Tuesday, April 20, 2010

War-torn Philippines, the first Vietnam

This is a bit dated, but Nam and Geo spit the gift on this one from Nam's album Exhale. Check out Geo's verse at 1:22. His analysis of Filipinos sa U.S. and their displacement never forgets the moment of U.S. occupation (rather than reiterating a liberal immigrant tale). The reference to The Cry and Dedication Carlos Bulosan's unfinished novel on the leftist peasant movement in the Philippines, speaks to the radical vision of Filipino diasporic sensibilities and counters the American assimilationist narrative that many people read in Bulosan's more famous book America is in the Heart. It seems that Geo is mindful of genocide and violence as structuring the contours of a Filipino diaspora (and of course the beauty in struggle associated with this).

The ending reference to the Philippines as the "first Vietnam" raises important questions about why military occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan are called the "second Vietnam" and not the "third Philippines." This is the violence of historical erasure. "Beats, Rhymes, and Rice" illuminates an otherwise veiled condition.

This song is more than rice. It is the meat in the meal of knowledge.

Nam feat. Geologic, "Beats, Rhymes, and Rice" (2008)

[Geo's first verse at 1:22]

The reason that they killed
Made the reason we arrived
Left the bodies on the field
We the children of survivors
Fam with severed ties
Our plans been set aside
The Cry and Dedication
Our hands will never die
I stand side by side
With the riders of all shades
Heart beats to tropical soil
And shallow graves
The pale called us slaves
And complained
Upon the moment we came
To take back what was stolen
Way back in the day
Until the present
The yellow, brown descendents
Of peasants who held weapons
To defend our essence
So check the work ethic
In the author who writes
One generation removed
From harvesting rice
I stay up nights
Composing my raps
And moms still call the place home
Though she knows
We can never go back
And so I make balikbayan
through song
War-torn Philippines
The first Vietnam


No comments: