos duduguin ka pa! Pero unti-unti, makakasanayan din.

Dati nu’ng kampuhan, hindi pa ‘ko hukbo nu’n, gumagawa ako ng sampayan. Pero hindi ako marunong magtali kagaya ng ginagawa ng mga kasama ‘yung hindi lumalaylay. Tapos 30 minutes nang nakasampay sa balikat ‘yung basa kong damit, hindi pa rin ako tapos. Umuulan din nu’n, gusto ko nang magsampay kasi nangangawit na ‘yung braso ko. Paano ba ‘to? Shet ayoko na! Hahaha! Sampayan pa lang ‘yun ha! Pero ngayon napag-aralan ko na, yakang-yaka na! Ilang buwan lang din, marunong na ‘kong gumawa ng sariling tent. Chicken!

Nung pumasok ako, may dala akong wipes (wet tissue paper). Good for yung stay ko lang. Kaso nagdesisyon nga akong magpaiwan na. Habang nauubos ang wipes ko, unti-unti akong natuto gumamit ng dahong pamunas pag nagbawas. Ngayon, alam ko nang ang dahon ng saging ang pinakamalambot na pamunas.

 

ILAN KAYONG BABAE SA YUNIT?

Less than 10? Tapos ilan lang ‘yung may asawa du’n, dalawa. ‘Yung isa may anak na, ‘yung isa wala pa. Pero pagka pati ‘yung kasama sa ibang yunit, mga 20 siguro. Parang pinaliit na platun.
Haluan din. May mga peti-b (petty bourgeois) galing Maynila, meron ding lokal. Maraming galing sa hanay ng kabataan.

 

ALIN PA ‘YUNG MGA KARANASAN MONG SOBRA KANG NAHIRAPAN?

Siguro sa lakaran mismo. Du’n pa ‘ko nag-a-adjust talaga, e. Lalo ‘yung mahirap na lakaran – maputik, maulan, mataas ‘yung putik sa dadaanan mo, tapos may komand pa na hindi pwedeng mag-ilaw kasi nga may kaaway sa paligid. Nu’ng nasa recovery area kami, yung half day paakyat, half day pababa sa bundok. Ang hirap din nu’n.

Du’n ko naranasan na two weeks hirap sa pagkain. ‘Yung galyang ‘yung ulam mo, galyang din ‘yung kanin mo. Ima-mash mo ‘yung galyang tapos ‘yun na rin ‘yung ulam mo. As in wala na talaga. Pati ‘yung pagsasawsawan mo ng galyang ‘yung mamasa-masa nang asin, as in! Sabi ko, ‘ano ba ‘to?’

Meron pa, ‘yung walang-wala na talagang bigas, walang kape, walang asukal. Wala talagang supply. Pinipigilan din ng mga kaaway na may makapasok na supply. Kahit ‘yung pagkain ng mga masa, hindi inaaprubahan. Pinapababa nga nila sa baryo para hindi raw sila makapagdala ng pagkain sa mga NPA.
May mga pagkakataong sampung araw na walang liguan.

Merong maghapon ka na ngang basa, uulanin ka pa. Pero walang bumaba (umalis sa hukbo) nu’ng panahon ng kahirapan na ‘yun.

 

NARANASAN MO NA BANG MAPALABAN? ANO’NG NARAMDAMAN MO?

Nu’ng parehong panahon din na ‘yun, nu’ng wala kaming makain. First time ko nu’n. Hindi naman ako masyadong kinabahan, ganu’n. Kinabahan ako nu’ng unang putok. Akala pa nga ng marami sa’min, kawayan lang na natumba. Pero nu’ng sunod-sunod na, hindi na ‘to kawayan, kaaway na to! Hahaha! Laban na pala ‘yun.

Nu’ng una, dahil nga first time ko makarinig ng putok, hindi ko alam ‘yung gagawin ko. Kinuha ko lang ‘yung pack ko tapos ‘yun, sumunod na ‘ko sa komand. Nahirapan akong kunin ‘yung turod kasi susi nga ‘yun, dahil nga mabigat ako-may pack pa ‘ko, may baril pa, malubak pa.

