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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

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Friday, February 24, 2017


We, as women lawyers, condemn the blatant and gruesome killing of Atty. Mia Manuelita Mascariñas-Green whose assailants are still on the run. Hence, we feel that as practicing women lawyers who are also nurturing mothers and sisters just like Atty. Green, we need to openly renew our commitment to our profession, to uphold lawfulness and Justice, and to speak to the Green children on the danger of hatred and the importance of forgiveness.   

TO THE LEGAL COMMUNITY. During her lifetime, Atty. Green is not known to us personally or professionally but as her fellow lawyers who have been unconditionally defending every man's Constitutional right to due process, we cannot help but express our protestation to this inhuman, uncivilized and unjustified killing by the assailants (and their mastermind), which only perpetuate the culture of impunity. However, despite this personal protestations and constantly living with this kind of professional hazard, we want to assure the legal community that we are still committing ourselves to the service of Justice, and that by heart, we will continue to remember that our society will be judged not by how we demonstrate hatred but how we continually extend Justice and Compassion. Thus, we will continue to unconditionally defend any accused, which translates to our defending our Constitution, which will further translate to preserving the integrity of our society for the next generation. We openly wish that this letter fortifies the determination of every lawyer to continue serving the community in the name of Justice.

TO THE ASSAILANTS. So, if you think you won by killing, you are enormously wrong. No one, even a branded criminal, deserves to be imprisoned without knowing the reason why he should be imprisoned. How much more in taking a life? This is the fundamental rationale why we have due process in our Constitution. You have no right to take away her life without her knowing why, or at least giving her the chance to explain herself. You even have no decency to spare the children from the violence. But then, even if you will be caught and tried, our fellow lawyers will defend you and afford you your right to due process.  We will not allow you to win; we will not allow the same inhuman, uncivilized and unjustified taking of your liberty, and life. Now, turn yourself in. Do not trample our Constitution by perpetuating a culture of impunity; the Constitution is where the rights of your children and your children's children depend on. And remember, no lawyer shall scamper from his sworn obligation because of what you did but every lawyer shall help seek out Justice for Atty. Green! We collectively desire that this letter reaches your conscience on the spot.

TO THE GREEN CHILDREN. We are lawyers like your mother. We are presently defending even the criminals in the eyes of the society. We have incorporated in our legal commitment, our moral commitment of giving everyone fairness and a shot at second chance. We strongly feel that you deserve all the chances in life despite what just happened. Just like what your mother would have wanted, we only wish you to grow up with extraordinary strength of spirit, free from hatred, and full of compassion. Do not allow hatred to precede your life. Nurture forgiveness and continue exercising compassion just like what your mother did during her lifetime, rendering pro bono services to the poor. Sift and live only with the goodness and wisdom that you may get from this tragic event in your lives. We fervently hope that this letter reaches you at the very moment that you need it. 

We hereby affix our names this 17th day of February 2017, Negros Island Region.

Gerlie M. Uy
Myra Gift Malacaman-Go
Shelou Matti-Go
Edda A. Opeña
Joy Infante-Guilot




Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers

A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers
Michael Holroyd
Nonfiction, Picador, 2012 (First Publication 2010)
Paperback, 264 pages

This one is out of my usual book menu. But I always welcome a little change. With this one, I thought I will be reading more of Rodin but I ended up reading about “scandals” of the royalties like reading an intriguing novel. Holroyd has the lyrical rhythm as well as sincere and inquiring tone that made me proceed. I was about to ditch this one early on because the print is so small (But there were two prior publications in Great Britain and US which you can pick up instead of this one). But since I am into Italy right now, I got hold of this book because the book is also inspired by Villa Cimbrone which is located in Ravello, an Italian village.

Holroyd's interest started from the time he saw an Eve Fairfax bust scupture by Rodin, but it turned out that the Eve Fairfax-Rodin link became a mere jump off of his research on various characters. This is a story of women who lived in the peripheral story of Ernest Beckett (Second Baron of Grimthorpe) whose political life and personal lives were in parallel; both appeared to be in order but they were not.

