Iran president’s letter to Bush

Iran’s Ahmadinejad quizzes George Bush on human rights, Sept. 11 investigation, Christianity, Israel, terrorism, America’s looting of the world and more . . .

Presented here is the abbreviated text of a letter written by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and addressed to President George W. Bush. Although the mass media in America has mentioned the letter in passing, few Americans have actually had the opportunity to read it. It is the first direct communication between the governments since the U.S. embassy was stormed and hostages seized in 1979. American Free Press is pleased to provide this slightly edited version so that readers can draw their own conclusions about the Iranian leader.

MR. GEORGE BUSH,
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

For some time now I have been thinking how one can justify the undeniable contradictions that exist in the international arena—which are being constantly debated especially in political forums and among students. Many questions remain unanswered. These have prompted me to discuss some of the contradictions and questions. . . .

Can one be a follower of Jesus Christ, the great messenger of God, feel obliged to respect human rights, present liberalism as a civilization model, announce one’s opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and WMDs, make [opposition to] “War and Terror” his slogan, and finally, work toward the establishment of a unified international community—a community which Christ and the virtuous of the Earth will one day govern, but at the same time, have countries attacked; the lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed. . . .

Or because of the possibility of the existence of WMDs in one country, it is occupied, around 100,000 people killed, its water sources, agriculture and industry destroyed, close to 180,000 foreign troops put on the ground, sanctity of private homes of citizens broken, and the country pushed back perhaps 50 years? At what price?

Hundreds of billions of dollars spent from the treasury of one country and certain other countries, and tens of thousands of young men and women—as occupation troops—put in harm’s way, taken away from family and loved ones, their hands stained with the blood of others, subjected to so much psychological pressure that every day some commit suicide and those returning home suffer depression, become sickly and grapple with all sorts of ailments; while some are killed.

On the pretext of the existence of WMDs, this great tragedy came to engulf both the peoples of the occupied and the occupying country. Later it was revealed that no WMDs existed.

Of course Saddam was a murderous dictator. But the war was not waged to topple him, the announced goal of the war was to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction. He was toppled along the way toward another goal, nevertheless the people of the region are happy about it. I point out that throughout the many years of the war on Iran, Saddam was supported by the West.

Mr. President, I am a teacher. My students ask me how these actions can be reconciled with the tradition of Jesus Christ, the messenger of peace and forgiveness.

There are prisoners in Guantanamo Bay who have not received trials, have no legal representation, their families cannot see them and are obviously kept in a strange land outside their own country. There is no international monitoring of their condition and fate. No one knows whether they are prisoners, POWs, accused or criminals. Investigators have confirmed the existence of secret prisons in Europe, too.

Young people, university students and ordinary people have many questions about the phenomenon of Israel. Throughout history many countries have been occupied, but I think the establishment of a new country with a new people is a new phenomenon that is exclusive to our times.

Students are saying that 60 years ago such a country did not exist. They show old maps and try, [but] we have not been able to find a country named Israel.

I tell them to study the history of World War I and II. One of my students told me that during World War II, in which tens of millions of people perished, news about the war was quickly disseminated by the warring parties. After the war, they claimed 6 million Jews had been killed. Six million people that were surely related to at least 2 million families. Again let us assume that these events are true.

Does that logically translate into the establishment of the state of Israel in the Middle East or support for such a state? How can this phenomenon be rationalized or explained? Mr. President, I am sure you know how—and at what cost—Israel was established:

• Many thousands were killed in the process;
• Millions of indigenous people were made refugees;
• Hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmland, olive plantations, towns and villages were destroyed.

This tragedy is not exclusive to the time of [Israel’s] establishment; unfortunately it has been ongoing for 60 years now.

A regime has been established which does not show mercy even to kids, destroys houses while the occupants are still in them, announces beforehand its list and plans to assassinate Palestinian figures and keeps thousands of Palestinians in prison. Such a phenomenon is unique—or at the very least extremely rare—in recent memory.

Another big question asked by people is why this regime is being supported. Is support for this regime in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ or Moses or liberal values? Or are we to understand that allowing the original inhabitants of these lands . . . to determine their fate runs contrary to principles of democracy? . . .

If not, why is there so much opposition to a referendum? The newly elected Palestinian administration recently took office. All independent observers have confirmed that this government represents the electorate. Incredibly, they have put the elected government under pressure and have advised it to recognize the Israeli regime, abandon the struggle and follow the programs of the previous government.

If the current Palestinian government had run on the above platform, would the Palestinian people have voted for it?

It is not my intention to pose too many questions, but I need to refer to other points as well. Why is it that any technological and scientific achievement reached in the Middle East regions is . . . portrayed as a threat to the Zionist regime?

Is not scientific research and development one of the basic rights of nations?

Aside from the Middle Ages, in what other point in history has scientific and technological progress been a crime? Can the possibility of scientific achievements being utilized for military purposes be reason enough to oppose science and technology altogether? If such a supposition is true, then all scientific disciplines, including physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, engineering etc, must be opposed.

Mr. President, don’t Latin Americans have the right to ask why their elected governments are being opposed and coup leaders supported? Or why they must constantly be threatened and live in fear?

The people of Africa are hardworking, creative and talented. They can play an important and valuable role in providing for the needs of humanity and contribute to its material and spiritual progress. Poverty and hardship in large parts of Africa are preventing this from happening.

Don’t they have the right to ask why their enormous wealth—including minerals—is being looted, despite the fact that they need it more than others?

Again, do such actions correspond to the teachings of Christ and the tenets of human rights? The brave and faithful people of Iran too have many questions and grievances, including the coup d’etat of 1953 and the subsequent toppling of the legal government of the day, opposition to the Islamic revolution, transformation of an embassy into a headquarters supporting the activities of those opposing the Islamic Republic (many thousands of pages of documents corroborate this claim), support for Saddam in the war waged against Iran, the shooting down of the Iranian passenger plane, freezing the assets of the Iranian nation, increasing threats, anger and displeasure vis-à-vis the scientific and nuclear progress of the Iranian nation (just when all Iranians are jubilant and collaborating their country’s progress), and many other grievances that I will not refer to in this letter.

Mr. Bush: Sept. 11 was a horrendous incident. The killing of innocents is deplorable. . . . Our government immediately declared its disgust with the perpetrators and offered its condolences to the bereaved. . . . All governments have a duty to protect the lives, property and good standing of their citizens. Reportedly your government employs extensive security . . . and intelligence systems. . . . Sept. 11 was not a simple operation. Could it be planned and executed without coordination with intelligence and security services—or their extensive infiltration?

