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Wednesday, March 29, 2000

The Golf War

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2000 at 12:00 AM

How does one protest against globalization? March in the street as they did in Seattle? Or make documentaries? After watching this film, you might want to hang up your Birkenstocks and grab a camera.

Directors Jen Schradie and Matt DeVries journeyed to the Philippines to witness one of the more idiotic of global capitalism’s projects – turning idyllic farm land, worked for centuries by peasants, into soulless resorts for the new rich of the Far East. Everyone, it seems, wants to live in Hilton Head.

The villagers of Hacienda Looc peacefully went about their business until the Philippine government decided to act on a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded report to exploit the area for tourism. That government, a world-renowned kleptocratic nightmare, proceeded to sell the peasants’ land to a well-connected developer without their permission. Then the developers brought poster boy Tiger Woods in to do a promotional tour of other golf courses to stir up some positive publicity.

Many people believe that the first successful clone was a sheep. This film reveals that, in fact, human Xeroxes walk the earth. The mad scientists were none other than Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, the grisly duo who made imperious vulgarity a national institution in the Philippines. A legion of their progeny, overfed and waxy, can be seen shucking and jiving their way through bogus explanations of why golf is good. (The film’s style is coyly transparent, letting the mouthpieces hang themselves.) Instead of tilling soil and fishing, the peasants can serve drinks in the clubhouse, tend the grounds and work as maids or, that old classic from military bases past, hookers.

To ensure that the bulldozers would have their way, the government sent in soldiers and thugs who killed two protesters. This drove the peasants right into the arms of the New Peoples Army, which advocates land reform by all and any means necessary. The guns are silent at this moment, but the echoes are loud. Che, are you listening?

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