The bust of Eve Fairfax was commissioned by Ernest Beckett as a wedding gift, only to be called off for reasons only biographers love to dig into and speculate endlessly. Then we came to the letters exchanged by Rodin and Eve revealing a mutual admiration, and then Eve's relationship with Belgian violinist Desire Defauw, the storytelling proceeded to the wonderings as to who was the father of her son John Francis Mordaunt later on (there's an exciting postscript in this edition, Defauw's and Morduant's survivors had a DNA Test and it turned out negative).

Then we have Alice Keppel, who was the mistress of Ernest Beckett and the Prince of Wales, who begot “scandalous to the delicacy of the royalties” Violet Trefusis (she was married to Denys Trefussis). She was a lesbian who was disastrously married off to a gay in order to have a “ normal” life and was exiled by her mother to France and found herself celebrated as a French novelist. Who was her father? 

Violet Trefusis was by herself a story. She was the lover of another writer Vita Sackville-West who was herself married. It was an interestingly woven story by Holroyd who used Violet's fiction and nonfiction (memoirs and letters) as his threads. 

Along the way, I found myself in the world of Holroyd as biographer, and felt his joys and challenges, as well as understood his own feelings and assessments of the people involved in his work. He also made friends with Catherine Lycett Green whose paternity lineage may belong to the Grimthorpe but the fact of not knowing challenges her loyalty and love to her legal father as well as leaves an inexplicable restlessness in her own life. 

Lastly, the places told and the works of art revealed, not much about the characters undressed, made me come along.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Nonfiction, Harper, 2011
Paperback, 243 pages

Khair Khana is in Afghanistan, a country known to me as war-torn and the place where Osama Bin Laden was killed. That is the macro picture. But this book gave me a micro shot of Afghanistan through the story of Kamil and her sisters.

Fresh from reading a memoir called Reading Lolita in Tehran, I still have the full grasp on how women were treated when the Mujahideen (holy warriors) are running the Muslim country. Both events narrated in Reading Lolita and the times when the Dressmaker of Khair Khana was established happened in the 1990s and both stories were born out of the fact that women in these two Muslim country were suddenly limited in their clothing and space.

This book chronicles the triumph of the human spirit in times of adversity, specifically that of a woman during the precarious times.

When suddenly the times changed in Afhganistan, Kamila saw herself alone to feed and fend her sisters and a brother when her parents went away to avoid political troubles because of her father's retired status in the military and her older brother has to leave also, otherwise, he will just be randomly picked and tortured for whatever possible false charges there can be. The girls and her younger brother whose age is considered “safe” were thought better to be left at their property in Khair Khana inorder to preserve the same, otherwise, if good times resume the property would go to the government who would surely have taken over the property while they were all away.  

Kamila and her sisters are all set to become professionals before the times changed because their father believed in education for all of his children, males and females. This is quite radical because most Afghan families finance the schooling of the sons only and leave the women at home. Kamila's father understood that women can contribute to family income if they were also educated, this he observed in a foreign company he once worked for.

When the times in Afghanistan changed, suddenly the sisters became homebound. At first, they read books and got the idea of swapping books with their neigbors. With depleting resource and provisions, Kamila thought hard and well as to how to generate income to maintain the family. She had herself taught as a tailor through her elder sister Malika. After hitting orders from local stall owners in a mall and risking being caught for doing this, Kamila was able to mobilize her sisters to fulfill the first orders. Eventually, she had some trusted neighbors join her when the orders became large. As soon as the news of her business spread, neighbors and common friends came to ask for work, and she did not refuse anyone. Instead, she looked for more stall owners who would like to order from her. The in their humble house, the women have the liberty to chitchat and listen to some forbidden music. It was not only work which made women earn an income, but also an escape from the harsh realities of their lives. Kamila and her sisters were able to manage many orders and many women in the years that they operated. They even put up apprenticeship.

When the Taliban was defeated, times changed. However, Kamila, at this time, joined foreign NGO which if she is caught, she will be put to jail indefinitely. She had opportunity to work outside Afgahistan but she chose to remain in her country in order to teach entrepreneurship among her fellow women.

How the journey of Kamila and her sisters were narrated by the author gives us the feel of how women are endangered at those times and how these women survived is admirable. It took education, fortitude, faith, resilience, love for family, and devotion to one's community to survive all these.

The author aimed to showcase entrepreneurial spirit of women in times of war, and this she did successfully, interestingly and heartfully. My praise to her effort.