PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE: ASIA’S BEACON OF HOPE
Erle Frayne Argonza
Philippine solidarity to all Fellows on Planet Earth!
On the 12th of June 1896, as the sun was rising, the Philippine Flag was raised for the first time in Kawit, Cavite. The Philippine National Anthem was also played, in the genre of classical marches, putting it alongside the French Republic’s anthem. Emilio Aguinaldo, first president of the new republic, declared the independence of the Philippines from Spain and the official birthing of the Philippine nation-state.
That moment of victory, no matter how short-lived it was as the American forces soon snapped off the flame of liberty in the islands, was of gigantic significance to all Asia. For the first time, a modern republic was born, forged from out of the struggles and blood of the Filipino people, who fought arduously against the mighty empire of the Spanish Crown. Over three (3) centuries of Western imperial cruelties, demonic calumnies and abominable barbarities were officially ended that day.
All of Asia watched the unfolding events in the islands then. The young patriarch of the nation, Dr. Jose Rizal, was terminated by the Spaniards in 1896 yet, but his ideas of nationhood spread like wildfire across the archipelago after that infamous moment of his execution. With the founding of a new republic, the Asians realized that nationhood ideas, typified by the thoughts of Rizal, were viable. No matter how mighty an evil empire would be against a colonized people of Asia, the latter will be able to forge collective might and will, terminate imperial rule and build a new sovereign nation-state.
Thus were our fellow Asians emboldened to study the path of national liberation, build the patriotic ideas and revolutionary movements that will serve as their executor vehicles, and wage libertarian campaigns to the finish, even if it will take thousands to millions of martyrs to conclude the national liberation project. Gandhi, Aung San, Sukarno, Sun Yat Sen and leading patriots from fellow Asian lands, who read and digested Rizal’s writings well, stood out among our great leaders in Asia, and the rest was history.
Modern nationhood in Asia started in my beloved country. This is an established fact, though seemingly ignored and forgotten. Because it started here, let it be the duty and obligation of all fellow patriotic Filipino to continue to spread goodwill and good faith unto all the peoples of Earth, whether from developing or developed states. For in today’s context, there are those powerful predatory forces that aspire no end to snuff out the nation-states in the name of their ignominious greed, lust for power, and tyrannical might.
Back home, here, we nationalist patriots continue our struggle against the pro-colonial forces in all spheres of life. Rizal’s dream here hasn’t completely galvanized yet, as the pro-colonials and the oligarchs they serve are ensconced in all terrains of social, cultural, political and economic life. We nationalists are in the margins, while the pro-colonials and pro-oligarchs are hegemonic, and so we will continue with our struggles until the destructive dragons of colonialism and oligarchism will be effectively slaughtered here.
Let the world remember this heraldry, that on the 12th of June 1896, nationhood and the values that underpin it (sovereignty, liberty, brotherhood, patriotism, prosperity) were born and planted in the Philippines as the first instance of nationhood in all of Asia. This being the sublime narrative, we patriotic Filipinos shall continue to bear with us the flame of liberty, and will defend the values that forged nationhood to the last instance of our breaths and energies. That which was first will be the last to fall, and will, with the blessing of Divine Hierarchy, never fall in spirit and wisdom to pursue the grand mission of helping other nations build their own narratives and practices of nationhood.
Hail the Philippine nation! Glory, genius, grandeur!
[12 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]