I have decided not to post anything about Independence Day on this blog until I have read , watched and heard the different thoughts of other people about this day. As expected, most are cynical if indeed we are free. Much have been also said about being not really free.
Well, it would be quite obvious to see such posts or articles coming from the 'hardcore' activists' that we are not truly free because as they say, our society is 'semi-feudal' because a small group of elite people controls the economic and political aspect of our life and 'semi colonial' because the US still has a hand on our internal affairs (e.g. policies, investment). For others, we are not yet truly free because there are still plenty of corruption, poverty, war, crimes and discrimination going around.
That's why many have come to a very disturbing conclusion: we would be better off had we just given up our independence and let Uncle Sam take over.
This 'wonderful' conclusion made my Independence Day.
I bet many of you would probably think the same way they did. Just imagine, your money is in dollars. You are an American citizen. This means you don't have to line up at the US embassy everyday just to get even a tourist visa so you can breathe in 'American air' and dug your feet in 'American soil' - as if they have a superior kind of air and soil there.
You also don't have to wait for months or weeks or even days before you can see the next installment of the 'Twilight' saga or any Hollywood movie for that matter. Better yet, you can go to any state whenever you want - without the need for a passport or visa, just your plain ticket and traveling bag.
But of course those are just the perks. What makes Filipinos disillusioned about the 'American dream' is that they believe that once we are under the Stars and Stripes, we would all rise up from poverty and experience American prosperity. I cannot blame most of us who resent to that thought. For me, they are just being 'practical.'
Ano nga naman ang gamit ng kalayaang ito kung hindi naman ito nakakain?
In the end, it is always the question of the stomach that will matter the most - not any nationalistic fervor that won't feed their hungry mouths.
But the BIG question is: Did our ancestors, our forefathers, made the wrong choice of pursuing our freedom, our independence?
My answer is also a big NO.
Given the circumstances that they under into, they've got no other choice but to fight for their freedom. Previous calls for reforms fell on deaf ears. The colonizers had just oppressed them even more. That was the only solution they had. But this does not mean that they were 'forced' by these circumstances to take this option.
In fact, before the revolution broke out in 1896, Filipinos had been continually up in arms against the colonizers in the entire length of the Spanish rule for the following reasons: forced labor, heavy taxation, land grabbing, usurpation, censorship, unjust and cruel practices and some, for personal reasons.
None of these uprisings had been successful in their quest for freedom. But these revolts had been important in fueling the Filipinos thirst for freedom from the oppresive rule of the Spaniards. These set the stage for a more concerted and unified effort to gain our independence from Spain - which finally happened in 1898.
Our ancestors did everything they could to win the war, gain our freedom and had even continued doing so when a new colonizer comes in.
And so what?
The bottom is simply this: they did their part in 1896 and beyond to free us from oppresive colonizers and dictators, now it is our turn to do our part.
No Filipino during the revolution of 1896 had claime that the revolution would be the cure to all of the problems they had during that time. Because they knew that driving off the oppressor is just one of the problems, mending the problems left behind after the oppressor had left is another thing.
Problems that won't be solved by bolos, pistols or cannons and another bloody revolution.
Problems that still persists in our present time.
Problems that our forefathers believed that can be solved by the future generation of Filipinos.
That's why they gave us this freedom, this independence. To be free in our actions to solve the problems that had been left behind and continually haunt our nation.
That's the use of our independence today and why is it still relevant to be commemorated.
Mabuhay ang ating KALAYAAN!