‘Yun naman, kailangan may presence of mind ka, ganyan.
May ise-share pa ‘ko pero pagkain na naman, e. Hahaha! Dahil du’n sa duration ng walang pagkain, walang supply, ‘yung breakfast namin nu’n ‘yung saging na matigas pa. ‘Yun ‘yung pinang-umagahan namin bago kami napalaban. Tigdadalawang saging ‘yung S4 (supply) namin. ‘Yung saging na ‘yun ‘yung nagbigay lakas para harapin ‘yung kaaway. Dalawang saging ka lang! Hahaha!

Hindi mahirap ‘yung laban pero mahirap ‘yung atras. Lalo na nu’ng may helicopter na. Feeling mo lagi kang nakikita nu’ng helicopter. ‘Hala baka mag-machine gun ‘yan!’ ganyan-ganyan. ‘Yun ‘yung worries naming mga first time napalaban.

Masaya pag nababalikan, nakakatuwa na nalagpasan lahat ng ganu’ng kahirapan.

 

PAANO KUNG TUMATAMA ANG LUNGKOT?

Minsan talaga napupuna ‘ko sa hindi ko pagsasabi ng mga problema ko. Tunganga lang ako, sa duyan lang ako, sa kubol lang ako. Pero sinisikap ko rin sa sarili ko na mag-open up kasi nga mahirap talaga pag may bagahe. Mas mahirap ‘yung bagahe sa isip kesa ‘yung bagahe mo na nakapasan sa likod mo, ‘yung pack mo. Pak!

Totoo naman, di ba? Mas madaling maglakad na malaya ‘yung isip mo. Kahit nga ‘yung wala kang dala, kapag may mabigat kang iniisip, ang hirap maglakad, di ba? Mahirap makalayo, mahirap makarating sa gusto mong puntahan.

 

ANO NAMAN PARA SA’YO ANG PINAKAMASAYANG KARANASAN?

Nu’ng na-witness ko ‘yung mismong pagtatayo ng rebolusyonaryong gobyernong bayan, ‘yung eleksyon ng mga opisyales, ‘yung pagbabalangkas ng plano, ‘yung programa ng isang buong taon, ‘yung kung paano mamamahala sa buong baryo.

Tapos itong kakatapos lang na anti-pyudal na kampanya – kung paano siya nabalangkas na tumurol sa pakikipagdayalogo ng mga magsasaka na naipagtagumpay na mapababa ang porsyento ng mga pautang sa kanila, ganyan.

Sa ngayon, ito rin siguro ‘yung isa sa pinakamasayang inilunsad ng mga hukbo na anti-pyudal na kampanya.

 

ANO’NG NAGING REAKSYON NG PAMILYA MO NU’NG NALAMAN NILANG SUMAPI KA NA SA NPA?

Huling uwi ko nu’ng May, nung eleksyon. Tapos June kami pumasok sa larangan. Mga bandang August, nagpapaalam ako na uuwi na muna pansamantala. Magpapahayag lang ako na magpupultaym na. Hindi ako pinayagan. Bandang November nang sumulat ako sa kanilang naghukbo na ‘ko, walang reply! Hahaha!

Later, nagpaabot sila na uwi raw muna ‘ko. Para raw maalis ‘yung hinala ng mga tao na NPA na ‘ko. Sabi ko, ‘hayaan mo, mapapagod din ‘yan!’

 

NAKADALAW NA SILA SA’YO DITO SA SONA?

Hindi pa. Takot pa sila

 

E, IKAW? NAKADALAW KA NA BA ULI? ANO’NG REAKSYON NILA?

Nitong nakaraan nakauwi ako. Kasama ko ‘yung isang ka-buddy. Naiyak ‘yung nanay ko kasi pumayat daw ako! Tears of joy? Hahaha! Kwento lang ng ka-buddy ko, kinausap daw siya ng nanay ko. “Alam mo,” iyak-iyak daw ‘yung nanay ko, “Bakit, ‘nang?” sabi niya. “Si Rio, ngayon lang pumayat ‘yan!” Tapos tawa nang tawa ‘yung ka-buddy ko habang kinukwento sa’kin, ganyan.

Tapos nu’ng pumunta kami ng palengke, sabi ng nanay ko, “Hala! Mangongotong kayo?” Sabi ko, “Hala! Ganu’n mo ba ‘ko tinitingnan? Grumadweyt ba ‘ko para mangotong lang? Kung talagang mangongotong ako, ‘Ma, magtatrabaho na lang ako! Mas malaki kotong du’n!” Hahaha! Hindi na siya nagsasalita kapag sinasabihan ko nang ganu’n.

