As The Bamboos Sway: The Christian making of Kabataang Makabayan

By RUDY D. LIPORADA
www.nordis.net

Since last week, I had been mulling on how to write about the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) which celebrates its 53rd founding anniversary this November 30. Everything positive about it from the progressives’ point of view and the negatives from those against the organization appeared to have been written in varying tones. My article gelled in my mind this morning at church when our stake president harped on Matthew 22:36-40. As he went on with the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke10:25-37, my mind flew to former KM member, Jennifer “Jingjing” Cariño, who died in the mountains for her revolutionary beliefs; and to Pope Francis who said, “If anything, it is the communists who think like Christians.”

Before entering the University of the Philippines in Baguio City and becoming involved with the KM, Jingjing wanted to become a nun “to help the poor.” Being “very young” at that time, the mother superior advised that she should be out of the nunnery first and when truly convinced with the vocation, she could always come back. In her wanting “to serve the people,” however, Jingjing got involved with the KM, eventually fighting with the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Cordilleras.

It appears that Jingjing offered her ultimate sacrifice following the tenets imbued in Matthew 22:36-40. In the passage, one asked Jesus “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Luke 10:29-37, an expert in law asked Jesus “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus proceeded to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’”

After the parable, Jesus asked the expert “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

In more likelihood, Jesus was actual pro-poor and called to action to serve them. In his corporal works of mercy, who does one feed and clothe if not the poor? Who does one have to visit in prison if not those incarcerated by the ruling class? More than likely Jesus was charged with sedition for he was against the Pharisees (synonym for the ruling class of the present times) and crucified as a rebel for only rebels were crucified during the Roman times.

Even Apostle St. Peter, the first pope of the Catholic Church, was crucified upside down.

And now, current Pope Francis is figuratively being crucified for his apparent left leaning views. In a recent interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, he was asked if his pursuit and support for a more egalitarian society meant he envisioned a “Marxist type of society.”

The pontiff’s response: “If anything, it is the communists who think like Christians.”

The KM has been branded as communist. By the pontiff’s response, Jingjing is, wanting to become a nun is a Christian who joined the KM and, in principle, a Christian Communist.

Now, not all KM members may profess to be Christians but most, if not all, had and still believe that they are standing for the poor in the struggle against an oppressive system benefitting only a few in Philippine society. Like the Christian faith that had grown over the centuries, the KM movement, if there is an underlying Christian principle in their endeavor, had been fanning out all over the Philippines since its founding day.

Reason: the fate of the vast majority of poor Filipinos must be addressed and given a solution to.

Founding KM Chairman Jose Maria Sison has this to say: “In 1964 during the founding Congress, there were about 80 delegates representing some 300 members from the ranks of students, young professionals (mostly teachers), workers and peasants. The membership started to rise as early as early as 1965 due to the mass campaigns against US imperialism in the Philippines, against the US war of aggression in Vietnam and major local issues.

The KM grew even bigger and spread nationwide due to national congresses and conferences and KM leadership to student strikes against oppressive and exploitative school administrations. The biggest leap in membership started in 1969 against the Marcos dictatorship and martial law threat, boomed in the first quarter storm of 1970 and extended to the eve of the 1972 declaration of ML. By then, KM membership had reached 15,000 with thousands of advanced activists trained in schools of national democracy nationwide and with capability to mobilize rallies of 50k to 100k and thousands in provincial capitals and cities on a nationwide scale. After martial law declaration, KM went underground and adopted the role of Communist Youth League, training school for CPP cadres and reserve force of the NPA.”

And the principle of “Serving the People” per Christ’s mandate and Pope Francis’s imprimatur is continuing to be stronger in the Islands. # nordis.net

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