History is the greatest teacher.
The other day, we, along with our friends from the Global Filipino Network, watched Heneral Luna, a courageous exposition of the “assassination” of General Antonio Luna by Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the Philippines. This line in the movie struck me the most…
“Ekonomiya o Kalayaan? Bayan o Sarili? (trans: Economy or Freedom? Country or Self?)”
I would not claim to be knowledgeable about events in the country (or anywhere in the world, for that matter), both present and past, but the soul in me feels that humankind’s biggest flaw is that we value ourselves too much.
Collectively and individually, we have a sense of entitlement. We feel that everything belongs to us, therefore, others who behave otherwise, we would block or conquer, even to the point of their death.
In the movie, the hunger for authority seemed to have carved the way for revolutionaries to be “murdered”. The likes of Luna, whose fiery passion and commitment to hard discipline for the benefit of the majority, proved to be a little too hot for those who held high positions in the government. This General, who chose to selflessly sacrifice a quiet successful life as a doctor to lead, unify, and straighten the military, was shot apparently under the command of Aguinaldo, because the latter and his advisers, as the film projects, wanted a better “economy” for the country.
It is heartbreaking to think that we are experiencing the same right now. We prioritize comfort and convenience over what is essential and right. We cannot let go of our multiple cars and waste energy, even if we know that we get these “convenience” now mostly due to fracking. We cannot let go of our buying habits – our tendency to buy things just to keep up with – even if we know that these “convenience” is plain wasteful consumption. We cannot let go of our fast food diet, because of its “convenience”, even if we know it is safer for us, and better for our environment, to grow our own food.
We have become too greedy for our own convenience. Most of us get threatened even by the very idea of sharing, even if we know the rest of the world need our help.
The act of self-sacrifice for the benefit of humankind has been overshadowed by the insatiable greed for power and control over others.
I might sound like a pessimist now, but I am not. I am a realist. And with this, I would say that it’s not too late to change. This is what’s good about life.
There are many others who are willing to, and have been sharing themselves silently for others. Perhaps, you’re even one of them.
Bayan o Sarili? (trans. Nation or Self?) What would it be?