 

HINDI SILA NANUMBAT SA’YO? ‘YUNG KARANIWANG SINASABI NA PINAG-ARAL KA PA NILA?

Wala akong narinig na ganu’n. ‘Yung tatay ko, sabi ko, “Pa, gusto ko ng pizza.” Sabi niya, “Magkano ba ‘yung magpatayo ng tindahan ng pizza? Magganu’n ka na lang dito!” Hahaha! Magbenta na lang daw ako ng pizza! Haggard! Alam din ‘yung kahinaan ko, e. Pagkain! Hahaha!

Pero unti-unti, kapag nakikita ng magulang na decisive ‘tsaka determinado tayo sa ginagawa natin, susuportahan naman talaga nila tayo. Na dito nila nakikita na masaya ‘yung anak nila.

 

PAANO KA NILA NGAYON SINUSUPORTAHAN?

Pagkain din! Hahaha! Nagdrama lang ako, sinubukan ko lang manghingi ng grocery. Sabi ni Mama, ‘O sige papadalhan kita.’ E, di sinabi ko ‘yung mga pangangailangan ko. Tapos sabi niya, “Kailan mo raw babayaran ‘yang grocery, sabi ng Papa mo?” Hahaha!

Tawa ‘ko nang tawa kasi hindi na ‘yung pag-uwi ko ang tinatanong ng tatay ko, ‘yung pagbabayad na ng grocery!

Nu’ng umuwi ako, sinamahan pa ‘ko ng nanay at ate ko sa pagbili ng mga gamit pagbalik. ‘Yung ate ko pa ‘yung nag-empake ng gamit ko. Happy! Bawas bagahe.

 

PAANO MO SILA INIHANDA SA GANU’N? MAY CONSCIOUS EFFORT BA PARA IHANDA ‘YUNG MGA MAGULANG?

Wala. Kasi ako nga mismo hindi handa! Hahaha! Surprise sa ating lahat!

Nu’ng hindi pa ako KM, nakapunta na ang mga tibak sa bahay. Du’n sila nag-Christmas. Tanong sa’kin ng nanay ko, “Nak, aktibista ba ‘yang mga kasama mo?” Sabi ko, “Hindi!” Ganu’n ‘yung tanggi ko. E, hindi ko rin alam pa nu’n kung aktibista nga sila. Hindi pa naman ako gaanong mulat kung ano ‘yung aktibista. Pero nu’ng nagra-rally-rally na ‘ko, feeling ko alam na nila.

 

PINAPALIWANAGAN MO SILA NG MGA GINAGAWA MO?

Oo, kinukwento ko sa kanila. Halimbawa ‘yung pakat sa community, ‘yung mining, ‘yung pagsasamantalang malapyudal, mga ganu’n-ganu’n. Tapos mga karanasan ko rin sa eskwelahan.

Naiintindihan naman nila kasi syempre nararamdaman din nila ‘yung hirap. ‘Yung korupsyon mismo ‘yung nakikita nilang rason kung bakit nga naghihirap. Kaya lilinyahan na lang ‘yung kaalaman nila. Papalamnan ko na lang ng anti-imperyalistang linya para wasto ‘yung pagsusuri nila.

 

NAGKUKWENTO KA RIN NG MGA NAGIGING KARANASAN MO RITO SA SONA? ANO’NG REAKSYON NILA?

Oo, nu’ng sumulat ako. Sabi ng mga kasama dito nu’ng pinabasa ko sa kanila, “Hindi naman ‘to sulat, e! ED to, e!”

Reaksyon? E, di mayat! Ok naman. Haha! Pero syempre dahil magulang sila, ang worry lagi nila ay ‘yung security. Sabi ko nga sa kanila, “dito nga nagpapamahagi na kami ng lupa!” Sabi ng Papa ko, “Pero inaanop (hina-hunting) naman kayo ng mga kaaway!” Sabi ko, “Ganu’n talaga kasi sila ‘yung nagkakait ng lupa sa mga magsasaka. Talagang ganu’n ‘yung gagawin nila. E, kami ‘yung nagpapamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka.” Tapos hindi na nakaimik ‘yung tatay ko.

“Basta mag-ingat ka na lang d’yan,” ‘yun lang sagot niya. Tanggap na nila na dito na talaga ako.