Why have the various aspects of the attacks been kept secret? Why aren’t we told who botched their responsibilities? And why aren’t those responsible identified and put on trial? All governments have a duty to provide security and peace of mind for their citizens. . . . After 9-11, instead of healing and tending to the emotional wounds of the survivors and the American people . . . some Western media . . . constantly talked about the possibility of new terror attacks and kept the people in fear. Is that a service to the American people? . . .

Why was the media, instead of conveying a feeling of security and providing peace of mind, giving rise to a feeling of insecurity? Some believe that the exaggerations paved the way—and were the justification—for an attack on Afghanistan.

Again I refer to the role of media. . . . Correct dissemination of information and honest reporting of a story are established tenets. I express my deep regret about the disregard shown by certain Western media for these principles. The main pretext for an attack on Iraq was the existence of WMDs.

This was repeated incessantly—for the public to finally believe—and to lay the groundwork for an attack on Iraq. Will the truth not be lost in a contrived climate?

Mr. President, in countries around the world, citizens provide for the expenses of governments so that their governments in turn are able to serve them.

The question here is: What have the hundreds of billions of dollars spent every year to pay for the Iraqi campaign produced for the citizens?

As your excellency is aware, in some states of your country, people are living in poverty. Many thousands are homeless, and unemployment is a huge problem. These problems exist—to a larger or lesser extent—in other countries as well. With these conditions in mind, can the gargantuan expenses of the campaign—paid from the public treasury—be explained and be consistent with the aforementioned principles?

What has been said are some of the grievances of the people around the world in our region and in your country. But my main contention—I am hoping you will agree to some of it—is:

Those in power have a specific time in office and do not rule indefinitely, but their names will be recorded in history and will be constantly judged in the immediate and distant futures. The people will scrutinize our presidencies.

Did we manage to bring peace, security and prosperity for the people or insecurity and unemployment?

How long must the people of the world pay for the incorrect decisions of some rulers? How much longer will the specter of insecurity—raised from the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction—haunt the people of the world? How much longer will the blood of innocent men, women and children be spilled on the streets and people’s houses destroyed over their heads?

Are you pleased with the current condition of the world? Do you think present policies can continue?

If billions of dollars spent on security, military campaigns and troop movement were instead spent on investment and assistance for poor countries, promotion of health, combating different diseases, education and improvement of mental and physical fitness, assistance to the victims of natural disasters, creation of employment opportunities and production, development projects and poverty alleviation, establishment of peace, mediation between disputing states and extinguishing the flames of racial, ethnic and other conflicts where would the world be today?

Would not your government and your people be justifiably proud? Would not your administration’s political and economic standing have been stronger? And . . . would there have been an ever-increasing global hatred of the American government?

All prophets speak of peace and tranquility for man—based on monotheism, justice and respect for human dignity. Do you not think that if all of us come to believe in and abide by these principles, that is, monotheism, worship of God, justice, respect for the dignity of man, belief in the [End Times], we can overcome the present problems of the world—that are the result of disobedience to the Almighty and the teachings of prophets—and improve our performance?

Do you not think that belief in these principles promotes and guarantees peace, friendship and justice? Do you not think that the aforementioned written or unwritten principles are universally respected? Will you not accept this invitation?

That is a genuine return to the teachings of prophets to monotheism and justice to preserve human dignity and obedience to the Almighty and His prophets.

Mr. President, history tells us that repressive and cruel governments do not survive. God has entrusted the fate of man to them. The Almighty has not left the universe and humanity to their own devices. Many things have happened contrary to the wishes and plans of governments. These things tell us that there is a higher power at work and all events are determined by Him. Can one deny the signs of change in the world today?

The people of the world are not happy with the status quo and pay little heed to the promises and comments made by a number of influential world leaders. Many people around the world feel insecure and oppose the spreading of insecurity and war and do not approve of and accept dubious policies.

The people are protesting the increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots and the rich and poor countries. The people are disgusted with increasing corruption. The people of many countries are angry about the attacks on their cultural foundations and the disintegration of families. They are equally dismayed with the fading of care and compassion.

The people of the world have no faith in international organizations because their rights are not advocated by these organizations.

Liberalism and Western-style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems.

We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking toward a main focal point—that is Almighty God.

Undoubtedly through faith in God and the teachings of the prophets, the people will conquer their problems. My question for you is, “Do you not want to join them?”

Mr. President, whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating toward faith in the Almighty and justice and the will of God will prevail over all things.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

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Jews behind Da Vinci Code

By Rev. Ted Pike

Almost everyone realizes the Da Vinci Code is an unprecedented attack on Christianity and Jesus Christ. But most people don’t know that the media giants orchestrating this attack are Jewish.

Sony Corporation, the force behind the Da Vinci Code movie, is the eye of this Jewish promotional octopus. In the late 1980s, Sony of Japan bought out Metro Goldwyn Meyer, Columbia Pictures, and United Artists. Former president of Jewish-owned CBS, Howard Stringer (a Jew), became second in command of Sony International. He is chair and CEO of Sony of America. 1

Sony of America is dominated by Jewish names. Emily Susskind is president. Robert Wiesenthal is executive VP and chief financial officer; Nicole Seligman is executive VP and general counsel. Phil Weiser is CTO and senior VP. Michael Fidler Jr. is senior VP. Jay Samit is general manager of Connect. Gretchen Griswold is director of corporate communications. 2

Sony’s subsidiary, Columbia Pictures, maker of the Da Vinci Code movie, is headed by Amy Pascal, a Jew. She is also chairman of Sony’s Motion Picture Group. 3 The producer of the film is Brian Grazer, a Jew.

The screenplay was written by well-known, Jewish screenwriter Akiva Goldsman.

A MEDIA OCTOPUS

While originating with Sony, the Da Vinci Code’s promotion is a many-pronged attack on Christianity coming from the Jewish media community.

Sony worked closely with NBC in promotion of NBC/Universal’s anti-Christ Book of Daniel last winter. Now NBC, presided over by its Jewish head of television programming, Jeff Zukor, has lavishly promoted Sony’s Da Vinci Code movie on NBC. This past week, Today Show host Matt Lauer led the nation on a European “treasure hunt” in the steps of the Code. CBS, presided over by Jewish Sumner Redstone, and ABC, by Jewish Michael Eisner, have helped build a firestorm of public curiosity about the book and movie.

