NANAY in Miami Support the Lolas of LILA Pilipina

On Wednesday the 27th, UM 121 Coalition team visited the National Alliance of Nurturing for the Aged and Youth -- otherwise known as NANAY -- the tagalog word for mother.

N A N A Y, Inc. is a charitable organization made up of individuals who are committed to providing psychological, social, health and emotional support for youth and elders 60 years of age or older. Its major goal is to preserve cultural heritage and to assist, support and promote the welfare and well-being of youth and elders in the community, irrespective of race, sex or creed.

Perhaps this was the most intense of the public readings of survivors' testimonies. Many of the women were living in the Philippines during the war -- some too young to remember, or old enough to know they were being hidden, but too young to understand why.

After the readings, we sat with the women as they dictated their letters to us, or wrote letters to Congresspersons in their native dialects. While many understood the effect that the "comfort women" issue had on the Philippines, many of the letters took note of the women taken from so many countries.

As one of the coordinators translated some of the letters, she pointed to half finished sentences or ambiguous terms. "It means they know," she told me. "They know and they cannot say it or they don't want to remember it."

I offer some of the women's translated letters here.

Dear Representative,

I am happy here at our Nanay Center -- that we can celebrate together. However, there are other conditions (that the writer refuses to remember).

Please support House Resolution 121.

A. Patria
North Miami, FL

Dear Representative,

I am 87 years old now, but when I reflect on all the things that happened to our womanhood, the time of the Japanese war, I am moved to beg you to support House Resolution 121 -- to be united in the cause.

J. Paguio
North Miami, FL

Dear Congressman,

I want to ask help for the old women. Please support House Resolution 121.

Thank you a lot.
E. Sandagon
Miami, FL

Dear Congressman,

Please support House Resolution 121 so the Japanese government will apologize to the comfort women in all countries the Japanese occupied in the second world war.

Thank you very much for your kind support for the resolution.

Sincerely yours,
C. Tablizo
North Miami, FL

Dear Representative,

I am saddened ... Would you please support House Resolution 121 -- to pass it among you ...

N. Cruz
Miramar, FL