 

LABLAYP?

Wala! Hahaha!

May naghapag dati ng program. Tinanggap ko for a time, binigyan ko ng one month pero wala talaga, e. Pero ayoko muna. Paunlad muna, hmmm char!

Syempre, dahil naman ikaw ay kabataan, meron ka ring prospect minsan, nagugustuhan, ganyan. Pero dahil nga ano…. Haayyy… bumaba siya.

 

ANO’NG PAKIRAMDAM MO KAPAG MAY MGA KASAMANG BUMABABA?

Nakakalungkot syempre. May mga naging ka-buddy rin ako na nawala na. Syempre ‘yung layunin na mag-maintain, magparami ng hukbo, magpasampa. Pero ‘yung kasama mo sana sa pagpaparami, sila naman ‘yung umuuwi.

Pero syempre, hindi naman nila iniuwi ‘yung rebolusyon.

 

ANO ‘YUNG PINAKA HINDI MO MAKAKALIMUTANG REGALO, ‘YUNG GALING SA LABAS?

Ano ‘to, slumbook? Hahaha!

Mas natutuwa talaga ako ‘pag may sulat. Pero syempre mas matutuwa pa ‘ko kung may pasalubong na pagkain ‘yung sulat! Hahaha! Palagi kong inaasahan, kapag may galing sa ibang larangan o sa lunsod, lagi kong tinatanong kung may sulat ba. Syempre nami-miss ko sila.

 

ANO’NG MOST LOVED MONG KARANASAN?

Slumbook nga ‘to! Hahaha!

Marami, lalo na dito sa sona. Sabi ko nga sa nanay ko, ‘wag mag-aala dahil marami akong nanay dito na nag-aalaga sa ‘kin.
Meron pa nga ‘yung halimbawa ‘pag nagpa-pack up na, lalakad na kami, feeling ko nagagalit yung masa. Ayaw paalisin ‘yung hukbo, ‘yung ganu’n. Gusto pa nilang mag-stay ‘yung hukbo. Syempre hindi naman pwede dito na lang tayo forever, ganu’n. Gusto pa nating magpalawak, ganyan.

Meron pa ‘yung iba, syempre dalaga ako, ‘yung iba gusto akong manugangin, ‘dito ka na lang.’Tapos meron pa ‘yung isang nanay na nagsabi, “Pag ikakasal ka, dito ka na lang magpakasal, ha. Para malapit lang ako.” Natatawa na lang ako ‘pag nakakarinig ng ganu’n.

Tapos ‘yung mga simpleng mga gamit. Mga gamit na kahit hindi ka humihiling kusa silang nagbibigay. Mga shampoo, mga sabon, kahit bag. Parang mahihiya kang tanggihan kasi nga bigay nila ‘yun. Kunin mo na lang.

Lalo ‘pag mainit ka rin makipag-usap sa kanila, talagang tatatak ka sa kanila. Hindi ka makakalimutan ng masa. Kahit simpleng pagtatrabaho lang sa loob ng bahay. ‘Yung dapat hindi nagtatrabaho ‘yung masa kapag nand’yan ‘yung hukbo. May magluluto, maglilinis, parang ganu’n. Rotation ‘yung mga kasama sa pagtatrabaho. Parang ayaw na nilang paalisin ‘yung mga hukbo.

Tapos ‘yung kahit gaano kalayo at nakakapagod ‘yung lakaran, kapag sinalubong ka nila nang kasing init ng iaalok nilang kape, ‘yun ang pinakamasarap.

 

MAY NARANASAN KA NA BANG NAHIRAPAN KANG MAKITUNGO SA MASA?

Mas sa expansion area, du’n sa ibang probinsya. Kami rin kasi ‘yung nakatoka. Team lang kami. ‘Yung isang sityo, pupulungin tapos bubuuan ng GP (grupong pang-organisa). Dahil nga expansion, tapos dekada nang hindi nakakadalaw ‘yung hukbo doon – mahirap, makunat. Pero dahil assertive tayo tapos hindi napuputol ‘yung pagpapamulat, pagpapataas bakit kailangang itayo ‘yung GP, pumayag din silang itayo ‘yung GP.

