A Paraguay in Every General by Hadji Balajadia
A Paraguay in Every General….
I will write from the heart to further defend Paraguay and the many Generals he symbolically represents…..
The unconscionable and denigrating statements that were hurled against Paraguay and the conceptualist(s) of the Tunafestival Ad unquestionably promote a culture of exclusion and an ambiance of prejudice not only against him, but also against the “countless poor in spirit” and the un-empowered gays in the city.
The irrational assertion that Paraguay lacks the credibility nor the ‘gravitas’ to endorse the Tunafest is a veiled attempt of Gensan’s ‘elitists’ and ‘ill-informed’ to privilege only the ones who, in their mind,possess the social, political and financial capital,consequently excluding the poor and marginal ones who wish to contribute, in their own humble way, in the Festival. The postures of these arrogant and self-exalting people in Gensan also bespeak a lot about their distorted values of a true General—fame, power, prestige, entitlement, and money!
Paraguay may have none of their worshiped distorted values, but this ordinary General, unfairly judged by some as lunatic, has a golden heart,surviving spirit,and resilient and authentic soul—worthy of emulation by anyone.
His host of critics are ready to fire ugly labels on him, trying so hard to bring him down and the people (Festival Organizers) who believe in him. One can only be moved to defend this pitiful General, a downtrodden, dispossessed and un-empowered gay soul who may not be gifted with angelic wit, but was fairly crowned with heavenly humor.
One can also only bite one’s lips in the face of the sharpness of their words intended to devalue this wonderful soul that unduly faces “unjust muting” by those who think that they are the prime analogates of Gensan citizenry!
I hope they get my discursive point. I boldly say: Paraguay is a symbol of Gensan’s Irony; That in spite of our much flaunted thriving Tuna Industry, there remains to be poor people like Paraguay,who inadvertently expose the “un-eveness” of Gensan’s development! Yet, in spite of their stories of poverty and in the midst of our claimed development,these same people stand on their feet and embrace their standing in life in the spirit of hope, optimism and humility.
I wish to say that: “There is always a Paraguay in each and every General—one that wanders along painful highways of hardships and struggles of life in Gensan, yet choose to surmount these seemingly impregnable realities.
I appeal to our human conscience. Let us not allow anyone to steal from Paraguay and the people he symbolically represents that “General’s birthright” to claim a “space” in the much awaited Festival.
In this sad story of “social muting” of Paraguay and the Paraguays in each and everyone of us, I hope we can all find refuge in a line from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall inherit the kingdom of God!”
It is high time that we, Generals, rethink and re-frame our sense of values in the observance of the Tunafest. Let us always call to mind that the Tunafestival is for “all of us”—for ordinary Generals who, in our own way, ‘build’ General Santos City by virtue of our own hardships,hard work, friendship and struggles.
The Tunafest is for “all”! For the ordinary, simple, and common Generals.
Let us not allow the Festival to be reduced to a mere Tuna Investment Showcase, for the Tunafestival’s nature transcends beyond it.
It is fundamentally,after all, a celebration of our city’s lights and shadows; of abundance and hardships of the people (businessmen and ordinary workers) behind our famed Tuna Industry; of the realities and ironies of our city as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.
Let the Tunafest be our own way of collectively celebrating our passion for excellence in promoting the civic life, culture,heritage, and history, of our City and compassion for our fellow Generals, who in their humble ways bring honor, smiles and friendship.
It is in this premise that I express my utter indignation against anyone who arrogantly preaches sheer discord and ugly mockery of Paraguay–the current icon of Gensan’s Irony. While I respect the unjust opinions of Paraguay’s critics, I will not allow them to spoil our festival. The show must go on!
It is every General’s moral duty to promote neighborly love, respect for individual and cultural differences and social peace for our beloved city, whose sacred bosom gave birth to the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Rolando Navarette, Gerald Anderson, XB Gensan, and even the poor and lowly people like Paraguay.
Let the Paraguays in us come out and paint Gensan red this Tunafestival!
Happy Tunafestival to one and all.
Fulltime Psychology Faculty
Ateneo de Davao University