Stories from the front lines?

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Broccoli on Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:37 am

Dude, you're really packing the experiences! Good work observing, and enlarging your network!

"Sagot sa kahirapan digmang bayan"--the more accurate translation is "The answer to hardship [is] people's war."

With your blond hair, light skin, and height, you must stand out at these rallies as though you were wearing a PVC codpiece! Tell me, has the police noticed you yet? Have they come over to talk with you? In an emergency, tell them you're a reporter for CNN Wink

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Niels on Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:10 am

Broccoli wrote:With your blond hair, light skin, and height, you must stand out at these rallies as though you were wearing a PVC codpiece! Tell me, has the police noticed you yet? Have they come over to talk with you? In an emergency, tell them you're a reporter for CNN Wink

Since I have visited several rallies already, I have noticed the police is watching me... not in a creepy kind of way, but I think they are just curious who I am and what I'm doing. The other day someone came up to me and asked me what I was doing here and if he could ask me some questions about my ideas on the rally and stuff... Of course I didn't answer his questions, but instead played dumb, telling him I was just a tourist (without telling where I came from), not knowing what was going on but that I was curious about the happening. I think my explanation was satisfying enough, because he walked away Razz

And with regard to the CNN-thingy; I just hope the authorities (police and stuff) still have a good image of/ relation with the United States and therefore don't want to bother Americans. Luckily everybody here thinks I'm an American (since I'm white), so I hope that works in my favor. Just have to make sure the commies realize I'm in fact not from the States.

Speaking of which: from 15 till 25 march I will be on social investigation (or intergration as they like to call it here) with the peasants of Hacienda Luisita, my main target of interest. Meeting the peasants, working with them on the fields, talking to them and hopefully getting introduced to armed fighters. Today I have arranged everything with the KMP - the peasant movement.
After my "intergration with the toiling masses", I will explore other peasant areas and visit the fisherfolk... the latter is not really relevant to my research, but hey: if they introduce me to red fighters, I don't mind talking to some fishermen Wink

Anyhoo, I'm back in civilization (i.e. the stench of Metro Manila) the first of April jocolor

Ciao for now!
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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Broccoli on Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:44 pm

Niels wrote:After my "intergration with the toiling masses", I will explore other peasant areas and visit the fisherfolk... the latter is not really relevant to my research, but hey: if they introduce me to red fighters, I don't mind talking to some fishermen

On the contrary, this can be quite relevant since you can probe and investigate into questions as to whether intense preoccupation in routines of livelihood activities somehow affects their choices as to their form of involvement in political contention. You can sound out the hypothesis that people preoccupied with daily survival, with families to feed and other obligations, are less likely to join the armed struggle as active fighters, since they have more at stake and more to lose than younger people. Again, I say this would be a "hypothesis" to investigate and try to falsify.

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Niels on Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:32 pm

First the good news (to reply on your Facebook posts): I haven't seen a single wave yet, but I'll be on the look out for rising water levels... How are the ladies in Sri Lanka doing and Davey in Korea?

Second: tonight I visited this poetry event in a local bar. I can really recommend this: it's a great way to meet interesting people who are politically active. Eventhough I didn't understand most of the poems as they were in Tagalog, people explained them to me and told me they were about the land reforms and how the people are being exploited. Very interesting!

Second, I can already smell the rebels. Today I visited the peasantmovement and they asked me if would like to spend the night at their place (= HQ). I will stay here till monday, even though that means I have to sleep on a hardwood floor without a matrass, in a small room with 5 other men I don't know, and without a musquito net... great. Really going to enjoy the nights Razz

Anyhoo, that's all for now. I'll keep you up to date!




Last edited by Niels on Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Broccoli on Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:27 am

Davey, I hope you're safe in the aftermath of the quake! Neutral

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Broccoli on Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:34 am

Niels wrote:Second, I can already smell the rebels. Today I visited the peasantmovement and they asked me if would like to spend the night at their place (= HQ). I will stay here till monday, even though that means I have to sleep on a hardwood floor without a matrass, in a small room with 5 other men I don't know, and without a musquito net... great. Really going to enjoy the nights

I'm jealous (except the bit about the mosquitoes). Anyhoo, just remember to keep using words like "imperialist," and "bourgeois," and "stooge" whenever you refer to the "enemies of the people"--you'll bond closer with them if you use their lingo. afro

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Niels on Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:22 am

Broccoli wrote:I'm jealous

Jealous?! I spent the night on the frickin' floor in a room with 4 strange men, of whom one was coughing up something that looked like black blood, another one was making little screaming sounds in his sleep and a third one was either dead or really vast asleep. Either way, I liked him best, since he didn't keep me out of my sleep... the things crawling on the floor, however, did. So did my pillow, made out of plastic bags Laughing

Than again, wouldn't want to be anywhere else. The info I get here is great: going to focus my research on a small peasant group that took over a small part (2.000 hectares) of the hacienda to grow their own crops instead of sugarcane (which they can't eat). I think it can be very interesting to learn how these people came up with this idea and mobilized themselves, even though the landlords aren't affraid to use violence against them (in 2004 a massacre took place on this hacienda when farmers called for change...).

