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Interview With Singer Joma Sison

By Volt Contreras
Philippine Daily Inquirer
February 1, 2007

Volt Contreras (VC): Magandang araw po mula sa Manila, Ka Joma.

I'm a reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer on assignment to do a light feature on your songs being posted on the 'YouTube' website. I'm referring to 'Bella Ciao' and 'Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa.'

My notes have so far included a comment from one of my friends in the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, its media officer Carl Ala, who noted that your songs' entry into a youth-oriented medium like the Internet could help bring the iconic Joma closer to today's younger generation of Filipinos.

I wish to get your own thoughts about it, sir. Is it valid to say that there's a conscious effort from you at this point in your life, and at this point in our country's history, to reach out to the young who were not even born yet when you began your struggle?

Professor Jose Maria Sision (JMS): Yes, I am conscious of seeking to reach out to the young, especially because they were not yet born when I began my struggle. I always try to reach out to the young because they continue the struggle.

VC: How do you find today's Filipino youth to whom you are apparently addressing your webcast music?

JMS: I find them receptive to revolutionary ideas and revolutionary music. The crisis of the world capitalist system and the domestic ruling system of big compradors and landlords drive an increasing number of them to seek revolutionary change.

VC: For a man in his 60s, a prolific author, political strategist (and survivor), you now seem 'game' enough to become even a 'recording artist' in order to continue spreading your message. Where do you intend to take this from here?

JMS: I will keep on trying to get more people interested in my singing. There is an audience for it in the growing mass movement. The songs What Makes a Hero and In Praise of Martyrs are crowd favorites during protest rallies.

VC: Or should we just take this as a passing diversion, something you did for friends, just a welcome footnote to your assured legacy?

JMS: Not known to many people before, I sang at home to relax. I sang in church when I was a small boy. Some friends have encouraged me since two years ago to do recordings. Of course, my singing is something extra to whatever I have already accomplished.

VC: I was also told by Carl that a ''fan'' of yours first asked permission from your wife and did the actual posting of the two songs on 'YouTube.' Was this really the case?

JMS: My wife and I do not know personally the two persons who posted the two songs. But they are very friendly to me because they defend me against nasty remarks about my revolutionary stand.

VC: What feedback have you received so far?

JMS: The feedback is about my political ideas. It is not at all about the songs or about my singing. I am therefore encouraged to sing.

VC: How has this whole experience figured in your life in exile?

JMS: I am always elated to know that there is an increase of people downloading my songs, whenever I check the You Tube. It is fun to catch the interest of more people.

VC: On behalf of the Inquirer, maraming salamat po at Mabuhay kayo!

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