MEGA BOOK SALES

The largest Jewish publishing houses reap staggering profits from sales of Da Vinci Code books. Jewish Joel Klein is chairman of American operations of Bertelsmann A.G., the largest publishing conglomerate in the world. Random House, which the Encyclopedia Judaica confirms is Jewish-owned and controlled, is part of this consortium, benefiting by massive distribution advantages. 4 Random House owns rights to produce all large-print copies of the Da Vinci Code. As a division of Random House, Doubleday owns rights to produce all regular-print and special collector’s editions of the book. Finally, Anchor Books, another venerable Jewish publishing house and subsidiary of Random House completes this Jewish monopoly by printing all paperback copies.

Jewish-controlled magazines also hype the Code. Some 50 popular magazines, including Time, Life, and People, are owned by Time/Warner, with Jewish Norman Pearlstein, editor in chief. Newsweek, published by Jewish Donald Graham’s Washington Post, has featured recent conspicuous articles enticing millions to purchase the book or see the movie.

Articles too numerous to mention continue to emerge from Jewish-controlled newspapers. These include those owned by the Samuel Newhouse chain, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the New York Review of Books, the Village Voice, etc. All have been intensifying interest in the Da Vinci Code’s blasphemous message. The New York Times praised the book as “impeccably researched,” despite the Code’s outrageous claims, including that the Roman Catholic Church burned five million women at the stake. These media voices, which reflected so gravely on possible anti-Semitism in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, have not a word of concern about the Code’s rabid anti-Christianity. That’s because they share it.

ATTACKS ON CHRIST CONVERGE

In a previous e-alert, I documented how Jews helped the National Geographic Society to bring the “Gospel of Judas” blasphemy to the attention of the world (See, “Judas: Historic Jewish Hero”). I revealed how NGS’ prestigious Codex advisory panel, the driving force behind promotion of this sacrilege, is top heavy with Jewish names.

Such fevered Christ-bashing continues a pattern of stepped-up attacks by Jewish activists over the past six months:

* Last November, Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, attacked politically involved Christian conservatives as a threat to freedom. He vilified the Southern Baptist Convention for allowing witnessing to Jews. In his recent book, Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism, he accused Christians who witnessed to Jews of being anti-Semitic. The New Testament, he rails, is a lying, hateful, hurtful book, ultimately responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews in World War II. (See, “ADL’s Foxman: New Testament is Anti-Semitic”)

* Last December, in CBS’ 48 Hours special, “The Mystery of Christmas,” CBS dramatized the possibility that Christ was a bastard. (See, “More Christian Bashing from Media this Easter?”)

* This winter, NBC’s Book of Daniel, authorized by Jeff Zukor, trashed Jesus and the Christian family. (See, “Who’s Behind NBC’s ‘Book of Daniel’?”)

* Also this winter, Jewish activist Mikey Weinstein was successful in his suit against the Air Force Academy, banning chaplains there from using the name of Jesus in public prayers. He was assisted by Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, highly placed ethical consultant to both the Navy and Air Force, in upholding such an end of free speech. (See, “Correction: Speech at Air Force Academy Not Free”)

EVANGELICALS WON’T IDENTIFY THEIR ENEMY

One would think evangelical leaders, clearly under attack by Jewish activists in high places, would at least inform Christians of the identity of those who assail them and their Savior.

This is not the case. Evangelical and new-right leaders are silent concerning the Jewish origins of present attacks on free speech, Christian witnessing, the New Testament, and the integrity of Jesus Christ.

Why this incredible silence? Evangelicals won’t identify their attackers as Jewish because of a centuries-old superstition. They believe a divine curse will fall on any person or nation who criticizes Jews. The Biblical promise to Abraham, “I will bless those that bless thee and I will curse them that curse thee,” (Genesis 12:3) is taken to mean that no matter what evil or injustice Jews commit, Christians must only bless them, never criticize.

This is flatly contrary to Scripture.

The Bible teaches that godly reproof and warning are not curses but the greatest gifts that can be given to any sinner. Reproof brings with it the possibility of repentance, saving a soul from an eternity in hell!

It was with such a desire to bless Jews, that the Hebrew prophets, including Isaiah and John the Baptist, fiercely reproved the Jewish people and their leaders for sin. Does the Bible consider such fearless truth-telling to be anti-Semitic? Does it record terrible curses descending upon such prophets?

Quite the contrary, God’s curses did descend on those false prophets who flattered the Jews, exactly as do modern-day evangelicals. In the time of Elijah, compromising prophets cooed unconditional blessings on Ahab and Jezebel. Today Jerry Falwell, John Hagee, and Hal Lindsey lavish blessings on the vilest of Jewish sinners including arrogant, violent men like Shamir, Begin and Sharon.

A CULT OF ISRAEL-WORSHIP

Christ’s followers 2,000 years ago viewed His crucifixion from afar. They were impotent to restrain evil Jewish leaders who had Him killed. Today, evangelicals are paralyzed from really striking a blow against those who now publicly re-crucify the name and reputation of Jesus. Yes, they write letters and emails and perhaps boycott TV sponsors. Their intellectuals argue against the fallacies of the Da Vinci Code. But no one points a prophetic, bony finger at the Jewish media moguls, identifying their racial and religious origin. No one says like Nathan to the adulterous David, “You are the man!” (2 Sam. 12:7)

Incredibly as Jewish anti-Christ activism surrounds and overlays Christianity, the silence within the Church only becomes more deafening. About all that can be said then, is that when “Israel first” leaders and their flocks are at last herded into gulags to be slaughtered, few groups of people in history will have worked harder to ensure their own destruction.

PAL passenger breaks her leg

 A friend in the US sent me an email regarding a Filipino passenger who met an accident while on board a Philippine Airlines flight from Los Angeles to the Philippines. The passenger broke her leg when the plane encountered a strong "air pocket."

According to my friend,  PAL did not have medical attendants on board. Not even a first aid that is necessary for somebody with a broken leg. And PAL refused to pay.

Edu Lopez

Sex slaves in Germany’s World Cup

HELP STOP GERMANY'S PROSTITUTION OF WOMEN DURING THE WORLD CUP

Women to be Trafficked as Sex Slaves to the World Cup in Germany

Your help urgently needed to stop this outrage . . . .

Dear Colleague,

I urgently need you to read this email regarding an alarming development in Germany and then
FORWARD IT TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW who will help us prevent this unfolding tragedy.

From June 9 – July 9, 2006, just a few weeks from now, 12 German cities will host the world
soccer championship World Cup Games.

