CONTRADICTIONS must be resolved if one is to move on in life. Like, we have to decide which of our conflicting passions should define who we are. Self-fulfillment comes from being the best of who we have decided we are.
A people likewise must know who they are to be able to set goals and move as one towards fulfilling those goals. This comes from resolving historical contradictions by coming up with their own version and interpretation of their history.
Filipinos are not moving forward, only sideways at best but downwards at worst, because we are not resolving our contradictions; we don’t know if we are brown Americans, Spanish/Chinese mestizos or indigenous peoples. We do not share a common version and interpretation of our history. Thus we have no shared identity.
Like, we celebrate both Lapulapu’s killing of Magellan and Magellan’s planting of the cross. We could be rightly thankful for our Christian faith without forgetting that Magellan’s expedition was primarily to conquer territories and resources for the King of Spain with the cross being used principally to bring the natives to subjection.
And why do we declare June 12, 1898 as our Independence Day when Spain had already sold us to our next masters, the Americans?
What about our conflicting attitudes towards Martial Law, some of us worshipping Marcos as hero and others detesting him as heel? Also, for some, Edsa people power restored democracy, for others, it just installed another faction of the oligarchy?
As I write, Thais are protesting and demanding for a new constitution, one that would erase the present obscene “contrast of economic hardships of millions of Thais with the wealth of the royal family which is one of the richest in the world.”
We have a more obscene contrast, in the words of F. Sionil Jose, of “billionaires who exploited this nation’s resources and its people, and with them, their political allies, corrupted and drunk with power.”
Why are Thais able to dare demand for a new constitution to resolve the contradiction between their suffering and the wealth of the royal family? But why are Filipinos not protesting for a new constitution that would erase the contrast between billionaire businessmen, landlords, politicians and millions of suffering poor Filipinos?
Why do Thais reject the chains from their wealthy monarchy while Filipinos, in Voltaire’s words, “cherish the chains” from a wealthy oligarchy? Here’s the difference...
Thais got their identity from a shared history. We, however, don’t know who we are for we are either ignorant of our history or we have contradicting interpretations of it. We have to resolve these past contradictions if we are to resolve, and move on from, current contradictions.