Eileen R. Tabios

written in the time of Taal Volcano’s January 2020 eruption

Because today, for you I am war.

I war as completely as Princess Chelidonis who wore a noose as necklace during the Siege of Sparta to show she would not be taken alive.

I war like Cleopatra II leading a rebellion against Ptolemy VIII Physcon to drive him and Cleopatra III out of Egypt.

I war like Mother Lü leading a peasant rebellion against Wang Mang of the Western Han Dynasty.

I war for you as I war against you like Queen Gwendolen in the 9th century BC who gathered an army to defeat ex-husband Locrinus for the British throne.

I war as slyly as Fulvia, Mark Antony’s wife who organized an uprising against Augustus.

I war like the Trưng Sisters who rebelled against the Chinese Han-Dynasty to become national heroines of Vietnam.

I, of course, war like Boudica, a Celtic chieftain in Britain who led a massive uprising against Roman forces. (Silly Romans tried to raise troop morale by deriding her army for containing more women than men.)

I war by doing what it takes, like Veleda of the Germanic Bructeri tribe who acted as strategic leader, priestess, prophet, and living deity during the Batavian rebellion.

I war like Zenobia, Syrian queen of the Palmyrene Empire who took control of Roman Egypt, Arabia, and parts of Asia Minor as she revolted against the Roman Empire.

I war like Queen Mavia, repeatedly defeating the Romans until they finally negotiated a truce with her on her conditions.

I war like Judith rebelled against the Axumite Dynasty in Ethiopia.

I war like Gaitana of the Paez who led the indigenous people of northern Cauca, Colombia against Spanish colonization.

I war like Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba from the Kingdom of Matamba who led revolts against the Portuguese. (She even aligned with the Dutch Republic to form the first African-European alliance against another European aggressor.)

I war like Maria who led a slave rebellion on Dutch Curaçao.

I war like Granny Nanny, a spiritual leader of Jamaica’s Maroons who led rebel slaves in the First Maroon War against the British.

I war like fishwife Marretje Arents who led the Pachtersoproer rebellion.

I war like Queen Rani Velu Nachiyar Sivagangai of Tamil Nadu, the first queen in India to fight against the British.

I war like Gabriela Silang who led a revolution against Spain to establish an independent Ilocos in the Philippines.

I war like Baltazara Chuiza and Lorenza Avemanay who led rebellions against the Spanish in Ecuador.

I war like Huillac Ñusca of the Kolla tribe who led rebels against the Spanish in Chile.

I war like Manuela Beltrán and Antonia Santos, Neogranadine (now Colombia) peasants who revolted against the Spaniards. Beltran sparked the Revolt of the Comuneros while Santos led rebel guerrillas in the Province of Socorro during the Reconquista of the New Granada.

I war like Gregoria Apaza and Bartolina Sisas, Aymara women who led uprisings against the Spanish in Bolivia.

I war like Tongvan medicine woman Toypurina who rebelled against the Spanish to lead an attack against Mission San Gabriel Arcángel.

I war like Wang Cong’er who commanded the White Lotus rebellion in China.

I war like Laskarina Bouboulina, a naval commander who led her own troops during the Greek War of Independence. Posthumously, she became Admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy.

I war like Kittur Chennamma who led an armed rebellion against the British in response to the Doctrine of lapse.

I war like Countess Emilia Plater who created her own group to fight in the Polish November Uprising. She became a captain commanding an infantry company.

I war like the slave Carlota, slave rebellion leader during the Year of the Lash on Cuba.

I war like Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi and Begum Hazrat Mahal who led supporters in revolt against the British.

I war like Shona spiritual leader Nehanda Nyakasikana who rebelled against British colonization of Zimbabwe.

Then I war again like Yaa Asantewaa who led the Ashanti in rebellion against the British.

I war like Blanca Canales who led the Jayuya Uprising in Puerto Rico against the Federal government of the United States.

I war like Ani Pachen, the Tibetan Buddhist nun who led a guerrilla rebellion of 600 fighters on horseback against Communist Chinese tanks.

I war like Alice Auma who led a rebellion against Ugandan government forces.

I war like Comandante Ramona who led the occupation of San Cristóbal de las Casas in an uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

I war like Kerima Lorena Tariman (1979-2021) who, by creating poetry, understood the value of actions and, thus, battled feudal exploitation of the Filipino people.

I am war…

For you I war against today’s capitalists refusing to regulate themselves and placing their proxies into political leadership.

Because today, for you I am war.

I war like the volcanos Pinatubo, Cleveland, Yellowstone, Huaynaputina, Krakatoa, Santa Maria, Novarupta, Ambrym, Ilopango, Thera, Changbaishan, and Tambora erupt and erupt and erupt against humanity’s crimes against the Mother Earth.

Because I love you, I am war.


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