Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My Anthea

my eldest, Thea, had a call from a classmate and a friend the other night. apparently, this friend wanted her to do a long homework for her, as we had Internet access and the friend did not.

i overheard Thea speaking to her gently but firmly on the phone to check out other sources instead (like books, duh) or ask her older siblings or parents about it, or even come to the house to use our pc and net connection. apparently, the friend insisted that Thea does it for her, putting on peer pressure. and Thea said, "no, sorry."

the friend even had the gall to ask her why.

and all Thea said was, "because i am not like that."

and then she hung up.

: )

Friday, November 25, 2005

Soul Food

i just came in from a colleague's book launch. this is his first book of poetry published.

my classes ended at 3pm but the book launch was at 5pm yet and i had to take the two older kids home. as what usually happens, when i've arrived home i don't want to go out anymore, and i was almost tempted to do this for the book launch.

but then i remembered my own first book launch two years ago and how much it meant to me to see likeminded friends who share my love for literature be there for me too, and i didn't want this colleague to feel any less than he should on his first book launch.

then, too, i figured that this was a good way to learn more about my craft; i thought the stories i submitted to NCCA and PBBY were already very good, and that if there's something to improve, it would be craftwise. so i decided to go back to school at quarter to five this afternoon to learn more about my craft anyway.

i am glad i did.

the poetry reading parts of the programme did it for me.

as soon as the readers started, i closed my eyes and just listened to the words call out to me, flow over me, no matter if the readers were inexperienced and awkward at some parts. for some brief but precious seconds, time stopped for me, as the words and i made love.... in some parts i got teary eyed, in other parts i embraced my self in recognition and joy. it must have lasted for some five to ten minutes but it felt like forever to me.

when i opened my eyes, i saw this guy to my right looking at me amusedly so i just humored him and smiled. he doesnt know the ecstasies ive just been to. : )

i am soooo much better now. yes, im still walking around sniffling and feverish and with a throbbing headache from this flu ive been carrying around for almost four days already, but in those timeless five to ten minutes, my blues were gone!

what a fine way to end the week, and an even finer way to start a full 11 days of no work (!) in the middle of Prelims, just because our university is hosting the 23rd SEA Games too!

thank God for literature. thank God for soul food.

Email to Me, for 2025

i just sent this email to my self via Forbes' Email Time Capsule... anything to get out of this funk i'm in. : (

Hello, Jeanette at 57!

How are you today? How are the kids? Thea should be 32 by now, Paolo, 27, and Bea, 25. You should be finally free to live your own life again now, without the little ones tugging at your skirt. : ) Do you like it? Do you like your life even better now?

How have you become? Have you become just older, wisened but broken, bowed, defeated by life's simply happening? Or are you the woman I envision you to be-- a better, finer, wiser, kinder, gentler, sassier, sexier version of me right now? : ) Somebody with even more grace and fire, having hurdled life's challenges gracefully, with spunk, fun and spirit.

I hope to God you are in a much better place and have become a much better person than who I am right now.

My life is good now, having just resigned from the IDS Chair (still remember that?) and having gotten my annulment last June. I'm going for our dreams now, crafting and building our life one stitch, one block at a time.

But RIGHT NOW (as in RIGHT NOW, Nov. 25, 2005; 1:56 a.m.), I am just recovering from a really bad case of the flu and I've been feeling so down and low lately, as if our life is not amounting to much and I am nobody to anybody at all.

NCCA and PBBY haven't responded to my entries; even a courtesy rejection letter would be appreciated. J is perfect, but oh so far away and cannot yet be ours. A nice man from far away who's been courting for months and who's supposed to be here in Bacolod now has suddenly become mum and unheard from, even...

From the biggest dreams and desires of our heart to the littlest pleasant curiosities-- I feel like I am being blocked in some way. My dreams for you and I are there, I can see them, and yet, they are out of reach.

Our horoscopes say it's just Mercury and Saturn retrogade. I think it is, too. Because we're not normally in this kind of funk; and even if we were, we're not normally this vulnerable, are we?

One good thing, though: this downtime has forced me to do some soulsearching, and a lot of handwriting and visioning and planning on my journal again (no, not the blogs). I discovered, to my pleasant surprise, that the coming year will be the starting year when we can finally pay off the last of our debts from the marriage, and generate savings from all my income streams so far, at last.