This will probably be my last post here for a while by the way. As mentioned before, tuesday I'm going to the hacienda. I'll stay there till the first of april. (Sleeping)conditions can't be worse there, right? pale

Anyhoo, ciao!
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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Broccoli on Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:11 pm

What can I say other than..... LOL! Razz

p.s. better get yourself checked out for TB (tuberculosis) a month after you get back. Also, try not to drink any unpasteurised milk, if they offer you that.

He he, you've really jumped into the deep end with the fieldwork thing, hey?

Anyhoo, take care, be safe at the hacienda, and don't get lynched by the "neo-colonial" "imperialist stooge" landowners.

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Carry on Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:25 pm

Niels wrote:How are the ladies in Sri Lanka doing

We're fine! No scary water levels here.. We're living it up, enjoying the luxury life of having our own appartment, washingmachine (no dirty undies for these princesses), garden and landlord-wife-with-profession-pastry making! And as for battle field stories..? We're off to see an expat-ultimate frisbee competition this lovely Sunday afternoon. Should be brutal. They're all die-hard Christians. Wish us luck!


Last edited by Carry on Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:26 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Cameroonian on Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:09 pm

@ niels if you have not been vaccinated against TB a scratch test will be enough. if you have a vaccination you need an X ray of your lungs. expensive ( + 100 eurie) unless you go first to your doctor and ask for a reference note then insurance will pay. have fun in the rimboe!
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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Niels on Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:14 am

Almost cried myself to sleep last night. Why? Well, I was familiar with cockroaches, never met Pilipino cockroaches though. Those fuckers grow to be as big as cellphones! And I don't mean those high-tech "whoo-look-how-small-my-cellphone-is" cellphones, but those huge old-school, eighties cellphones you had to hold with both hands... got violated last night by one: I feel so dirty Sad

I can stand the rats, cockroaches the size of my fist: not so much No
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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Broccoli on Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:37 am

Assaulted by a cockroach. That's a first among our students (but probably not the last, either.) Did you meet these mutants in the city, or in the countryside? They get bigger in the city owing to all the rubbish they can gorge themselves on, and less natural enemies. In the countryside you'll have to watch out for other disgusting insects, like huge spiders, millipedes, and scorpions. Doesn't it make you feel like you're in Jurrasic Park?

Get your family and closest friends T-shirts with a picture of these things, and the caption: "Wish you were here!"

I watched "Starship Troopers" on TV last night. Sorry, but I couldn't help but think of you.

I think you should get extra marks for "enduring hardship," don't you? Smile

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Kevin on Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:47 pm

Haha freekin' hell Niels you are a legend. While reading your stories I was thinking "wtf, why was I moaning again?"

I've had trouble with electricity and water, but that's nothing compared to the conditions you have to live/sleep in haha.

As for my story in Palestine: very very very interesting! Having an amazing time here. Met loads of interesting people (read: youngsters) who I can interview for my thesis.

What's also interesting is that there has been a lot of tension this weekend in the city (and surrounding areas) where I am staying. Friday night a settlers' family was beheaded. Father, mother and 3 children. However, no Palestinian movement has claimed the killings (which doesn't happen very often). Hence, the israeli army has surrounded the city, looking for the perpetrators. Nobody can get in or out of the city.

Besides that, there has been a large (around 200) group of settlers (civilians) seeking for revenge. In the past few days they have attacked Palestine people, cars and invaded houses with golfclubs, knifes, baseball bats and even guns.

So the atmosphere here is quite tense.

On the other hand, tomorrow is going to be a VERY important day regarding my thesis (which focusses on non-violent protest/resistance), because in all the major cities in the West Bank and Gaza there will be non-violent protest by youth (inspired by Egypt, Lybia etc). The official goal is to call for a Palestine unity (they want to bring Fatah and Hamas together), but I have heard and read that unofficially they want to protest against the Palestine Authority and the lack of opportunities the youngsters have for a better life etc.

The people from the organization where I work have told me to be very careful tomorrow, as it is likely to escalate in violence.

Will keep you posted.

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Broccoli on Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:17 pm

Wow! Everybody's got such exciting stories from the field. I'm jealous! Crying or Very sad but also happy to hear that everyone's getting great things out of their research experience. Very Happy

Keep up the good work, everybody, and STAY SAFE!

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Davey on Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:17 pm

Whoa awesome story Kevin. good luck,

I just received an email from Georg asking me if I was alright being so close to the Japan disasters. To anyone concerned, everythings fine and normal. They talked on the news about radiation being able to travel long distances, but Im sure its not gonna be a problem.
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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Alicia on Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:16 am

Niels and Kevin, your stories sound amazing. Kevin, how did the protest go?

Not much exciting news from Cambodia. Although a restaurant I was eating in did catch fire and I couldn't leave the building for a few minutes, but that's not related to my research at all.

