Learning about nationalism and independence
It was very saddening that many young people were unaware about what June 12, Independence Day was all about. One possible reason is that many schools have not opened on this day and teachers let go of a teaching opportunity. Many social studies classes are also boring, so very unmemorable. This is part of the gaps in our educational system. But learning to love our country and care for the nation should not be limited to schools. We have to learn it at home also. But there are many channels of communication that have creatively given rise to an active nationalism.
Emilio Aguinaldo was aware that at the point of the declaration many continued to struggle against colonial forces. The declaration was meant to gather more forces for the cause. But it is also true that as many have screamed out that we are not actually independent and free. Tiglao also declared that we are not united as a nation, we do not have this sense of nationhood.
Freedom was not acquired all together at one time. In fact in Cebu the victory against the colonizer was real and celebrated only by the end of that year. But reaching freedom, independence, genuine nationalism is a long journey.
But as the history teacher, Xiao Chua, said we still have to tell the story and the meanings. He said this is because their lives have the power to inspire and can provide lessons needed for the journey. Melchora Aquino’s faithfulness to our country was awesome; she would rather be exiled than give up her loyalty to our land. Very useful is the information that the KKK aimed not only for the end to colonial rule but also to promote strong and good character, a sense of mutual assistance, and the replacement of rationalism instead of obscurantism.
We need to start with knowing and loving our localities. We have to get in touch with the beauty of our land. Our local heroes must be familiar to us. We need to be conscious of this because many of us are using books published in Metro Manila. We have to know its story but we cannot stop here; it is important to get into the national perspective.
But most of all we have to be conscious of what we hold dear as a people. And do we have dreams, do we have aspirations that we will work together for as a nation?
The Thai and American diplomats who were guests in the DZMM TV program, Light Moments were very touching as they commented about the warmth of Filipinos; they have never encountered people with such warmth and acceptance as these. The Thai lady narrated the experience of Thai sculptors sent by Thailand to sculpt life-size elephants to celebrate 7 years of Thai-Filipino diplomatic ties. They did not speak our language but they became very close to the Filipinos they left not only the ceremonial elephants but they sculpted the rice terraces.
With such valuing of relationships and the dignity of the human person, can we not build together a nation of inclusiveness and abundance for all?
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