I call 2006 our Year of Surplus. : ) Isn't that great, to be out of survival mode at last, and to be rolling on one's way to one's dreams again? : )

How are you at 57, Jeanette?

Have you become the internationally-known, bestselling, and well-loved author that I've always dreamed for us to be? : )

Is J still with you; are you together now? : ) : ) He is soooo good to us, sooo good for us, isn't he?

How are all the worldwide travels? Have you done your stint with the UN or UNESCO yet, or have they ceased to exist, because the world where you are now has become a happier, more peaceful place at last? : ) : ) : )

Do tell me, tell me, Jeanette at 57. I need the hope of you in a better, nicer, much happier place to comfort me right now. I need the hope of us triumphing over life's struggles... and even life's blahs.

Please tell me, Jeanette at 57. I will stay open, and look out for your signs.

Until then, keep well, and many blessings!

Your former me,
Jeanette at 37

Monday, November 21, 2005

Is the "War on Terror" a Just War?

i rarely wax political, but this is what i've been busy with for the past few weeks now, my MA studies in Conflict and Reconciliation. 'thought to share a paper i recently did here, as it's an issue that actually goes beyond political and challenges the very foundations of how we live today--

The War on Terror/Terrorism

International terrorism has long existed before Sept. 11, 2001, and has, in fact, been documented by the U. S. Department of Defense since the beginning of the 1960s (U.S. Army, 09/09/04), but the scale and impact of Sept. 11, 2001 has prompted the U.S. Government, through its President, George W. Bush, Jr., to officially declare a “War on Terror” after the attack.

With the mastermind and financier of the Sept. 11 attack identified as Usama Bin Ladin and his al Queda group of Islamic extremists, the U.S. launched an attack on Afghanistan, believed to be the hideout of Bin Ladin, on Oct. 7, 2001 (9/11 Commission Report Executive Summary, 07/04). A year later, the ruling Taliban government of Afghanistan has been toppled and replaced by the U.S.- supported Northern Alliance, but Bin Ladin hasn’t been caught.

A year after Sept. 11, President Bush, with the support of U. K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, pushed for a pre-emptive war against Iraq, on the grounds of suspicion that Iraq was heavily building up weapons of mass destruction, and that if not stopped pre-emptively, could hand over these weapons of mass destruction to Bin Ladin and his terrorist group (Falk, 09/27/02). Today, Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, is in jail, a U.S.-supported government is in place in Iraq, but Bin Ladin still hasn’t been found or caught.

The U.S. Defense Department reports that it has foiled many other terrorist attacks since then, because of the joint cooperation of nations in sharing intelligence information across borders. It says that this international cooperation has led to the hundreds of arrests in more than 50 countries and the detaining of around 1,100 people in the U.S., mostly of Middle Eastern origins, for immigration offenses. (BBC News, 03/04/03).

Meanwhile, issues of concern arise, which mainly spring from President Bush’s using the state of war to justify the introduction of new legislation that widens his power and strengthens law enforcement, which includes, among many—the creation of military tribunals to try suspected terrorists who are not U.S. citizens, the expansion of powers of law enforcement agencies to detain people without trial on immigration violations or on grounds that they may be material witnesses in terrorism trials, and the tightening on the release of information to the public on ongoing investigations. It also includes the power to indefinitely imprison alleged Taliban and al Qaeda fighters at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, especially those who have never taken up arms against the United States. Detainees seized in Britain, Bosnia and Zambia are among those indefinitely imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, at present (Leonnig, 12/02/04).

There is no deadline on the “War on Terror” and its boundaries are unlimited. President Bush has explicitly announced that his war on terrorism will not end until "every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated". (BBC News, op. cit.)

The Just War Theory

The Just War Theory evolved from the recognition that although there are ideal values to uphold, the realities of the real world as it is have to be contended with, too, and that there are times when it might be necessary to resort to violence to defend or pursue that which is good and valued. The thirteenth-century theologian, Thomas Aquinas, developed and refined the theory, by laying down three conditions for waging war:

1. that the decision to wage war should be made by a legitimate authority;

2. that war should be waged for a just cause; and

3. that combatants should resort to war with right intention, for the purpose of achieving peace and justice, not revenge.

Later on, other considerations were added by other scholars:

4. that the evils of war should be proportionate to the injustice to be prevented or remedied by war;

5. that the resort to war should be a last resort; and

6. there must be a reasonable hope of success. (Rigby, Coventry University)


In the light of the foregoing discussion on The War on Terror and the Just War Theory, let us examine whether the Just War Theory is relevant to justify the War on Terror:

1. The decision to wage war should be made by a legitimate authority. According to U.S. and international laws, the decision to wage war must be ratified by Congress.

