Thursday, July 23, 2009
Going Home (to the heart) for Melissa Roxas
Something happens to you when you are born outside of your parents' mother country. You are born with a longing to go home to a place you've never been. You go about your business, being all American and knowing nothing else, ignoring all that talk about how it was when they grew up "back home" how things were, who your ancestors were, but inside you, they've planted that seed, and it's growing. You pretend you don't want to know like a good teenager, but you want to know. You want to be a part of it. And if you somehow find your way to writing stories and poems and making films and art, that hunger grows. And you want to go back home. You want to see it for yourself. And it is not enough to visit. You start to write about it. Draw it. Make music about it. And then that is not enough to just visit your family, your lolo, lola, titas and titos all your pinsan, you want to know more. You go historical. You find the stories of the earth. You sit with all the kapitbahay. You speak your bad Tagalog. And stories come out of you, poetry, things you never imagined you housed inside of you and there you are -- an American, digging up a past only your soul comprehends. Not your MTV self. Not your Boomerang kid self. Certainly not your wild American Self. If you're lucky that spark hits you and somehow the art you make does something more than sit pretty on the page. It moves you to act.
I sit in solidarity with you Melissa Roxas. Speak up, speak your truth without fear. For you represent us all. All of us who long to go home, to find our true Selves and in doing so discover that in fact, despite the fact we were not born on that island or if we were, we have not lived on that island for a lifetime, we have a devotion to it, a commitment to it. Make it clear, we have a right to come home, to serve our people with our words and to do it without savage acts of torture, or corruption or imprisonment.
With much love, sincere respect and absolute solidarity,