Specula*-A A +A
By Ramon Dacawi
Saturday, September 8, 2012
(We yield this space for a 14-year old’s voice about what Rizal would think if he were alive today. – RD)
I AM a ghost walking.
I might be alive in the flesh, yet I have lost all will to live. My country, fought and bled for by countless heroes, is now nothing but a mirage of its former self. My love, my life, my nation, my motherland. Countless nights have I wept as I am trapped in replay, my eyes forced to watch the very thing that I have fought against. This is not living. This is not being alive. This is a living death.
I watch as that which my fellow heroes and martyrs bled and died for are demolished in the blink of an eye. I watch as the nation I helped build is burned to the ground. I am helpless.
I watch as the free are imprisoned. I watch as the voice of truth is drowned out in the cacophony of lies and deceit. I watch as honesty disappears into the shadows. I watch as integrity seems to disintegrate in the sulfuric smoke of smooth talk and deception. I watch as everything I have fought for is now fought against.
I can scream until my throat is raw, but nobody listens to the past. I can join and lead the revolution once again, but nobody follows the past. I can do everything, yet it will all amount to nothing.
I can only weep for the country I love, until I have no more tears to give.
And yet I cling to one small hope. This hope keeps me from turning my back on my only love – my motherland. This hope keeps me from giving up.
His name is Kabataan.
Kabataan is young and inexperienced, but in him I see the future of our country. He personifies this small sliver of hope that I have hidden away in my heart.
Every time I see him make a stand for what is right, when I see him stand against the tyranny of the majority, when I see him stand in the name of all that is good and pure and true, my faith in this country is rekindled.
Kabataan fans the flames of a long-lost revolution, only this time he is not fighting against the oppression of invaders. He has a much harder battle to fight.
He fights against all that is wrong in this country. He fights against those who might wish to silence his voice. He fights against the tyranny of the majority. He fights against deception, deceit and despair. He fights against those who wish to quench the fire that he has ignited in every Filipino.
He leads the dawning of this nation, in such a time as this.
However, Kabataan is young. He is inexperienced. Often have I shed tears as time and time again he has stumbled. Time and time again have I wept as he has almost given up. Over and over again has my heart been broken as he has followed the wrong path and drowned in vices and immorality.
Despite it all, he is still the nation’s hope. He is the best that the Filipino can offer in their fight against the ever-increasing forces of darkness. He is light, shining into the dark crevices of the political system. He is light, penetrating the barriers of evil. He is light, striking deep into the darkest parts of the nation’s heart, calling others like him to fight alongside.
He is the heart and soul of this fight against oppression.
Even if I would write a million novels, even if I would take all the seas and oceans for ink and the vast expanse of the sky for paper, I would never be able to chronicle the rise of a new Philippines, the dawning of a new morning, if Kabataan from Jolo, Cotabato, Siquijor, Tondo, Aparri, Cordillera, and the diaspora of the Filipino Kabataan all over the world would not rise and continue his fight until the end of his days.
There is a reason why this new dawn hasn’t come yet. There is a reason why the forces of oppression seem to grow ever stronger. This reason is a dark presence.
His name is Anino.
He is the worst of the Filipino. He dwells in every home, in every court, in every sidewalk and street. He is what has brought my country to its breaking point. He is the greatest enemy of Kabataan, always seeking to silence the voice which could defeat him.
Compared to the lone voice of Kabataan, Anino’s voice is a clap of thunder. He is loud and persuasive, gaining many followers. He promises a life of comfort and security if only you will follow him and fight on the side of corruption and violence. He is the epitome of the force of darkness and shadows in this nation.
But he is not always the loud voice of the majority. Most of the time he is the low, soft voice whispering sweet, poisonous messages into your ear, messages of calling you to follow him in his campaigns of, among others: Utak Talangka, Utak Mandarambong, Ningas-Kugon, and Utak Buwaya sa Katihan.
You may not realize it, but he might be whispering into your ear at this very moment. He might be telling you to take something which isn’t yours, to lie, to cheat, steal and give up. He might be telling you to turn against your neighbor, to commit wrong and hide it from the light. And without realizing it, you might have already let him win.
But it is not too late.
Although Anino may be strong, he could be defeated many times over if even just one Filipino Kabataan will take a stand. Although he may be loud, he is immediately silenced if only Kabataan will choose not to listen to him.
Sadly, not many Filipinos choose to take the path of Kabataan, and be the light against the forces of Anino. This is why the Philippines, country that I have worked for, nation I have bled for, love that I have died for, is not yet what I hope it will be.
Now it is a nation of warring principalities, of light and dark, of good and evil, of oppression and freedom. Every bit of its being is engaged in a battle that is tearing it apart at the seams, consumed by the poverty of moral convictions. Brother is turned against brother, sister against sister, husband against wife, as the war rages in every heart and mind, in every house and home, in every sidewalk, street, barangay and village.
Sometimes, Kabataan gains the upper hand, but when he stumbles and falls, distracted by immorality and vices, Anino quickly gains the upper hand and will not so easily relinquish it. He will carry on broadcasting his messages of laziness, greed, hopelessness, mediocrity, and self-preservation into the hearts and minds of the Filipino people.
Kabataan will have to pick himself up and rally more to his cause. He will have to persuade others like him to close their ears to the lies which have so easily deceived those who came before them. If no one will listen, then Anino will be silenced.
Since I have seen Kabataan, I have dared to hope. I do not say that there will be a new and brighter dawn ahead, for that remains to be seen.
But one thing I am sure of: there will be a new day. And a new day means another chance for Kabataan to rise once again and take up his sword of truth and fight the battle against falsehood. A new day means another opportunity for truth, integrity and honesty to step out of the shadows and rule the men and women in government, rule the family, and rule the schools that nurture the mind of Kabataan. A new day means another chance.
The outcome of which side will prevail depends entirely on the Filipino Kabataan.
It depends entirely on you.
My name is Jose Rizal. I am a national hero, watching as my nation strives to lift itself out of its own bondage. I am a writer, chronicling the war of principalities. I am a lover, giving my heart and all that I have left to my only love: my country. I am a ghost walking.
Can ghosts have hope?
Well, this one does. (Karin is 14. When she turned seven, she asked her parents to forego with the children’s party and send the amount for the cake, ice cream and balloons to a toddler who then needed radiation therapy for a pesky brain tumor that just kept on re-growing. When I yielded this space for a piece my son Johann wrote, Alex, Karin’s father, gently suggested the boy should take over my column. Camilo Candelario, a boyhood buddy now going after golf balls in Fallon, Nevada, also e-mailed that Johann sees and feels better than his dad. So does Karin). By Karin Bangsoy
*/specula/ - Latin, “a gleam of hope”
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 08, 2012.