Approximately 3 million soccer fans – mostly men – will attend. With official support from
the German government, up to 40,000 young women will be "imported" from Central
and Eastern Europe into Germany to "sexually service" the men.

These women come from desperately poor circumstances. According to reports, most will not
speak German. Most are being "sex trafficked" against their wills.  They are told
that they are going to be models, waitresses, or some other harmless occupation.  Many will
be brutally assaulted by intoxicated fans.

Whatever their circumstances, each and every one of these young women is someone's
daughter, a child of God and deserves our protection!

They DO NOT DESERVE to be exploited and sentenced to a life of misery to satisfy the sexual
appetites of soccer fans.

This is a massive assault on women and should be opposed by every Christian and every person
who believes in human dignity! What makes this crime particularly appalling is the open
support it is receiving from the German government. The same government that likes to
lecture America on morality!

  a.. Prostitution is legal in Germany. But their legal red light districts will be too
small for the thousands of sport/sex tourists attending the World Cup games. The German sex
industry has erected a massive prostitution complex for the "booming business"
expected during the games.

  b.. The Germans have already built a mega brothel in Berlin, right next to the main World
Cup venue to accommodate 650 male clients. Wooden "sex huts" called
"performance boxes" that look like toilets have been built in fenced-in areas the
size of a football field, with condoms, showers and parking for the buyers and a special
focus on protecting their "anonymity."
  c.. It is estimated that as many as 30% of the soccer fans will visit prostitutes "at
least once.  Sexual activity on such a massive scale is highly likely to spread STD's.
Some of the infected fans will come back to the U.S. — and we could have another major
flare up of HIV/AIDS as well as other STD's.

C-FAM, speaking for millions of Christians around the world is conducting this urgent,
massive, self perpetuating email campaign to international public support against this
outrage.

PLEASE – ADD YOUR NAME AND VITAL INFORMATION TO THE ATTACHED PETITION AND RETURN IT TO ME
HERE AT C-FAM. We are urgently collecting names of concerned individuals all over the world
to be delivered to

  a.. The German Mission to the United Nations,
  b.. The German Embassy in the United States,
  c.. The German Mission to the European Parliament,
  d.. Our pro-family friends in the German Parliament.
  e.. We will also send them to the governing body of the World Cup Games.

PLEASE do it now – the World Cup games will begin just a few weeks from today.

THEN PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL AND ATTACHED PETITION TO EVERY CARING CHRISTIAN AND PERSON OF
CONSCIENCE YOU KNOW!

If everyone I'm writing to today responds as energetically as they can we can
conceivably deliver a final petition to the German government containing MILLIONS OF NAMES
from around the world.

And that's the kind of massive effort it will take to prevent this crime against 40,000
young women subjected to the horrors of prostitution.

PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE THIS EMAIL. DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF THINKING SOMEONE ELSE WILL
"TAKE CARE OF THIS PROBLEM." Your voice does make a difference and is urgently
needed today.

Thank you! God bless you for your help. Please remember this vital mission in your prayers.

Austin Ruse
President, C-FAM

Biggest mall

As the headlines shout breaking news of more than 2000 dead in an earthquake tremor in Java, Indonesia, I move around myself in a chaotic stroll at the newly opened SM MALL OF ASIA down south at Pasay City, Philippines.
This is one of the biggest malls, if not the biggest, that I have ever seen. Bigger than any mall in the US, Australia, Japan, Korea, Hongkong or Singapore, it dwarfs another giant of a mall SM MEGA MALL in Ortigas by as much as 5:1. The architecture is very modern, with appropriate escalators lining the different floors, but I noted they should have provided escalators connecting the parking lots rather than the measly 4 sets of elevators being swamped by a sea of families emanating from the parking lots, all eager to rush to the shops. One has to wait as well in a long line of eager-beavers, and most of us decide to hit the stairs becoming impatient from the long wait for elevators.
The humungous 6-storey structure is actually constructed from 3 separate buildings that are bridged together, has hundreds of shops to buy from, and thousands of people strolling and buying in a mass of humanity that was reminiscent of the Sta. Cruz/Avenida Crowds of the late 70s or 80s before the MRT came into existence.
With so many space to walk around and hundreds of shops, hardware stores, pharmacists, boutiques, toy stores, food shops, giant moviehouses, the sprawling mall however seemed overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands that trooped to its shops today exactly 7 days after it opened with no less than the Philippine president Mrs. Arroyo cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
The glaring advantage of this mall to all the other malls all over the world is its wonderful vista of the seas at its back. The mall stretches back through the reclaimed coastal land facing the famed sunset of Manila Bay, just overlooking at a seemingly near distance the tourist baluarte of Corregidor Island. The tadpole shaped tourist destination seemed to be waving from a small distance, suddenly appearing so near since this reclaimed land is stretched much further towards the Manila Bay more than the old reclaimed lands of PICC and Cultural Centers. A sprawling baywalk separates the sea to this behemoth of a mall, providing family spaces for strolling and jogging for a population even as big as that of the whole metromanila. Proper management and securing the place would make it another tourist destination for Metromanila. To put the idea across, this mall and the surrounding areas around it is simply a behemoth of a mall.
Parking has instantly become a problem. As I negotiated around the structure, all open spaces around it are being occupied by a steady stream of cars already parking even on the unpaved grounds, causing a spiral of loose soils in a dustbin. People doesnt seem to mind, the train of thousands of cars continue to arrive, and searching for a better parking, I negotiated around for about 10 minutes noting that there were 2 internal parking structures on the North and South sides of the buildings. Finding the South parking still open and available, i managed to get in and park but only at the sixth/open floor, and only after a long wait in a queau of automobiles all trying to get into the structure. Despite the many guards trying to handle the traffic, this was just too much volume of cars for any one to handle. Just 7 days after it opened, all the wide roads(about 6-laners already!!!) are already full of traffic. EDSA coming in and going out are all full, one has to wait for
some 20 minutes before they can move. He who designed this mall has failed to see the gargantuan vehicular traffic volumes and has failed to provide for a bridging fly-over across DMACAPAGAL highway and another one at EDSA to handle this vehicular volume. But even the nearby restaurant strips along Diosdado Macapagal intersecting with EDSA are also full, parkways brimming with parked cars, and endless stream of people coming in and going out of the restaurants and eateries. The gasoline stations by the corner are doing very brisk business.
Back at the MALL OF ASIA, public transport buses, taxis and jeeps have been provided a parking system infront of the mall but no, hey, there's just too many people once again crowding each other out.
I tried to get some drinks from the many tiendas along the corridors of the mall, but the queaus are just too long. Finally we lined up along with many at the spanking new Jolibee store, and after about 10 minutes got our drinks, but the line doesnt seem to shorten. As soon as a customer leaves the counter another 10 replaces him. The manager tells me they are simply stumped with the huge number of customers daily, and specially on weekends, their sales are so far above average, but they are really very tired at the end of the day.
The countless faces one sees moving all around are in every store, be that the hardware, the furniture, the food shops, the perfumeries, the haluhalo outlets, even at the car display areas on the ground floor. Since they carry shopping bags as they move, it would be safe to think that they are spending here.
We talked about returning tomorrow Sunday, but then the ground floor is already preparing the stage for the GMA-7 starstudded show to be broadcast live on channel 7. One can just imagine the enormous crowds all wanting to be there on Sunday. It would not be farfetched to believe that this structure will surely outdo any other venue available for entertainment, social and political movements and rallies.
My wife pulls me aside, and we decide to drive home already. We left feeling dizzy from the monstrosity of the edifice and the tireless stream of humanity coming in in waves after waves after waves. Tiring as it is, this place is just too much to handle.
We are told that this mall alone is successfully employing about 10,000 people today, not counting the thousands of construction workers it had employed previously for many years for the building of the edifice. Just looking at the pasillos, just for the janitors alone to clean and mop the floors would have needed a thousand daily, not counting the hundreds of security personnel.
Conveniently located within is another call center that has about 4000 seats, surely providing moneyed salarymen and women the impetus to hit all the stores around and let go of their shopping moneys in an endless orgy of shopping and eatingout. And since they have night shifts, even in the evenings daily all the stores within will find buyers of their wares just from the callcenter agents.
SM has another winner here again.
Meantime, reports have it that SM is also opening Clark's, Bacolod's and many other SMs all around the Philippines within the next 3 months. It also plans to open one as well in China.
One wonders where Pinoys are getting their moneys these days. At the rate the malls are full to the brim, the OFW money must really be pouring in. Or is it the call centers? And the hundreds of mining areas all around the country being opened now are just beginning to hire people. 

