The Light and the Burning: A Witness to the Filipino Struggle; The Other Side of the Story

Description

60 pages
Contains Illustrations
$3.95
ISBN 0-919599-08-7

Author

Publisher

Year

1982

Contributor

Donalee Moulton-Barrett was a writer and editor in Halifax.

Review

The first line in The Light and the Burning is an eye-opener. “This is not a balanced report,” writes author Derek Evans. He’s right. It’s not a balanced report. Unfortunately, the (mini) book isn’t much of anything.

Evans is concerned with the current plight of the Filipinos under the harsh rule of Ferdinand Marcos, and the role of the Christian church in this harsh world. His look at their plight, and the conditions in which they must live, is superficial and cursory.

The few statistics he uses to verify his position that the Marcos regime is rigid, violent, and non-humanitarian are suspicious. For example, Evans writes, “Documentation gathered by Francis Moore Lappé shows that the percentage of the rural labor force that is landless or near landless in the Philippines is 88%.” However, Evans never explains who Lappé is, on how he gathered his statistics. (The reader may legitimately wonder if Lappé is a friend of Evans or an anti-Marcos advocate, since most of the other people Evans quotes are.)

Most of the time, however, Evans doesn’t rely on statistics. He relies instead on dramatic, bold — and unsubstantiated — statements. One example: “What is happening to the people in terms of death, detention and dispossession cannot be seen as anything other than the selling into slavery of an entire nation.”

Evans also has the bad habit of assuming that his readers know a lot. They may not. (Evans doesn’t even say, for example, where the Philippines are located!)

Evans is also concerned with the role of the Church in the Philippines and wants to spur Canadians to indignation and action. Again his insight is superficial. His advice to Canadians is obvious and simplistic. Be Aware, Speak Out, he says.

Regrettably nothing in The Light and the Burning will convince anyone to be aware and speak out. Evans is preaching to the converted and nothing in his small book will bring more converted to the fold.

Citation

Evans, Derek, “The Light and the Burning: A Witness to the Filipino Struggle; The Other Side of the Story,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/38815.