Pakikisama. Kasi ‘yung masa nu’n, ‘yung sa pakikisama, mahirap. Parang matigas sila. Parang ayaw magpatayo [ng GP]. Pero dahil may kinikilala silang panglakay(?), pinakamatanda sa sityo, ‘yun ‘yung sinusunod. Syempre du’n ka mag-i-invest ng pamulat. E di pumayag sila na tayuan ng GP.

Kasi isyu sa kanila, tres pesos ‘yung gabi per kilo. Luya, tres pesos. Pero pagdating sa palengke, mahal na. ‘Tsaka ‘yung sa mining area. ‘Yun ‘yung isyu sa kanila nu’n, kaya ayun naman ‘yung ipinaliwanag sa kanila. Kasi punung-puno rin ng isyu sa kanila. ‘Yung pyudal na pagsasamantala tapos ‘yung mining.

 

ANO’NG PINAKAMALAKING NAGBAGO SA’YO NGAYONG NASA HUKBO KA NA?

Pang-miss universe? Pengeng tubig! Hahaha! My pamili…. Hahaha!

Siguro ‘yung… dati mahiyain ako humarap sa mga tao. Pero ngayon, ‘yun ang isang na-breakthrough ko sa sarili ko, ‘yung pagkamahiyain.

Na-strengthen din ‘yung pakikisama at pakikitungo ko sa masa at mga kasama. ‘Yung madali akong makibagay sa kahit anong klaseng tao.

Tapos ‘yung lumawak ‘yung pang-unawa. Dati parang punung-puno ako ng subjectivism. “E bakit ganito? Dapat ganito! Dapat ganito!” Idealism at subjectivism. Ngayon, napag-aralan ko na, at patuloy pa ring pinag-aaralan syempre, na lawakan pa ‘yung pang-unawa. Lalo at ‘yung isang nakatokang gawain sa akin e ‘yung pagpapataas ng morale sa mga kasama. Pagtulong kung paano ang pagresolba sa mga personal nilang problema. Dapat ikaw mismo, ganu’n ka rin sa sarili mo.

Pero syempre, ‘yung pinakaimportante du’n, ‘yung kapasyahan mo na kapag may gusto ka talagang gawin na pagpapaulad sa sarili mo, syempre ibukas mo ‘yung sarili mo sa pag-unlad. Tulungan mo ‘yung sarili mo para umunlad ka. Kaya ‘yung lahat ng gawain, kung gusto mong matutunan, ‘yun ‘yung dapat mong maging aktitud. ‘Yung gusto mo laging may matututunan. ###

Love a Revolutionary, Love the Revolution

in Mainstream
by Trisha Sarmiento

The cold wind, sturdy pine trees and the scenic mountain ranges of the Cordilleras in Northern Luzon set the perfect mood for  the wedding of two guerrilla fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA).  The  ceremony was held March 29, 2017, right after the Cordillera NPA Regional Command, the Chadli Molintas Command, celebrated the NPA’s 48th founding anniversary.

It was everything a wedding should be. The bride held a bouquet and wildflowers adorned the aisle for the bridal march.  There was the exchange of marriage vows and the signing of the marriage contract issued by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The couple also had the NPA’s version of the saber arch, counseling from the members of their collectives, and tips and advice from the wedding sponsors. The much-awaited first kiss of Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy as husband and wife sealed the promise of liberating love.  

 

No ordinary love

Comrade Nancy joined the revolutionary armed movement in May 2014. Ka Guiller was her squad leader.  The attraction between the two slowly developed as they carried out their political tasks in the NPA. They started to know each other really well. Later, Guiller would convince Nancy to become a full-time member of the NPA.  Even when they were assigned to separate units, their attachment to each other grew stronger. Three months later, they found themselves in an “informal” relationship, meaning that their respective units or collectives had yet to approve of their relationship as required by the Party and NPA processes.

As part of NPA discipline, new recruits are dissuaded from entering into a relationship for at least a year to give them time to fully adjust to their tasks in the people’s army. But Guiller and Nancy pursued their relationship despite the restriction and caution from their respective units. This led to conflicts between them and between their units such that they decided to temporarily leave the people’s army.

Both went back to the city, and for more than a year, Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy actively took part in the urban mass movement before they sought the consent of their respective collectives to formalize their relationship. They went through deep-going criticism and self-criticism. While in the urban mass movement, the couple faced more problems and conflicts. However, they managed to overcome these obstacles with the support of their respective groups, but what impelled them more was the love they have nurtured for each other, for the masses and for the revolution.

