One of my pet peeves is the use of random photographs of American-American soldiers, some dating from the American Civil War, labelled as “David Fagen”. They appear on most Facebook posts about one of the few Buffalo Soldiers to desert to Philippine Republican forces during the Philippine-American War.
Buffalo soldiers served creditably in the American Civil War, the Apache Wars, Cuba, Mexico, and the Philippines, in both the Philippine-American and World War Two.
In the Philippine-American War not a single Buffalo soldier was implicated in committing atrocities despite serving in hot-spots like Samar. That is not to say they were perfect, one Buffalo soldier cut off the arm of a Filipina so he could take her bracelet, but in general their behaviour was exemplary.
Most saw their service as a way of demonstrating that they were Americans, despite the shoddy treatment handed out to them in their home country.
So, taking a random anonymized photograph and mislabelling it as someone else deprives the man pictured of his identity, his honour, his courage, his existence.
None of the photographs supposedly depicting him were identified as such contemporaneously with one exception, the sketch given above, from the Salt Lake City Herald of 30 October 1900, which may be derived from a photograph of him in civilian attire. The article is based on interviews with those who knew him, both civilians and military and gives a fascinating insight into the character of David Fagen.
(Part of an occasional series on US diplomats and their relationships with the Philippines)
Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino’s death on 21 August 1983 on the apron of what is now the airport named after him, lit the fuse to the overthrow of the notoriously corrupt dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986. It led to the presidency of Corazon Aquino, and the controversial incumbency of Rodrigo Duterte, son of Ferdinand Marco’s former executive secretary, whose mother was a bitter opponent of Marcos.
The striking of the match that lit the fuse may have come as early as 1972 when Marcos made a strategic error – he arrested Ninoy Aquino.
Ambassador Frank E. Maestrone, who died in 2007, served as US Consular Officer from 1971 and was interviewed by the late Hank Zivetz for the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project, in 1989. He had a front-row seat.
He gives us a sense of the complexities underlying the road to Martial Law – violence on the streets, a weak central government unable to bring provincial war-lords to heel.
Among the surprises, perhaps, is that Ninoy Aquino would have supported Martial Law as a temporary measure. However, Marcos’s first step was to arrest the opposition, eliminating the moderate opposition entirely, which strengthened the Communist insurgency and leading to a quintupling of recruitment into the NPA.
Maestrone’s interview is given here without comment.
Just got news that Hang The Dogs: The True Tragic History of the Balangiga Massacre has completed its reprinting today, exactly 119 years to the day when Co. C US 9th Infantry arrived offshore at Balangiga, Samar.
This is one of the books that helped return the bells of Balangiga!
Few news outlets in the Philippines have a science correspondent, none of those who do have one have given tasked their science correspondent to write about the claims. Hence most press references simply rehash Escosa’s press release. This includes opinion columnists, the result being little push-back on the fraud.
This desert of scientific illiteracy in print, broadcast, and online media does have a couple of oases of actual journalism. Filipino writer Alan C Robles debunked the scam in the South China Morning Post in an article called Science Fiction ,while the Manila Times took apart an article in Business week in 2013 asking Did Businessweek fall for a 30-year-old hoax? By 2017, however, Manila Times had forgotten that deuterium deposits are a fraud and published: “Scientists and experts believe the region is rich in gas and deuterium deposits”. No expert nor scientist believes in deuterium deposits. By then the scammers had moved their fictional shiny object of desire from the bottom of the Philippine Trench to the far shallower waters of Benham Rise/Philippine Rise, well within the capacity of existing technology to exploit, so no more excuses.