The attack on Afghanistan appears to be a military sanction authorized by the U. S. President, allegedly to flush out Bin Ladin, but with the effect of toppling the Taliban and installing the Northern Alliance, without finding or capturing Bin Ladin. No Congress resolution can be found on the net authorizing the attack on Afghanistan, but then, this was a time when the “War on Terror” was not publicly bandied about yet.

The attack on Iraq was officially authorized by the U. S. Congress (Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, 10/10/02), albeit after much debate both in and out of Congress. There is even debate now on what, exactly, the U.S. Congress specifically authorized, as the resolution appears couched in vague and inaccurate terms. For example, the October 2002 joint resolution authorized the use of force in Iraq, but it did not directly mention the removal of Hussein from power. (Milbank and Pincus, 11/12/2005)

2. The war should be waged for a just cause. According to Falk (8/27/02), in international law, a "just cause" for war can only be made under the following conditions--

To go legitimately to war in the world that currently exists can be based on three types of considerations: international law (self-defense as set forth in article 51, backed by a UN mandate as in the Gulf War), international morality (humanitarian intervention to prevent genocide or ethnic cleansing; i wonder now why the U.S. or any other super power didn't take advantage of this to wage war on the perpetrators of the genocide in Rwanda in the mid-90s, the genocide that killed around 800,000 people in just 3 months!), and necessity (the survival and fundamental interests of a state are genuinely threatened and not really covered by international law, as arguably justified the Afghanistan War).

Still according to Falk, too,--

With respect to Iraq, there is no pretense that international law supports such a war and little claim that the brutality of the Iraqi regime creates a foundation for humanitarian intervention. The Administration argument for war rests on necessity, the alleged risk posed by Iraqi acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, and the prospect that such weapons would be made available to al Qaeda for future use against the United States.

Therefore, President Bush’s “just cause” for The War on Terror, is, at best, dubious, essentially based on scanty proof (Falk, 9/27/02) that indeed, weapons of mass destruction exist in Iraq and that they will be used on the United States soon or late.

3. Combatants should resort to war with right intention, for the purpose of achieving peace and justice, not revenge.

This is still open to a lot of debate. What is right intention? What is the concept of peace and justice for the U. S., and what is it for Iraq? Is forcibly waging war on a country already economically and socially ravaged by more than ten years of U. N. punitive sanctions, on mere suspicion that it might contain weapons to attack you someday, just? Will that lead to peace? What kind of peace?

4. The evils of war should be proportionate to the injustice to be prevented or remedied by war.

Has the U.S. Congress even stopped to cautiously weigh this? Has it considered the human, social, cultural and economic costs of war in Iraq (not to mention Afghanistan) against the foreseen advantages of finding out if indeed, there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and if so, annihilating these weapons? What about the weapons of mass destruction presumably developed and stored elsewhere in the world, including the U.S.? Will not that, and the costs of war in Iraq, still cancel any foreseen advantages from destroying those in Iraq?

5. The resort to war should be a last resort.

It appears now, that the move to declare war on Iraq was hasty, and, on hindsight, even unjustified (because there were no substantial enough weapons of mass destruction found). The twin methods of deterrence and containment, which worked so well to contain a former super power like Russia, has not even been fully maximized with a small country like Iraq, which has already been ravaged by a decade of U.N. economic punitive sanctions, even.

6. There must be a reasonable hope of success.

Obviously, on hindsight, the war on Iraq was successful in the sense that it was able to topple Saddam Hussein when the U.S. only sought to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction, which it never was able to accomplish, as it did not find any.

However, the War on Terror still continues, apparently, because of President’s Bush’s pronouncements and what is actually happening in anti-terrorist operations all over the world.


The Just War Theory is still as relevant today in evaluating whether The War on Terror justifies itself, because it still springs from the same dilemma faced today—the tension between universal and global humane ideals and the demands of real global situations.

Examining The War on Terror against the light of the criteria of The Just War Theory, in fact, serves to illuminate the fact that The War on Terror is not a just war at all, and that its employed means dramatically highlight and make suspect its avowed ends of “ending terrorism all over the world” to achieve global peace, presumably. It points to other, more selfish suspicious ends, like global dominance at the cost of true peace and justice, instead.

The War on Terror has, in fact, not only been examined under the constraints of The Just War Theory in this paper, but even the constraints of international laws, and it fails both sets of criteria in more ways than it satisfies them.


MA-CRS 2005-06 Course Pack CD

Falk, Richard. “War on Iraq – Not The President’s Decision”. Sept. 27, 2002. (refer also to: articles)

___________. “Impending Constitutional Crisis: The Rush to War”. August 27, 2002. ( refer also to: articles)

Rigby, Andrew. “Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Justice”. Coventry University.

Internet Sources

“Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq”. Oct. 2, 2002.

9/11 Commission Report. Nov. 20, 2005. America’s War Against Terrorism. July 22, 2004. University of Michigan Documents Center.

BBC News. Nov. 20, 2005. “Investigating al-Qaeda: An Overview”. March 4, 2003.

Leonnig, Carol D. Nov. 20, 2005. “Judge Questions Sweep of Bush’s War on Terrorism”, Dec. 2, 2004.

Milbank, Dana and Pincus, Walter. Nov. 20, 2005. “Asterisks Dot White House’s Iraq Agreement”. Nov. 12, 2005.

U.S. Army. Nov. 20, 2005. “Timeline of Terrorism”. Sept. 9, 2004.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Birthday, Blog

around this time last year-- well, five days ago, to be exact, this time last year-- i started blogging, and i started with this blog.

i look at my entries then, and i remember things id rather choose to forget, even as i also remember things i never even knew i wrote or happened.

i see me, still with the same openness (too open, sometimes, to the point of indiscrimination) and candor (too candid, even, to the point of bluntness)... and at some parts i cringe at who i was then, what i've written, while at other parts i smile and shake my head in amusement.

what i most sense between then and now though... is the change in tone. there seems to be less coarseness, less roughness, less bleeding over, less pain, in how i write now, than how i wrote a year ago. there's also less bravado, more depth and insight; less showing off and bragging, more discretion and tasteful honesty. like ive moved from being Sally Jesse Raphael or Roseann Barr to Oprah. teehee.

a year ago, too, i only had this blog; now there's four (make that five, if we include my Friendster blog, which is actually just an echo of any of the other four, at any one time)! these offspring of blogs seemed to naturally gestate, be born and grow even as i gestated new births, birthed and grown my self too-- as a woman, as a writer, and as soul and spirit. ive been blogging so much now, i have few and far-between entries in my handwritten journal now.

happy birthday, blog.
happy birthday, dear heart.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

So Now I'm A Metrospiritual

i just read this article from one of the newsletters i subscribe to, and it pleasantly jolted me to find out that, at last, i finally fit in some kind of box! [... although i must say, it is a box with customized boundaries.. : ) ]

it says that metrospirituals are "the kinder, gentler post-Yuppies who want to treat the earth and native cultures with respect, connect with their inner source and inspiration, test their bodies and expand their minds with ancient physical practices—and do it all with serious style."

it also says that a key hallmark of metrospirituals are "learning, openness, and exploration", which i've just always thought is what life is all about. (isn't it? : O)

although my first reaction was pleasant and amused surprise, on a deeper level, i find that i don't really like the term.

first, it sounds faddish, as if it's just a trend that won't last, as trends always do.

second, well, the article gently pokes fun at this kind of belief and lifestyle: of being true to your self, of being one with your core, with nature. yes, it is fun, but it is not funny at all.

third, i don't like the very sound of it-- "METRO SPIRITUAL"-- kind of oxymoronish; i think "spiritual metro" sounds better and describes this whole thing more accurately : >

then, too, the very act of naming it is boxing it, which is what the whole belief and lifestyle isn't about.

... for me, it's just living life from one's mind, heart and soul, as a centered and integrated whole.

i don't see anything "metro" about that. not even the fact that i share the box with Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Leo di Caprio and Richard Gere.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Pockets of Calm

it's getting to be quite a habit, my intermittently taking time out for my self over the course of a single day, just sitting quietly in a corner shutting other people out, or going home to take a nap after lunch before i go back to work... and i like it.

i find i am more energized when i come out of my little pockets of calm, and am more centered and serene when demands are placed upon me.

as they say in Silva-- "every day and every way, i am getting better, better, and better!"


i sound like somebody just let out of the hospital, or worse, prison... heehee... well, in many ways, that is exactly how i feel, too!!!