Sia: Independence Day: Something to be cherished

THIS week we mark the 121st Independence Day of the Philippines.

Wikipedia says that this occasion is observed every June 12 for the purpose of “commemorating the independence of the Philippines from Spain.” Specific as this may be, people seem to take for granted that this holiday also celebrates our being a sovereign nation – that is, a nation free from foreign authority and interference or at least that what we like to believe.

Whatever the case, one thing I know for sure is that being a holiday – like Christmas, Holy Week and even the Islamic holy days – Independence Day is sure to be taken for granted, not least of all by the youth, who Rizal calls “the hope for our future.” To them, Independence Day also means a day of liberation from the drudgery of schoolwork and hours of sitting in classrooms, and an entire day to spend with friends. They are almost sure to throng the trendy and (more importantly) air-conditioned shopping malls, whose merchants will be more than happy to welcome them as customers.

Not all of them would go outside, though. Some of them have intellectual pretensions – and yes, my dear readers, yours truly is one such poseur – and would rather stay at home and engage in some idle activity like playing Fallout: New Vegas or binge-watching past episodes of Game of Thrones.

“Why should this day be special?” they might say, with not a little cynicism in their tone. “We know from history that the Philippines never really did win its independence from Spain the way the Americans won theirs from Britain, the Filipinos were simply too undisciplined and disorganized, and speaking of the Americans, it wasn't long before they effectively took over from Spain. It was only after World War II that they finally conceded and finally set us free – but that was on July 4, that should be our real Independence Day, and not June 12.”

Be that as it may, it's not so much the historical circumstances surrounding June 12 that's important as what the day ought to mean to us.

That is, this day should be a constant reminder that we as a nation have the liberty and the power to determine for ourselves what our destiny on the world stage should be. I think it was Jessica Zafra who said outright that the Filipino race is most definitely capable of world domination, but even if she was just exaggerating for literary effect, her heart was still in the right place when she said that.

We must also be aware that independence means more than just the opportunity to become an economic tiger. Independence most of all means that we have managed to make it so far with our soul intact–mostly, if not completely. Unlike the other overseas territories of Spain and Portugal, whose native customs and languages were almost completely wiped out, we have managed to retain a great deal of ours by virtue of our distance from Europe. There have been “nativists” who wished to discard all Western influence, and during his time Nick Joaquin emphatically reminded such people that our being at the crossroads of East and West should never be regarded as a bad thing overall.

You might conclude that at this point in time, our independence is secure and therefore we have nothing to worry about anymore. However, I must point out that we are still very much under attack by the forces of globalization. But it won't be clear to you at first because this attack, while still very much aggressive, isn't direct but rather subtle. I liken it to a slow erosion, wherein our own Philippine industries gradually go out of business because of relentless competition from countries such as China, and our own culture-generating entertainment industry must always contend with its more alluring and more moneyed counterpart based in Los Angeles, USA.

However, the globalists aren't subtle always and everywhere. Lately, they have successfully pressured YouTube into revoking the privileges of online personalities for their right-wing politics, because to them right-wing means “evil Nazi.” Some of them have been banned outright, while others have had their channels demonetized, like the Swede who goes by the moniker The Golden One. Looking like a young and buff Brad Pitt in the movie Troy, his life's mission is the single-minded promotion of healthy masculinity and European tradition.

The Golden One's unabashed fondness for the heritage of the West in general and of Scandinavia and Sweden in particular has not gained him favor with the social media companies who bend over backwards to comply with the policies of the European Union – policies that aim to make countries like Sweden a lot less “offensive” to the many, many immigrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa who have no desire to assimilate. Already kind and welcoming to the point of being self-effacing, the Swedes are now being compelled to be even more so, at the cost of their own culture and even their independence.

Let us hope that the Swedes regain true independence, as we remind ourselves to cling dutifully to ours.


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