And so, after one-and-a half years in the urban center and, after undergoing assessment and criticism and self-criticism sessions with their collectives, Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy decided to return to Cordillera to take part in the struggle they both truly love: to serve the revolution as full-time NPA fighters.

Months later, Ka Nancy and Ka Guiller exchanged vows in the presence of the Red fighters, their friends, and the rural masses.

“Marahas ang digma, pero mas marahas ang mga pinag-uugatan nito. Kapasyahan natin ang pagtahak sa landas na ito. Ang ating pagpili ay siyang ating pagtindig. Ang ating pagtindig ay atin ding panata. Panata, hindi lamang sa iyo, mahal, higit lalo sa bayan nating minamahal. Ang mga kabundukan ang ating paraisong tirahan, at sa piling ng minumutyang masa tayo ay napapanday.

Hanggang sa pagkakapatas,

Hanggang sa pagpula ng silangan,

Hanggang sa ganap na tagumpay.

Sa kahuli-hulihan, ikaw ay mananatili,

Ang aking katiwasayan sa gitna ng marahas na digmaan.”

(“War is cruel, but its roots are more violent. It is our choice to take this path. Our choice is our stand. Our stand is our commitment; a commitment, not only for you, my love, but most of all, for the people who we truly love. The mountains are our haven and with the masses, we are tempered.

Through stalemate,

When the east turns red,

To complete victory,

In the end, you remain,

My calm in a violent war.”)

“Nagmahal. Nagwasto. Nagtagumpay.” (We have loved. We have rectified. We have triumphed.).

These words sum up the love story of Guiller and Nancy.

 

Revolutionary love

Like all revolutionary couples, Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy adhere to the CPP  policy on marriage and relationships laid down in  the document “On Proletarian Relationship of Sexes” observed and followed since the 70s. In 1998, the policy was revised to include same-sex relationship and marriage apart from further discussions on  courtship, marriage, divorce, and disciplinary actions. The NPA has its own guidelines based on the principles stated in the Party policy.

Without doubt, revolutionaries, like other individuals, do fall in love.

The difference is that revolutionaries express their love for each other in the context of the revolutionary interests of the people. While there is “sex love,”  there is also “class love”,  and the latter  in fact is considered the principal aspect that defines the essence of their love.  In the service of the revolution  love springs, blooms and grows, hence love relationships cannot but serve and uphold the revolutionary aspirations of the Party and the proletariat. For revolutionaries, love is an integral part and a great expression of their revolutionary commitment.

Revolutionaries maintain the right to freely choose whom to love, but  there are restrictions as well as responsibilities.  “Free love”, “sexual freedom” or anarchy in relationships are strictly prohibited as this can lead to the violation of the rights of others, irresponsibility in the relationship, and breach of organizational discipline.

In short anarchism in love contradicts the revolution’s objective to establish a just society and the real equality of the sexes.  Hence revolutionaries find the rationale behind the guiding principles of the Party  on love, relationship and sex. Such principles draw a line between freedom and discipline, between rights and responsibilities, and between emotions and principles.

These principles aim to secure the interest of the Party and the revolution at all cost, protect the rights of every revolutionary  and other individuals who may be involved, and advance a healthy proletarian relationship between couples inside the revolutionary movement.

 

Love a revolutionary

The dominant kind of love today is just a mere reflection of the existing social order and culture. In a semi-colonial and semi-feudal system, love can be oppressive, patriarchal and decadent in character, vulnerable to abuses and violations of the rights of others.

Revolutionaries know that to liberate love from oppression one must strive harder to revolutionize and liberate the entire unjust society. This is what the love story of Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy has shown.

And they are not alone.  Revolutionary love blossoms in many NPA camps, farms, workplaces, campuses, communities and institutions where the national democratic revolution has taken its roots. Indeed, no love is sweeter and nobler than revolutionizing society in the company of one you truly love and want to share the rest of your life with.  Hence loving a revolutionary is experiencing a kind of love that is selfless and liberating, guided and grounded so that it genuinely serves the people.

Building a Revolutionary Family

in Mainstream
by Pat Gambao

In a society divided into social classes, the family, its smallest unit, is prime and sacred. Its interest and concern, next to self, is foremost.  One’s goal and aspirations are usually directed towards the welfare and good of this small band of people.  One has to depart from convention to realize and embrace the whole society as one’s family.

