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Jim Zwick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Fri, 3 Dec 2004 13:43:47 -0500
text/plain (58 lines)
In 1998, the editor of the Philippine Star newspaper in Manila
suggested that Mark Twain be made the focus of Filipino-American
Friendship Day festivities there.  Here's something I wrote about it in
"Mark Twain's Anti-Imperialist Writings in the 'American Century,'" in
Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of
an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999, ed. Angel Velasco Shaw and Luis H.
Francia (NYU Press, 2002):

"New attention was focused on Twain's anti-imperialist writings in the
Philippines during the centennial activities of 1998. In his Centennial
Countdown series in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (29 May), Ambeth
R. Ocampo highlighted his writings on the war in an article entitled
'Mark Twain Took Side of Filipinos.' It was followed by a 4 July
Philippine Star editorial on 'Fil-American Friendship' that quoted a
passage from 'To the Person Sitting in Darkness' and proposed that
Mark Twain should be honored with 'a fitting monument that could
serve as the focal point of every annual Fil-American Friendship Day
commemoration.' That, of course, would represent a break with
colonial traditions. It would honor a 'shared history' of resistance to
imperialism rather than the various stages of imperial conquest,
colonial administration, and neocolonial 'independence' that made 4
July such a significant date in modern Philippine history. To break
with that tradition completely, 30 November might be a more
appropriate day to commemorate the anti-imperialist struggle. In a
fluke of history, Andres Bonifacio, the founder of the Katipunan, and
Mark Twain, one its most outspoken and tenacious American
supporters, were both born on that day."

The historical background is that July 4 was used by the United
States as the date on which William Howard Taft assumed civilian
control of the U.S. colony in 1901, the date Theodore Roosevelt used
to declare the "insurrection" over in 1902, and the date nominal
independence was granted to the colony in 1946.  The Fourth of July
then became Independence Day in the Philippines until the 1960s
when that holiday was changed to June 12 in recognition of the date
Philippine independence was actually declared in 1898.  July 4 then
became Filipino-American Friendship Day.  The Katipunan was the
organization that waged the Philippine Revolution for independence
from Spain and, after 1898, from the United States.  Twain's most
extensive writing about the Katipunan can be found in "Review of
Edwin Wildman's Biography of Aguinaldo" in Mark Twain's Weapons
of Satire: Anti-imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War
(Syracuse U Press, 1992), or as "Thrity Thousand Killed a Million" in
the April 1992 Atlantic Monthly.

In 2000, Cuba announced that Mark Twain would be honored with a
statue in a new Jose Marti Anti-Imperialist Square it was building
opposite the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana.  The square was to
have statues of national heroes from around the world, with the U.S.
represented by statues of Abraham Lincoln, Twain, and Martin Luther
King, Jr. (good company!)  I haven't seen any news on that since
2000, but I assume those statues are now in place.

Does anyone know of other efforts to honor Twain outside the United

Jim Zwick