Are we ready for takeoff?

Rene Pamintuan 

     

Missed the bullrun

I could have unloaded my shares when the stock market was on its highest peak.  I missed to sell my shares and could have earned more.  After a series of declines, the market has bottomed out and then I will have to wait until such time that the market would go up. The question is when is that time.  

In the equities play, you don't have to be greedy.  You have to watch closely the fundamentals and macro economics that could affect investors' sentiment.  A friend of mine who bought mining shares before the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutinality of the mining act has the reason to celebrate.  After the high court ruling, mining shares doubled and investors gobbled up the leading mining stocks.  Why? prospects are good for the mining industry.  Investors are coming in to invest in the country's mining industry.  The Philippines is only second to Africa in gold and copper production. 

         Investors are cautious and awaiting positive news as the equities remainvolatile following last week’s rebound after several days of correction.	 The composite index closed 71 points higher as the market bottomed out aheadof the 2,200-point support, says BPI Securities.
	 Several gainers were Bank of Phil Island, Ayala Land, Equitable PCI Bank,
Globe Telecom, PLDT and SM Investments.
         BPI Securities noted that favorable share prices and positive
short-term technical position may have tipped the scale in favor of position
takers. The market's gains had taken the index right at resistance of 2,300
points. 
         “Market momentum may push the index past this resistance level but
sustainability of gains remain questionable given the market's recent
volatility. Demand remains evident, however, recent volatility may induce
greater caution,” says BPI.
          AB Capital says investors remain concerned on what the Bangko Sentral
officials will be doing in its next policy meeting given the past week’s
adverse local developments. 
          “The peso has weakened near the P53: $1.00 level and threats of
inflation further creeping up arose as crude oil rose continued to rise above
$71 per barrel.”
           BSP officials’ earlier comments, that interest rates now are “too
low”, did not help the situation. 
          “These factors have strengthened fears that given all these
pressures, BSP may raise local rates in their next meeting next month.
Overnight borrowing and lending rates have been unchanged at 7.5 percent and
9.75 percent since the third quarter of last year, while T-bill rates slightly
moved up to 5 percent in the last auction.”
          “While inflation figures have remained within their expectations in
the first five months, full impact from the 12 percent last February and rising
oil prices, will continue to fan a rate hike option,” says AB Capital.
           The U.S. economy which consumes 25 percent of world oil showed
better than expected strength, growing 5.3 percent in the first quarter, its
fastest expansion rate in 2.5 years. 
           Last week, the price of crude dropped by 4.9 percent on fears that
higher raw material prices would raise global inflation.  
           Commodity demand has surged year to date because of economic growth
in China and India as well. Supply risks from the geopolitical situation in
Iran continued to support crude prices.
            AB Capital noted that the global markets continued to roll from the
interest rate punch in the US,  knocking down the PSEi back towards the 2,240
level within the week before recovering on Friday near the 2,300 mark. 
           “This is the third straight week that the local market has been
down, bringing it to oversold territory on a technical perspective.”
            Reports of massive redemptions from the instantly famous Unit
Investment Trust Funds (UITFs) also accelerated the local market’s drop,
fuelling a selling spree in local equities. Week-on-week, the local market lost
2.5 percent in value as it closed at the 2,300 level.-- Edu Lopez

Faith Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

A spiritual disposition may provide a "buffer" against
hypertension, according to the largest all African-American study on
the relationship between blood pressure and an active faith.

Presented last week in New York City at the 21st Annual Scientific
Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, the study focused on
the effects of religious activity on both diastolic and systolic blood
pressure in more than 5,000 African Americans.

"Cardiovascular health disparities among African Americans are widely
recognized, and hypertension is the most prominent risk factor in the
development of cardiovascular disease in African Americans," said
study author Dr. Sharon B. Wyatt, of the University of Mississippi
Medical Center in Jackson.

Known as Jackson Heart Study, the research involved 5,302 participants
aged 35 to 85, two-thirds of whom were women.

The researchers asked participants how often they attended church,
watched religious services and immersed themselves in meditation or
private prayer.

Other questions addressed participants' interaction with the spiritual
in their daily lives and whether they looked to a higher power during
times of stress.

Those who professed greater religious participation were more likely
to be classified as hypertensive. On average, they had higher body
mass index scores and were less likely to take prescribed medications.

Nevertheless, the religiously active participants had significantly
lower blood pressure, on average, than those who said religion played
a small or no role in their lives.

Female gender, lower socio-economic status, increasing age and lower
levels of cortisol — a biological marker of stress — were all
associated with greater religious participation.

"Our findings show that the integration of religion and spirituality
— attending church and praying — may buffer individuals exposed to
stress and delay the deleterious effects of hypertension," Wyatt said.

The results are in agreement with previous studies suggesting
religious activity has a physiological benefit. But while praying may
help people stay healthy, being prayed for doesn't seem to have the
same effect.

A recent study of coronary bypass surgery found that prayers offered
by strangers did not improve patient outcomes. On the contrary,
patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of
post-operative complications.

Wyatt stressed that the Massachusetts study investigated prayer
interventions on outcome, not the effects of religious activity and
belief as a part of lifestyle.

According to Jeffery Dusek, an author of the heart surgery study, "the
relaxation response improves health and well-being in individuals with
hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions."

Dusek, who is associate research director of the of the Mind/Body
Medical Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Chestnut
Hill, Massachusetts, told Discovery News that the "relaxation
response" may be evoked when individuals pray for themselves.

"Depending on the individual, the repeated phrase may be secular or it
may be a prayer," he added.
 

Oprah’s cardiologist is a Filipina

 Heart-to-heart with Oprah’s cardiologist
Ted Regencia, Oct 05, 2005
CHICAGO, IL – Because of “poor diet,” many Filipinos
are vulnerable to heart disease, the number one killer
in the United States.

Take that valuable word of caution from Dr. Annabelle
Santos Volgman, one of the top cardiologists in the
country. Volgman is the director of the
Electrocardiography Services at Rush University
Medical Center in Chicago. She also happens to be the
cardiologist of TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

In an exclusive interview, the Marikina-born, New
York-raised, medical practitioner laid out the
scientific facts and enumerated crucial life-saving
measures to protect one’s heart.

"Eighty percent of strokes and heart attacks are
preventable,” Volgman declared. “And if more people
knew that it's in their hands to prevent them, I think
they will change their lifestyle."

For Filipino families, that change of lifestyle starts
in the kitchen.

In her words, "Filipinos have terrible diet" because
of food rich in cholesterol and salt. Cholesterol
blocks the arteries and restricts normal blood flow in
the body, while high concentration of salt induces
high-blood pressure: A life-threatening, if not a
killer combination.

"Avoid them altogether if you really want to avoid
heart attacks and strokes,” she said.

For lechon-loving, Chinese buffet-raiding Filipino
folks, that piece of advice may be hard to take.
Sounds like an equivalent to solitary confinement or
deportation. Volgman herself admitted that because it
is a deeply-ingrained habit, that has become part of
the culture, eating deliciously greasy and salty
Filipino food is so hard to give up.

“But that is a choice that people have to make," she
said.

Five major factors

Volgman said there are five major factors contributing
to heart disease: family history, cigarette smoking,
high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

As in any other ethnic groups, those factors above may
be present within the Filipino community; but because
of the Filipino eating habits, the level of risk moves
a notch higher. Other contributing factors include
stress, obesity and lack of exercise.

"In order to prevent heart disease, you have to have a
change in lifestyle,” she stressed.

Another essential part of that change is exercise. She
said walking for, say, 30 minutes every day makes a
lot of difference. Volgman practices what she
preaches.

See a doctor

"If you cannot change your lifestyle, you need to see
a physician who can put you on the right medication,"
Volgman said. "If they go to a doctor to check their
cholesterol and blood pressure; and listen to their
doctor to take medication or to decrease their salt
intake, it would make a huge difference. It will save
their lives."

While heart attacks remain the number one killer in
America, the actual number of cases has declined.

"People are much more aware of how to prevent them.
There are also less cigarette smokers, although it
remains a big problem," she said.

"There are also excellent medications. So a lot more
people are having less heart attacks, because they are
taking medications." However, she noted, that
healthcare is also becoming expensive. And research is
also becoming very expensive. On the bright side, she
said, "we wouldn't be able to save a lot of lives if
we hadn't done these research studies."

Listening to Dr. Volgman, it's apparent that medicine
is her passion.

Solid academic background

As a young girl growing up in Marikina, she has always
wanted to be a doctor. Moving to the U.S. at the age
of 11 paved the way to achieving her dream.

Since elementary, Anabelle excelled in the academics.
“I got the right genes from my mother, Purificacion,
and father, Raymundo,” she proudly declared.

In 1984, she graduated from the Columbia University
College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

“I remember when I went to New York. We lived in
Washington Heights and we were passing by Columbia. I
told my dad, ‘I like that place. I want to go there.
And I did’.”

Following her graduation, then Dr. Santos had her
medical training at the University of Chicago
Hospitals and Clinics for Internal Medicine Residency.
For her Cardiology Fellowship Training, she went to
Northwestern University Memorial Hospital. She
eventually ended up at Rush University, where she also
serves in the faculty as a professor in medicine.

While at Rush, she landed a very high profile patient,
when a fellow Columbia University graduate, Elena
Campbell, a gynecologist at Northwestern University
Hospital referred to her, Oprah Winfrey.

“She was having some pre-menopausal palpitations and
she was very concerned, so her gynecologist referred
her to me,” Dr. Volgman said. That meeting was highly
publicized by the mega-entertainer in her magazine O.

“She's an incredible woman. But it was also difficult
because I have to remove the fact that she's this huge
personality and just focus on the person,” Volgman
recalled her first meeting with the superstar. “I
think my office was more excited, while I’m the one
with all the pressure and the stress.”

"She's doing all the right things and she work outs a
lot," Volgman said of Oprah, declaring her as "very
healthy."

Family first

Despite her level of achievement, Volgman remains
unaffected by all the attention and the awards she
gained through her profession. To her, her family
remains the "first priority."

The doctor is married to Keith A. Volgman, a
Chicago-based lawyer, and they have two children
Robert, 13 and Caroline, 9. Son Robert is part of the
cast of "Carmen" at the Lyric Opera. The family lives
in the upscale neighborhood of Lincoln Park in
Chicago.

"My family always comes first," she said.

Comment on “Da Vinci’d”

Author : Seven Star Hand (IP: 12.7.121.43 , p43.tc1.pacinfo.com)

E-mail : sevenstarhand@aim.com

URI : http://www.geocities.com/sevenstarhand/

Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=12.7.121.43

Here is the key to understanding what the Vatican/Papacy fears…

Yes, the DaVinci Code novel is better than the movie. Both are no more accurate as a literal version of history than is the New Testament.

