Batuhan: Shared responsibility-A A +A
Saturday, July 7, 2012
WE WERE watching the new Spiderman movie when, as we were stepping out of the movie house—half-dazed from all the special effects a comic book film could muster—we were treated to a barrage of what seemed like a relentless aerial bombardment.
No, this was not of the scary kind, however. The spectacle that greeted us as we stood wide-eyed and open-mouthed was the usual fireworks spectacle that accompanies every celebration of America’s independence day. In what must have been almost a half-an-hour long show, we were awed and amazed by the sight, which made even the most extravagant New Year display in the Philippines pale by comparison.
Yes, the US does know how to celebrate. And the 4th of July is certainly a date on which they spare no expense to show the world how proud they are of their independence.
Not that long ago, we too had our own freedom day celebration. Though not quite up to
American standards in terms of razzmatazz and glitz, ours was no less significant, at least in our hearts.
Filipinos are a patriotic lot, and even if days before our special day, our very own modern-day hero Manny Pacquiao had been removed from boxing’s loftiest throne, it did not seem to dampen our celebratory mood all that much.
Yes, national independence does still matter, at least to the people who celebrate them. Whether it be at the Olympics, the European football championships, or our very own SEA games, the singing of the national anthems at the awards ceremonies still gives us goosebumps.
Because independence is the singular bond that ties people together—the affirmation of their identity as a nation, and as a collective group of individuals sharing a common ideology.
Funny then that in the run-up to the celebrations just mentioned, a series of events seemed to illustrate just the opposite—that perhaps, just perhaps, the independence of individual nations matters less now than ever before. That the world was, in fact, truly becoming an interconnected “global nation,” with every national problem almost immediately becoming an international concern.
If any proof of this was ever needed, one just has to look at recent events and how their after-effects were felt across national boundaries. When Greece’s economy started faltering, the foundation of the entire European Union immediately came under threat. When Syria’s internal turmoil started taking a turn for the worse, entire nations shuddered at the thought of the conflict spreading into their own borders.
National identities will no doubt remain important. There will always be Filipinos, as there will be Americans. Shared experiences, culminating in struggles for national independence, will still continue to bind nations and peoples together.
But what is also becoming ever more apparent is that the world – today more than ever – is really becoming a “global village,” in ways that even futurists and science
fiction writers not that many years ago would ever have ever imagined possible.
Sure, “Lupang Hinirang,” “God Save the Queen” and “Star-Spangled Banner” will continue to hold a special significance to those whose destinies their melodies have helped shape. But the realization that a defaulting Greek economy, a Syrian nation at war, and a United States continuing to struggle with economic uncertainty will affect us all, irrespective of which national anthem we sing, should also remind us that we share a common destiny and a shared responsibility, which extend beyond the borders of our national identities.
(My warmest wishes go out to my dearest mother, Carmencita Batuhan, who celebrated her 70th birthday on July 6. Happy Birthday mum, and may you have many more to come!)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 08, 2012.