‘I don’t want to set the world on fire’


    BUT Bonifacio and the K.K.K.A.N.B. did anyway: “Let it be known that from this day forth this Archipelago is separating from Spain, and is not recognizing and will not be recognizing any other authority except the Supreme Katipunan.” [Principal Orders (Manga daquilang cautosan)]

    In fact, the enemy had recommended the monitoring of an “individual named Andres Bonifacio, an employee of Fressell & Company believed to be a mason and [involved in] producing subversive propaganda [materials] for the districts of Tondo, Trozo, and Sta. Cruz’.” [Cuerpo de Vigilancia de Manila, Información Secreta #14, Manila, June 23, 1896, Manuscrito A-4, National Commission for Culture and the Arts]

    Bonifacio (Sinukuan of Logia Taliba) and his fellow founders, who were the Freemasons Ladislao Diwa (Baguio of Logia Taliba) and Teodoro Plata (Balany of Logia Taliba, were devoted and triumphant. “From July 1892 up to the eve of the revolution in August 1896, the Katipunan had remained a well-hidden secret at the time of extreme state repression.

    This was a clear testament to the effectiveness of covert tactics devised by Bonifacio and others to elude detection. The fact that this underground society had flourished in the midst of increased colonial urban policing and surveillance could be attributed to the Katipunan leaders’ shrewdness and audacity as well as the Spanish colonial state’s incompetence.” [Maureen Cristin S. Justiniano. Dissent, Repression, And Revolution In The Late Nineteenth Century Philippines: New Perspectives On The Katipunan, 1892-1897. A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (History) at the University Of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016, p. 155]

    The 1896 Revolution was not a singlehanded crusade by a superhero; as a family affair, the role of the significant other could not be undervalued: the Katipunan Lakambini Gregoria De Jesus was a part of A-Force: Rosario Villarruel and Marina Dizon as well as Jose Rizal’s sisters, Josefa and Trinidad.

    “I don’t want to set the world on fire”

    But the Americans did anyway when they dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities in the concluding episode of World War Two.

    The buck stopped where? “No known written record exists in which Harry Truman explicitly ordered the use of atomic weapons against Japan. The closest thing to such a document is this handwritten order, addressed to Secretary of War Henry Stimson, in which Truman authorized the release of a public statement about the use of the bomb. It was written on July 31, 1945 while Truman was attending the Potsdam Conference in Germany. In effect, this served as final authorization for the employment of the atomic bomb, though the expression ‘release when ready’ refers to the public statement.”

    Mixed feelings? “The day after the Hiroshima bomb was dropped, Truman received a telegram from Senator Richard B. Russell of Georgia, encouraging the president to use as many atomic bombs as possible on Japan, claiming the American people believed ‘that we should continue to strike the Japanese until they are brought groveling to their knees.’ Truman responded, ‘I know that Japan is a terribly cruel and uncivilized nation in warfare but I can’t bring myself to believe that because they are beasts, we should ourselves act in that same manner. For myself I certainly regret the necessity of wiping out whole populations because of the ‘pigheadedness’ of the leaders of a nation, and, for your information, I am not going to do it unless absolutely necessary’.” [https://www.nps.gov/articles/trumanatomicbomb.htm]

    A world in flames. “Standing before the A-Bomb Dome, as it is called, he (the incumbent Bishop of Rome) described the moment of the explosion in his own words: ‘An incandescent burst of lightning and fire, so many men and women, so many dreams and hopes, disappeared, leaving behind only shadows and silence. In barely an instant, everything was devoured by a black hole of destruction and death’.”


    Uh-oh! More nukes in the future? “Drawing attention to Nagasaki, the Pope said the city ‘bears in its soul a wound difficult to heal, a scar born of the incomprehensible suffering endured by so many innocent victims of wars past and those of the present, when a third World War is being waged piecemeal’.” [https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-visit-japan1.html]

    “I’ve lost all ambition for worldly acclaim, I just want to be the one you love”
    Gregoria De Jesus (Mrs. Andres Bonifacio) was not immune to Nostalgia: “To me your sincere advice, Look for happiness and console your heart I enjoy myself for a moment, then at once I cease I think what had happened to you.”

    “I’m leaving like the smoke. When the white goes up, I’m like a cobweb” [Julio Nakpil and the Philippine Revolution, ed. and trans. Encarnacion Alzona. Manila, 1964, pp. 177-81]
    In the 21st century, the Katipunan Lakambini Gregoria De Jesus, as part of Alas ng Bayan at the UP Asian Center, was honored by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), 350.org, and the Constantino Foundation (collectively known as The Consortium) to raise awareness about the intersections between women, history, memory, climate change, and citizenship. “In doing so, we hope to reach a broader audience, introduce and inject feminism and history as fundamental elements in the way young people respond to the climate crisis and the worsening state of national forgetting. The project intends to mobilize sectors not normally active in the climate debate while offering new notions of citizenship and nationalism that are responsive to the multiple emergencies we face today.

    Certainly, viewers of the paintings and those who listen to the lectures that will accompany the exhibit will not fail to sense parallels between the lives of the women depicted and current topics under intense public debate, such as LGBTQ+ rights, extrajudicial killings, global warming, and national sovereignty.”

    “I don’t want to set the world on fire”

    But there is uncontrolled global warming and runaway climate change. “Renewables and energy efficiency, in combination with electrification of end uses, are key to a successful energy transition and to driving down energy-related CO2 emissions.” [Emissions Gap Report 2019. Executive summary. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi]