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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.


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Thursday, November 03, 2016

entry arrow4:31 AM | Frauds and Lies as Mirrors of History



I'm reading Michael Salman's fascinating chapter for Alfred W. McCoy and Francisco A. Scarano's Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State (University of Wisconsin Press, 2009). It's titled "Confabulating American Colonial Knowledge of the Philippines," where he examines the purveyors of fake documents/testimonies and their relationship to the makers/shapers of empires/nations. He focuses specifically on Jose E. Marco’s forgeries and Ahmed Chalabi's lies that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and posits this possibility: leaders [be it in the academe or in politics] often are in "secret" need of purveyors of "lies" to help shape a grand narrative that make possible their ardent beliefs or policies. And right away, I'm thinking: Mocha Uson. Lies and frauds have tremendous staying power: many Filipinos still believe, for example, in the so-called Code of Kalantiaw, and we are still feeling the impact of Chalabi's misdirections. It's easy to call out these lies and dismiss the purveyors, like what William H. Scott did in his grand unmasking of Marco as a fraud in the late 1960s. But Salman also writes that the scholar Akbar Abbas once suggested that “[t]he Fake is a symptom that enables us to address, rather than dismiss, some of the discrepancies of a rapidly developing and ineluctable global order.” Mocha Uson, I guess, is a symptom and must not be dismissed. We will need her as key to understand, one of these days, why our country is the way it is right now. Fake news is aggravating -- but I guess it can tell us something ironically truthful about the way we live now, which Paul Morrow in his blog manages to sum up succinctly: "Walang manloloko kung walang magpapaloko."

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