Language struggle, 1




(Note: Below is an exchange between Eman Lerona and this blogger. Eman was reacting to my previous reaction to another language advocate, Remy Melendez. Both Eman and Remy know well whereof they speak in this vicious cycle we call neocolonization-decolonization-neocolonization that continues to blight out lives as peoples of the Philippines.)


Dear Eman,

You know well how difficult this struggle is, and your letter is a salve in this long and desolate and oftentimes lonely road ahead all of us, we who understand a little bit better about what we should do as non-Tagalog peoples.

It is not people here that we are against: it is the hemlock in the ideas of the Tagalist mind and mindset, the hemlock of ‘nationalized’ language that they force us to drink, as if we ourselves do not have our own drink, much better, much fresher, much more refreshing than somebody else’s offer.

You remember that faint and vague claim of that guy somewhere: ‘nagparaya’ is his word, a Tagalog term which he passes off as Filipino, his own definition.

 That term—nagparaya, as in ‘pagpaparaya ng Tagalog’—alludes to the sacrifice of Christ: Tagalog offering itself for all the peoples of the Philippines!


 That, to me, is pathologic of a complex which, if our resident psychiatrist and mental health workers are reading this piece, they would call as ‘messianic’.

 Heck, they say over here: we do not need a redeemer outside of ourselves.

 We only need each other, we non-Tagalog peoples—and with each other and because of each other, we can deliver ourselves from the clutches of linguistic death.

 Best to you with the anito. 

 Aurelio Agcaoili

Nakem Conferences 


On Sat, 11/15/08, Emmanuel Lerona <removed@yahoo. com> wrote:

From: Emmanuel Lerona <removed@yahoo. com

Subject: [The DILFED Forum]

Re: It is not the name, it is the struggle

To: removed@yahoogroups. com

Date: Saturday, November 15, 2008, 1:55 AM

Let me be the first to congratulate you for this little 
victory, Prof.

I am only one of the 90 million or so persons in
 Philippines, but who knows how many “ones” are in
 support of you—our advocacy? Panginbulahan halin sa mga Ilonggo kag
Karay-a kang Panay.

Eman Lerona

In (removed)@yahoogroups. com, Aurelio Agcaoili


Remy, aloha:

I understand, and you are right.

But to spend my day stooping down to his intellect, forget it, not in that way. 

I will keep on writing, as I have always done, but not because of
 them and their poison. 

I am going to continue to stand for our rights as
peoples of the homeland. I have not stopped doing so. 

My blogs are a proof of this position, and you can go figure how, like everyone else at DILFED and DILA and SOLFED and other
 groups, I
 have been a threat to this people, a threat to their false security of
 a statist nationalism and statist language. 

Let me tell you that I write in their language too,
 and use their language to hit the head of the nail.

On a last note, please help me go on with this struggle.

In the meantime, I am bringing this struggle in the
arena, my modest way of alerting kindred spirits, in this
kind of
 oppression that we have begun to like, or at least, some of
 supposedly better intellectuals of the non-Tagalog cultures

You see them around, and they are many of them as well.

You can see in this paper I will present at the First
International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation in
March 2009,
the abstract of which is found below–to illustrate my
commitment to
this struggle.

To win a slot in a conference like is a little victory enough for me, with an international audience that I hope will rise up to the occasion of seeing that in the Philippines all is
not well,
that, in fact, many things are wrong including this
Tagalogism that is killing our sense of self, sense of
 being, sense of becoming, and sense of community.

What more does the enemy want to liquidate–systematically salvage–all of us? 

I am becoming a pariah, I must say. 

But let it be. You check on my blogs where these
positions have
 consistently been on a critique of the patriarchy of
asagcaoili-ariel. blogspot. com,
aurelioagcaoili.wordpress. com, and
 nakemconferences. blogspot. com. 

To plug: my winning essays in Tagalog, at the
Collantes Prize for the Tagalog Essay, (2006, 2008) are a rebuke of the
position of
Anonuevo and his ilk. These essays are publicly available.

So I write
in Tagalog to rebuke Tagalogism. You can say this: use the
 weapon of the enemy to destroy him. 

In the meantime, let us not allow ourselves to be
divided by this
powerful group of patriarchs of the ‘nationalized’

I tell you: it is not going to be a walk in the park,
not in the
coming years.

So there: our endurance, our perseverance,
 our sense of
justice–all these will lead us to our redemption.

Or so I hope.

In a modest way, Nakem Conferences is our proactive
response to all
these legal oppression of–who is this guy 
position of convenience and comfort.
Be well.



By Aurelio S. Agcaoili

University of Hawai’i

The paper documents and critiques the initiatives of
advocates of
many minoritized and peripheralized Philippines languages to revitalize and conserve them and draw up from these
theoretical and practical issues that must be addressed by
advocacy groups and by social institutions mandated to
produce and
reproduce what could be deemed as a just and fair because
national and nationalized culture in the Philippines. The
initiatives of advocates of ‘Other because
othered’ Philippine languages have a history that dates back to the imposition from the
center of a counter-productive conception of
 ‘nation’ and ‘nationalism’ from the center that
prescribed—and continues to prescribe—a national language from the center at the expense
of the ‘other’ languages and without regard
for the rich diversity
of these languages of the country. The public perception of
systematic because
nationwide internal colonization by way of
 ‘Tagalogization’ of
the public sphere that includes the wiping up of other indigenous and community languages in basic education and in national
grounds these advocacy efforts to contest the
Tagalogization of all
peoples of the Philippines and to actively negotiate a
space for a new
conception of nation and nationalism framed by the virtues
of cultural
and linguistic pluralism. The theoretical and practical
 problems of
revitalization and conservation of minoritized and
Philippine languages results as well from the two-pronged
 means and
 methods to the systemic and systematic marginalization of
languages because of the privileging and entitlement
accorded to
 Tagalog and English. The privileging and entitlement cut
across the
 political, the economic, and the cultural. With the
migration of Filipinos everywhere including the United
States, these
problems are being
brought over and reproduced in and among the
diasporic and exilic
 communities of Filipinos. This is the reason why there is
the need to
revisit initiatives, in the Philippines and in the United
States, to
re-conceptualize policy and pedagogical approaches to
language teaching particularly in communities where there
is a heavy
influx of immigrant Filipinos from various ethnolinguistic
groups in
the Philippines. The discussion and analysis is framed by
the urgency
of fundamental respect for cultural democracy and
linguistic rights. 

On Fri, 11/14/08, remymelendez
 (removed)@ …wrote:

From: remymelendez

Subject: [The DILFED Forum] Re: Anonuevo’s

To: (removed)@yahoogroups. com

Date: Friday, November 14, 2008, 9:57 PM


Mr. Agcaoili,

Anonuevo must be refuted. It’s not that he reserves a
response but
what he stands for must be deconstructed. He must
be made
understand that he cannot make statements like
this and not
get criticized for them.

Anonuevo is not just any
He and
Almario as I write this post are busy organizing and
poisoning the
minds of young students.

They are preparing a
whole generation of
Tagalistas fanatical and determined like
themselves to take over when
they are too old to do their dirty work for

These people
are organized, they have a strategy, and have the
know how
  to successfully bring fruition to their plans.

I have always
said if
language activism has to succeed, it must go into the real
After all, Almario and Anonuevo have succeeded
because they are out
there not in here.

 Remy Melendez


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