“In my early days with the New People’s Army (NPA), I felt lonely. I longed for home, for my family.  But comrades were quick to console me and their advice was enlightening and heartening. Likewise, I found solace from my immersion with the masses of Lumad people. I felt they were my family.  Everyone is my brother, my sister, my mother, my father.  I realized that the society I wanted to serve and change is the family in itself,” narrated Ka Roberto.

As Ka Roberto stayed longer in the people’s army, the greater demands of work and the fruitful results of their efforts which benefited the masses left him no time to brood, to long for home.

Home is where Ka Roberto and his siblings were guided during their formative years.  Exposure to the harsh realities of the unjust social structures tempered them in life.

Ka Roberto’s parents were young activists in the 80s, later becoming  full-fledged members of the Communists Party of the Philippines (CPP). They had been emphatic about the many things that need to be done and that time was of the essence.  They made the children understand their hectic schedules and that all the things that they were doing were not necessarily for their own good only, but also for the many downtrodden, as well as for the total liberation of the country; that to succeed in this formidable task, profound commitment, selfless sacrifice and tremendous effort are required.

Like most couples in the movement, Ka Roberto’s parents strove to raise their children according to revolutionary  principles, virtues, and discipline.

The family was accustomed to simple living—simple home, simple food on the table, simple clothes, and simple other needs.  The children were  given their needs, but not everything they fancied. Whatever little luxuries they enjoyed at times came from their grandparents, uncles or aunts who were quite well off.  Their mother referred to their kin as their support system as they were the ones they ran to in times of need.  Through all these, the siblings felt a need to act on something that only dawned on them slowly, persistently, as they were introduced to the circle that their parents  moved in.

Often, the siblings had been brought along to meetings and rallies where the country’s situation was discussed and varied issues and problems were brought up.  Though their young minds could not fully comprehend them, they became familiar with slogans and calls that defined the issues. They mingled and played with children of other activists whom they found out were also familiar with the chants.  Later, the siblings attended workshops with their playmates and friends and learned more. Gradually, they came to understood more—why and how poverty, injustice, and revolution arise.

Their parents’ openness about their activities and the rationale behind these had great impact and influence on Ka Roberto and his siblings.

In grade school, the young Roberto was the typical boy on the go—inquisitive, naughty, and dogged. Together with some classmates, he at times figured in petty brawls that prompted his teachers to call on his parents. In class, he busied himself doodling and drawing. But later, his skills in illustration would come in handy when he himself would lecture on Philippine society and revolution.

In high school, Ka Roberto and his siblings were active in progressive youth organizations.  They became adept at organizing and instruction work.

Never did their parents restrain them from their activism, but continued to give them advice and shared lessons from their own experiences. They also encouraged them to integrate with the peasants in the countryside and the urban workers in the factories.  Exposure to the life and struggles of the poor peasants and workers further kindled the siblings’ revolutionary spirit.  Soon, they too were initiated into the Party.

When Ka Roberto dropped out of school and decided to work full time in the movement, his parents respected his decision, no matter how much they wanted him to finish his studies to enhance his capabilities in fulfilling revolutionary tasks. He gave up the opportunity to enroll at the UP College of Fine Arts and a scholarship in another state university. Upon reaching 18, he opted to join the New People’s Army, convincing his parents that whatever skills were available in school, he could also learn from his work with the masses in the revolution. His parents fully understood him.  In fact, they were elated over his decision, which inspired and made the whole family proud. Everyone felt that every single addition to the people’s army is a valued reinforcement, a multiplier-factor for the growth and strength of the revolution.

Providing deeper insight into his decision, Ka Roberto explained: “I had been with the urban movement for a long time before I decided to join the revolutionary army,   The current situation of the Philippine society and the growing demand of the revolution spurred me to take a new course in my life.  I don’t want to waste my time on trivial things, like engrossing in senseless games and chats on the internet.  I prefer to offer the vigor and sinew of my youth for the revolution.   We are young only once.  I do not want to squander the time of my youth and forever regret it.”

For a moment he was pensive, then shared what had preoccupied his mind. “Have we pondered why the farmers who till the soil and produce the food have nothing to eat?”