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re: stories from the frontlines

Post by oakleyer on Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:35 pm

hahaha - you guys crack me up.

It's been pretty chill (not temp wise) in Sri Lanka so far. We spent the first few days with Sash's family. Her live-in makes some awesome, repeat, awesome food. She told Sash it's too bad Carry and I don't speak Sinhala.

I've already had a couple of interviews and have been referred to countless people, so hoping to make some progress soon! Also planning to go to the East in a week or so to begin getting some raw data. We'll stick out like sore thumbs even more so there! The people have been very nice so far and we've been hooked up with a tuk-tuk driver who gives us the 'local prices'. We're also getting to know the local costs for fruits and veggies. They love to over charge us, so we do our fair share of haggling (works up an appetite for sure!). Never thought I'd mind not having a hot shower, but it hovers around 95F/35C here!!

In the words of Niels...'anyhoo', off to learn how to make a curry and rice...yum, yum!

Mario, I've got pics if you want to keep up with what kind of trouble Carry and I are getting into (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2072383&id=47300670&l=202bc075cc)
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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Broccoli on Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:48 am

Beautiful pics (nice coconuts Smile )

Hmm, it kinda looks like you two are having a bit too much fun on so-called "fieldwork." (I hear Niels scoffing, in amongst his cockroach friends.) Anyhoo, stay safe, and careful not to chip a fingernail while conducting participant observation on curry dishes.

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Kevin on Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:59 pm

Aaaaahahhahahahaha *pissing my pants*

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by oakleyer on Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:55 am

Haha, we'll try to keep our fingernails clean. Sorry Niels, though I am impressed (and jealous) about your experiences so far! I keep hoping for a protest of some sorts here but no luck yet.

In news related to research, lots of contacts and interviews have already been made. Every time I have an interview with someone they recommend 3-5 more people to talk to! Learning fast that the Sri Lankan circle is a small one! Hoping to get out of the city and head South for a few days. Then it's back to Colombo and then heading East for a few weeks. I've decided to switch my focus area from Trincomalee to Batticaloa -- I'm excited to get to the East and find some interesting stuff!

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Niels on Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:48 pm

Quick update from the rebel-wannebe:

I'm in the vicinity of a hacienda right now, spending my days and nights among the peasants, or - as my commie friends like to call it: "integrating with the toiling masses".

Things are going great. Already spoken to a few persons who I believe have a really "interesting" past or are/ know very "interesting" persons themselves. Sharing lots of stories with me regarding mass education to create awareness and preparing the masses for something else than harvest season. Which, by the way, is really fun: already harvested eggplant, chilly, watermelon and rice!

(That's all I will share for now. Not really comfortable with sharing more, especially since the area is highly militarized and armed soldiers watch my every move in the hacienda)

The nights are also very interesting: I thought I was luckily last night when they offered me a bed to sleep in - instead of the cold, hard floor. It felt great, untill this other - unknown - man joined in and we spent the night together... don't worry, hands were kept above the sheets and there was no "intergration" whatsoever, but still: it felt kinda awkward.

Nevertheless, I'm enjoying my pants off here and I'm very curious what the future will bring (apart from TB and probably some other nasty things).
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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Davey on Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:06 pm

Ericas snowballing!
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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Broccoli on Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:48 pm

Niels wrote: Sharing lots of stories with me regarding mass education to create awareness and preparing the masses for something else than harvest season.


That update was sweet, Niels!

Hey, do you guys think that if the progressive movement in the Philippines asks the UN very nicely that they, too, can get a "no-fly zone"? (Seeing that the criteria allegedly is when a government attack its own citizens--the GoP certainly seems to fit this bill, though I don't see why nobody bitched about this with regard to Ahmadinejad+Iran, or Putin+Chechnya. I suppose the West was too scared that those ones could actually fight back. How about Darfur, then? Not enough oil interests there? Clooney must be livid.)

Or are no-fly zones only reserved for Islamic leaders who we happen not to like at this moment? bom

And why does Sarkozy love North Africans more when they are over there, than when they are in France itself?

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by Broccoli on Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:00 am

oakleyer wrote:Haha, we'll try to keep our fingernails clean.

Don't mind me, Jessica-Erica. I'm just joking with you.

Cooking curry is VERY hard and demanding work--I know, truly I do! Wink

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Re: Stories from the front lines?

Post by oakleyer on Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:45 am

Broccoli wrote: Don't mind me, Jessica-Erica. I'm just joking with you.

Cooking curry is VERY hard and demanding work--I know, truly I do! Wink

Mario/Pink Bunny -- It IS tough work -- slaving in the hot, hot kitchen. I need a nap just thinking about it. Smile

I've come across my first life-threatening encounter. It came in the form of a car-sized cockroach. I was chasing the thing all over my room trying to kill it. I was NOT about to fall asleep and take the chance of it hopping into my bed. It even ran up the wall so I had to throw things at it to make it fall...finally killed the bastard and my life was spared.
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