William & Mary

Tanglao-Aguas: Love and colonialism

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When people talk about colonial conquest, they generally talk about taking over land and labor, according to Francis Tanglao-Aguas, associate professor of theatre, speech and dance at the College of William and Mary. They do not, he said, talk about the takeover of the mind.

“It is the deepest takeover that happens,” Tanglao-Aguas said. “Think this way. Act this way. Criticize this way. Be creative this way. ”

Tanglao-Aguas, a native of The Philippines, recently discussed colonialism in terms of his homeland, which endured 450 years of foreign domination first from Spain and then the United States.  When he was 15, he was detained by authorities in the U.S. backed Marcos regime for an essay he wrote on graft and corruption.

“When you have an offspring out of you, that kid is subject to a parent’s power,” Tanglao-Aguas said. “That is colonialism. … And politically, that is how Spain and the United States and Japan, and any colonizing power, prefaces their conquest. We are here because we love you. We want you to be free. We will teach you how to be free if you think this way.”