Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

 This is one of two reviews I have written on the recent articles of Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta in the Manila Daily Bulletin. I have found these two of Ms. Gemma’s regular columns in the Bulletin of special interest as they focus on the very interesting historical recollections and one person’s evolving experience of history in the Asian Century.

Ms. Gemma’s perspective on history is particularly fascinating because she brings vignettes of life with her illustrious ancestors with historical significance, family folks from her paternal great-grandmother Doña Maria Mercado sister of national hero Jose Rizal to her mother writer Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, and maternal uncle writer-diplomat Leon Maria Guerrero III.

This review is of Ms. Gemma’s article “Cold War Semantics” published May 27, 2020 on an episode of Simone Gao’s “Zooming In” video discussion show on Epoch Times, an Internet magazine I will describe in further detail later in this article. The show is also available on YouTube and you can watch it at:

The particular video episode features the burly former navy man, investment banker, chairman of Alt-right Brietbart, served on the board of Cambridge Analytica that figured in a data theft scandal and erstwhile Trump White House chief strategist until 2018 when he was fired by Trump for his derogatory comments about the Trump family in the book “Fire and Fury.”

The title to the episode is “Bannon: We Will Be in a Kinetic War with China If We Don’t Win the Information and Economic War” which pretty much explains the warmongering agenda the man is pursuing monomaniacally in his post-White House career. Career indeed it can be as there is a global industry catering to the anti-China crusade funded by the U.S.A. and the Taiwan government.

Take the media network this “Zooming In” is airing on, The Epoch Times that calls itself an “international newspaper” published by the U.S. based Epoch Media Group owned by the Falun Gong “religious” movement that is devoted not to a god or a faith but to anti-communism and promotes conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination campaigns. Falun Gong is mysteriously funded but includes the “Friends of Falun Gong” led by NED co-founder U.S. Ambassador Mark Palmer.

While I write about these facts that could be staid and boring to some people, Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta writes about these in the narrative of her life woven with the threads of her own and her kin’s interactions with these events in history in a literary style that animates history. For example, she describes the “Zooming In” program and its hostess Simone Gao through the eyes of her own experience more descriptive than any fact:

 “In a delicately tremulous voice, with barely a trace of a Chinese accent, she cooed ‘free world’ and ‘totalitarian’ many times during her interview with Mr. Steven Bannon, a national security adviser of President D. Trump… Every time I hear those politically primeval words and phrases, I get goosebumps as I slide through a time tunnel that brings me back to those frightful days of the Cold War.”

And Cold War is indeed what these “information warrior” like Simone Gao and Steve Bannon are trying to bring back from the last century into our present one, i.e. the 21st Century. In what may seem as a digression but really very relevant, I refer to the Hong Kong situation when the “Democracy Movement” leader told U.S. TV talk show “60 Minutes”: “We are fighting the first battle of the new cold war” between the U.S. and China.

China, unlike the defunct U.S.S.R., has consistently refused to engage in a cold war with the U.S. Recently Foreign Minster Wang Yi said “Some U.S. political forces are taking hostage of China-U.S. relations, attempting to push the ties to the brink of so-called ‘new Cold War… This is dangerous and will endanger global peace.” China even has a worldview as alternative, the Multipolar World to deny the idea of a singular power to rule.

Western media continues to stoke the idea that China is challenging the U.S. and the West, but China for the past decades has persistently reiterated that it does not seek hegemony and is content to pursue the Peaceful Rise of China, attain the ultimate goal of a prosperous society and build a “Community of Shared Future for Mankind” and conduct international relation based on “Win-Win” mutual benefit. But U.S. ears are deliberately deaf.

Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta brings us back to those decades of the last century and her encounters with what now seems quaint, if not comedic, situations that descended upon the hapless young lady in the time of the old Cold War:

“So, while listening to Simone Gao and her impressive guest list, I suddenly remembered that I grew up in a palpably anti-communist environment where the ideology was considered more deadly than the bubonic plague and the Spanish flu combined because, as  pundits used to say, you cannot kill an idea.

“To save us from the ‘yellow peril’ my peers and I were quarantined in Catholic schools, punctiliously keeping physical distance from denizens of the University of the Philippines, then reputed to be the hotbed of that unmentionable godless ideology.  We were given cultural medication, plays like ‘The Bamboo Cross’ about how Catholics in China were tortured and killed; they were martyrs who died in defense of the Faith.

 “We were recruited by the Student Catholic Action which my mother forbade me to join, without telling me why. The nuns must have thought I was living dangerously with communists and that was probably why they gave me the starring role in a school play about how the “reds” were infiltrating educational institutions.”

 Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta ended with this:

 “’President Trump is now called a wartime president because the USA is on ‘war footing’ like before WW II. In an interview with Ms. Gao, Mr. Bannon was vehement. He said, “We have to defeat the virus. Drop the hammer!,’  Have we heard those words before?” Is it the “China virus” that Trump has declared, and the hammer is the part of the gun that slams down on the primer of the bullet? (IA/

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