In Mindanao, the land of promise, Ka Roberto found his niche among the Lumad people.  He mastered not only their different spoken languages — Visayan, Ilonggo, Mandaya, Bagobo, Manobo — but also their way of life which he imbibed.  For two years now he has been assigned in different guerilla fronts under the Pulang Bagani Battalion (PBB) of the Southern Mindanao Region.

Last year, Ka Roberto got married to his comrade-in-arms.  He is now a proud father to a child who will be raised the way he and his siblings were brought up.  This child and those who will come after him will be nurtured by—and, in turn,  will manifest selfless love for—the revolution and the masses.

Nothing but Change

in Mainstream
by Vida Gracias

I wanted to give him a face, but this once university-educated youth who turned NPA guerrilla would rather live in anonymity. He is known simply to his comrades and the masses in the barrios as Ka Carlo.

By his looks and sun-baked skin he would appear to anyone as ordinary masa.  But, when he started to talk I knew he was no ordinary fighter. What struck me was not so much his background (as more and more university students to this day—yes, under the Duterte regime–go up the hills to fight) but how he articulated his thoughts about the current regime.

The day I met him he was wearing his standard faded jacket and a cap, his M-16 rifle slung on his side. His rain boots were caked with mud. Probably in his forties, after two decades of guerilla struggle he had seen a dozen battles, sometimes on the offense, sometimes on the defense. A bullet had torn his flesh and hit a bone and took him a year to recover.  But he never waivered, he went back to the hills, and now sat on a ridge in chilly weather overlooking the vastness of the Cordillera mountains, talking about the armed struggle and the Duterte regime.

He said he had his doubts  over the election of a president who claimed to be socialist and leftist. But he recognized that Duterte’s rise to power was phenomenal and rode on tremendous popular support. But he has battled too many regimes to believe everything said about the new president.

Ka Carlo was willing to give Duterte the  benefit of the doubt and see what promises are fulfilled. “It is just Duterte,” he remarked, “and he is lording over a reactionary regime.” How Duterte could make true his promise of change remained a mystery to him.  Especially when in the following days Duterte would flip-flop on his statements, run aground with his own words, and rant about anti-people and anti-poor programs from “tokhang” to demolitions to bombing New People’s Army (NPA) territories. Definitely, Ka Carlo made it clear he would settle for nothing less than a change in the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system that brought widespread poverty, injustice and plunder in the country.

So there would be no laying down of arms, he said firmly. There maybe times the guns were silenced, he said, just like in a ceasefire, but “you cannot trust the military.”  In previous ceasefires, he explained, state troopers would take advantage of the situation and arrest comrades who were visiting their families. Most of the NPA guerrillas are farmers whose families live in the barrios.

Ka Carlo’s words rang true when the unilateral ceasefires both by the revolutionary left and the Duterte regime were withdrawn and President Duterte “cancelled” the peace talks arbitrarily and ordered the arrest of consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) who had been freed on bail by the courts. The NPA charged the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that during its own ceasefire had launched counter-insurgency campaigns in no less than 500 barangays within the areas of the revolutionary forces and killed activists and suspected NPA fighters. Also, President Duterte continued to hold off the release of all political prisoners that he had promised to do,  through general amnesty, in the early days of his regime. The NDFP has emphasized that releasing the political prisoners would be in compliance by the GRP with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

The AFP countered with a “total war” against the NPA, a boast that rang hollow as the AFP had always threatened to do the same thing in the past—yet the NPA has survived over four decades of counterinsurgency campaigns. The AFP raised a lot of complaints and accusations over the killing and arrest of soldiers by the NPA but it kept silent over its own atrocities and violations of human rights against those they deemed enemies of the state.

Thus the fighting could definitely continue until reciprocal unilateral ceasefires were to be declared before resuming the peace negotiations in the first week of April. “You cannot leave the masses defenseless, even when there are peace talks,” Ka Carlo stressed. The ceasefires would remain interim or temporary for as long there is no resolution to the armed conflict. No bilateral ceasefire agreement could be forged during the peace negotiation that would only lead to the surrender or pacification of the armed movement. The negotiation could proceed but the matter of attaining just and lasting peace would ultimately hinge on the strength of the revolutionary forces on the battlefield as well as their mass support.

I stared at Ka Carlo’s battle scars and counted the years he had been fighting.  The Duterte regime, I concluded, would be up against fighters with such deep resolve for change that nothing can draw them away from battle except genuine change itself.

 

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