Filipino Activist Ponders Why S.F. Hosts Streets Named For Those Who Gleefully Killed His Ancestors
|General William Shafter, namesake of Shafter Street. In 1899 he postulated "it may be necessary to kill half the Filipinos" for the other half to ascend from barbarism.|
Aradanas has repeatedly written to Mayor Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel-Newsom -- who has spoken on behalf of next year's "Summer of Peace" events in the city. Aradanas, a U.S. government anthropologist, thought the juxtaposition of a "Summer of Peace" and streets named for men who saw little wrong in wiping out hundreds of thousands of Filipinos as if they were human cockroaches was jarring, and noted so in his letters. After penning his fourth letter to the mayor, he went so far as to hand a paper copy to Hydra Mendoza, Newsom's education adviser, to personally deliver. His months of entreaties haven't resulted in so much as a form letter in return.
Aradanas notes that he thinks the forthcoming "Summer of Peace" is a great concept, and is glad Seibel-Newsom is involved in it -- "but I thought that, while she's at it, she might want to know that streets in this city are named after people who participated in the attempted genocide of the Filipino people."
Among the figures Aradanas does not consider street-worthy:
- Colonel Frederick Funston, a top commander in the Philippines, who once allegedly boasted about hanging 35 Filipinos without trial;
- General Arthur MacArthur (Douglas' father), who was the overall commander of a war rife with atrocities;
- General William Shafter, who uttered the "destroy this village in order to save it" statement of his day: "It may be necessary to kill half the Filipinos in order that the remaining half of the population may be advanced to a higher plane of life than their present semi-barbarous state affords."