In other words, none of them is the literal truth, which is a key fact of the story and ancient history. The primary sub-plot is about purposeful symbology being used to encode hidden meanings, exactly like the Bible and related texts.

Arguing about whether the DaVinci Code, Gospel of Judas, or the Bible are accurate history is a Machiavellian red herring.There is a foolproof way to verify the truth and expose religious deceptions.

It is the common thread connecting the ancient Hebrews, Yahad/Essene, Jews, Gnostics, Cathars, Templars, Dead Sea Scrolls, DaVinci Code, and others who have all been targets of Rome’s evil machinations. What the Vatican and its secret society cohorts don’t want you to understand is that the ancient Hebrew symbology in all of these texts purposely encodes and exposes the truth about them.

Furthermore, the structure of ancient symbology verifiably encodes the rules to decode messages built with it. This is what they most fear you will discover. It is undeniable the New Testament is framed by ancient Hebrew symbolism and allegory.

The same is evidenced in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic texts, biblical apocrypha, DaVinci Code, and other related texts. All ancient religious, mystical, and wisdom texts have been shrouded in mystery for millennia for one primary reason: The ability to understand their widely evidenced symbology was lost in antiquity. How do we finally solve these ages-old mysteries? To recast an often-used political adage: "http://www.geocities.com/sevenstarhand/preface.html" It’s [the] symbology, stupid!

It is amazing the Vatican still tries to insist the Gospels are literal truth. It is beyond obvious they are replete with ancient Hebrew symbology. Every miracle purported for Jesus has multiple direct symbolic parallels in other symbolic narratives and traditions. This is the secret held by the ancient Gnostics, Templars, and Cathars, which is presented with dramatic effect in the DaVinci Code. None of these narratives or stories were ever intended as the literal truth.Likewise, the following Washington Post article "http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/04/AR2006030401369.html" The Book of Bart describes the many embellishments made to the New Testament over the centuries, demonstrating it is not original, infallible, or truthful.

What then is the purpose of "faith" but to keep good people from seeking to understand truth and wisdom? It's no wonder the Vatican fears the truth more than anything else. Now comes justice, hot on its heels… (symbolism…)

Da Vinci’d and confused

First posted 10:59pm (Mla time) May 19, 2006
By Pepe Diokno
Inquirer

Editor's Note: Published on page C2 of the May 20, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

THIS IS GREAT.
Everyone seems to want to talk about “The Da Vinci Code.” (And boy, must Columbia Pictures be happy.) It’s been all over this paper, all over TV and on the Internet. It’s a media frenzy!
Then again, you already know that. You know all the hoopla surrounding it. The uninitiated don’t even have to flip a page of the book to know what it’s about. We all know its claims, and the counter-claims. And we also know how irate some people are getting over it.
There are groups who want it banned, groups who want a disclaimer inserted before the film, and a government official who says it shouldn’t even be talked about lest we “get struck by lightning.” (That was last week’s “Proof our government officials are modern men” moment.)
I’m not saying these people are crazy. I know they’re not backward-thinking, close-minded people, who are trying to protect their own glass towers. No. They just obviously care about the youth of today, whose minds shouldn’t be corrupted.


yes, the youth. We’ve heard from theologists, and a bevy of other “-ists,” but we have not heard much from us young people. So I gathered a few Super friends, and held a discussion. (Yes, we are capable of that.) Here they are:
Joseph Villanueva is 19, is a student at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), and hopes to major in Business Economics.
Anne Silva, 17, is an incoming freshman at the Ateneo de Manila University.
CJ de Silva, 18, is a visual artist, and has had four one-woman exhibits. She is a fine arts student at the University of the Philippines.
Raya Martin is a 21-year-old filmmaker, has won the Ishmael Bernal Award for Young Cinema, was a participant at the Berlinale Talent Campus at the Berlin International Film Fest; and has won the Kodak Achievement Award for 35mm Best Thesis.
We talked about issues related to the book. If you pull your attention away from the “experts” for a moment, you might hear voices that live in the real world.
Why do you think people are so freaked out over the Da Vinci Code?
Anne: I think people are freaked out at movies that deal with religion because we’re so defensive about it. We don’t want our religion to be questioned, maybe because we don’t know what we believe in in the first place. We’re threatened that we’ll stop believing once we see things from a different point of view.
Raya: “The Da Vinci Code” really isn’t about the Magdalene proposition or conspiracy within the Church, because there’s been other theories sprouting that aren’t directly connected to the Da Vinci issues. I think it’s about questioning the Church and old institutional traditions. Human society is still largely conservative and challenging older notions and beliefs naturally shakes the human system.
Do you think the book, in any way, attacks one’s faith?
Joseph: Jesus Christ is a very sacred figure in the Christian religion and to say that he married a woman and had children with her is quite blasphemous, from a Christian’s point of view. However, I do realize that Dan Brown’s book is intended as a work of fiction and not as a deliberate attack on the Christian faith.
CJ: It depends on the reader. If the reader lets the book attack his/her faith, then it does attack one’s faith. But if the reader takes it just as another fiction novel, there would be no attack.
Anne: I think it attacks one’s Christian religion, but not exactly faith.
Raya: Faith is an abstract thing. I think the book bases much on concrete ideas, material ideas. If one’s faith is dependent on that, then in a way yes. But you know how that kind of faith goes …
What is faith? Is there a difference between faith and religion?
Raya: Faith is a personal thing. Religion exists in the commune.
Joseph: Yeah. Faith is one’s belief in something, be it a person, a deity, an ideal or any sort of entity. There is a difference between faith and religion. Religion is usually a more structured set of spiritual beliefs, while faith alone does not usually have any sort of set doctrines and dogmas.
CJ: I’ll put it in terms of painting. My passion to paint is my faith. The paper, the watercolor (or any other medium), is my religion. Kumbaga, religion is a vehicle of faith.
Is it possible to have faith without religion? What is your opinion of people who do not adhere to one religion?
CJ: I don’t think that faith without religion is possible. Here’s an analogy: water is faith and religion is the bottle. For water to at least be consumed or “experienced,” we need a bottle — or hand — to drink it from.
On the other hand, I think that people (who don’t adhere to one religion) are just “maximizing” the privilege to choose. Of course each religion demands one’s loyalty, but I think it’s more a political issue than a spiritual one.
Anne: I think it’s possible to have faith without religion. I think people who do not adhere to one religion are probably not satisfied with one religion’s explanations of certain things. By me, they’re okay, as long as they don’t offend anybody or try to shoot down those who are truly religious.
Do you think that all Church teachings are divinely inspired?
Anne: No. Some teachings just stem from man’s insatiable appetite for power. Like the Crusades. True, the Vatican apologized for that, but back then, people thought that killing was correct because the Pope said so. Just shows how even the Church can make faulty teachings. What if what we’re being told to believe now is proved to be erroneous in the future?
CJ: I don’t think all Church teachings are divinely inspired. I consider the Bible as something divinely inspired, but those who teach it, or interpret it would always have biases, or motives, may it be political or personal. Another example is the Spanish period — isn’t it obvious that Church teachings were just icing on top of the cake of colonization?
Do you think God is dismayed or offended by the book?
Anne: If you see it from a religious point of view, you’d say He’s offended because you’re not supposed to question Him; it’s a sin. However, questioning is part of the freedom He has given us. Christianity gives way to religious dialogue, and I think this book should just fall under that. I don’t think it’s right to condemn religions, but if it happens that they condemn us, we’re not supposed to fight back. As the saying goes, “when provoked, respond with love.”
CJ: I don’t think God is offended at the book itself. I think He might be a bit disappointed at those who read it and took it in the wrong way. I think He is sad that there are people whom he gave enough intellect and heart, yet did not use it. But I think God and Jesus are beyond what the Catholic Church teaches. I think they are considerate enough to see that the world is very diverse. So I think they understand.
Did the book, or its premise, offend you in any way?
Joseph: As a Christian, yes I do find the book’s portrayal of Christ offensive to my religious beliefs.
CJ: I think the people who absorb the book so much are the ones who tend to offend. Isn’t it annoying when you meet a Da Vinci code fanatic who keeps on blabbing about the controversial facts the book has, as if it was the only truth in the whole world? That’s offending. When somebody lets you question your faith or disproves it just because he/she read the Da Vinci code, that’s offensive.
But the people who judge the book negatively are also offensive. It’s okay if you express that you didn’t like it because you just simply did not like it. But for people to actually say it’s a bad novel because it features several controversies about the Catholic faith, they’re bad. People who take the book with a close mind are the ones who tend to become offensive.
Raya: I think it’s an interesting perspective to have. Its premise tests one’s openness to views rather than offend.
How old do you think one should be to read the book or watch the movie? (It was given an R18 rating here.)
CJ: It’s not an issue of how old. I’ve met kids who are smart enough to understand the novel or the movie, without getting too obsessed with it. And yet there may be people in their 50’s or 40’s who are not open minded enough to get the novel or the movie. I’m not in the place to tell people what to watch and what not to watch. It’s a personal choice.
What do you think of efforts to ban the movie? (It was recently banned in the City of Manila.)
Anne: They are futile. The more attention is given to it, the more people will become curious and desperate to see it. They’ll find ways. The more it’s suppressed, the more antagonistic people will become.
Joseph: I think it is ridiculous. Most movies produced are bound to offend at least some people, but that does not mean it they should be banned. If you think a movie is going to offend you, then perhaps you should not see it, but there are a lot of people who might not find the movie offensive, and banning the movie would be unfair to them.
CJ: Sorry, but I have to be rude. I think it’s stupid. It’s very offensive to know there are people who actually think they are in the place to tell you what to watch and what not to watch. It’s annoying how there are people that assume the capabilities of Filipinos to understand and process the movie. We are no longer infants who are so naïve and who do not know what’s right and what’s wrong. It makes me feel bad.
Raya: We’ve going back to the medieval times.
Do you think that the government is right to ban movies in general?
Raya: No.
Joseph: In my opinion, the only time a government has the right to ban any movie is during a time of war, when the movie in question could significantly lower the country’s morale. Aside from that, no I do not think a government should ban movies.
Anne: Porn. I’m talking about the kind you see in those really old cinemas; the ones where sexual acts are done in the movie — and in the movie house. If the government can curb that garbage, then maybe we’d have a better society.
CJ: I think it’s wrong. I think in a democratic country like ours, there should always be a choice. Banning a movie doesn’t make Filipinos smarter; it just makes us ignorant.
What do you think of cutting movies? (Censors cutting “questionable” parts of a movie.)
Anne: I think it’s okay, especially in films that are exaggeratedly gory or sexual, but still have good content. I’m a fan of films which are just suggestive and entail the use of your own imagination. It makes you more engaged in watching the movie and analyzing events.
CJ: It’s very disrespectful to the vision of the filmmaker. If the filmmaker puts it in the film, then somehow, it is needed. Cutting scenes equates to cutting the message the film wants to express.
Raya: I’m totally against censorship. It beats the artist’s purpose of freedom of expression. They say we don’t have censorship in the Philippines, but the system clearly has a heavy hand on things.
The Philippine government has banned movies like “Live Show” and “The Last Temptation of Christ.” What do you think this says about Filipino society?
Anne: I think we’re threatened by things we don’t know about. We’re not as educated as we may think we are. When we see these things we don’t know how to deal with, we’d rather not see it at all.
CJ: I think our society is struggling in a battle against ignorance and blind morality. There are people who still see fellow Filipinos as little, naïve kids who are unable to understand these kinds of movies. I also think that we have this “plastic” mentality wanting to mask everything that’s “unpleasant.” Let’s take the movie Live Show. This film was banned for having highly sexual scenes and profanity. But this movie is roughly based on real life situations. Live shows actually happen; people cuss on streets when they’re angry. That’s what draws to me to the conclusion that Filipino society is still immature — it denies the reality instead of facing it. We also don’t try to see things in different perspectives.
Raya: I don’t think this says much about Filipino society but more of a certain controlling class who assumes an authoritative role in society. I think it says a lot about how the government is presumptuous of the society itself. It’s like “they can’t handle it” but really it’s them who can’t. I believe the people are smart enough to assess things by themselves, and it’s really offensive to become in a position and say, “hey, this will shake people’s beliefs.” It’s their faith that’s futile, and that’s why they’re scared.
Will you watch “The Da Vinci Code”?
Joseph: Yes I will. I want to see what all the hype is about, and I must admit that the trailer makes the movie seem really interesting.
CJ: I will. I think it’s a good movie.
Raya: Maybe not because it’s Ron Howard. But I’ll end up watching it anyway one of these days. Haven’t heard anything positive about the movie though. And not just from religious extremists.
Anne: I’d like to watch it, but I can’t yet. &^%* R-18 rating! So I guess I’m stuck with the book. For now.