I remember a part of the Gettysburg Address.
"Four scores and seven years ago our fathers brought forth to this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
A part of a poetic literature of Shakespeare, and I quote -
"Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I’ll not look for wine."
And a part of a famous Spanish poem of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal -
"Cada nota que el viento murmura,
cada rayo de luz en el sol,
cada flor en la verde llanura
es un himno a la gloria de Dios."
"Es un mundo una lira sublime
que modula en eterna canción, si suspira,
si canta o si gime, siempre,
siempre la gloria de Dios."
And a poetic farewell dedicated to a beloved country, a family and a presumed wife -
"¡Adiós, Patria adorada, región del sol querida,
Perla del mar de oriente, nuestro perdido Edén!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante, más fresca, más Florida,
También por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien...
Adiós, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mía,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar,
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso día;
Adiós, dulce extranjera, mi amiga, mi alegría,
Adiós, queridos seres, morir es descansar.
I am a witness - a living witness - to what is happening now to my beloved country. Political chaos, discontent in almost all regimes of government, decisions of the highest court being questioned by no less than members of the legislative branch of government, a seamlessly never ending dispute between supporters of former President Ferdinand Marcos and the Yellow Army of the EDSA Revolution, and so on.
I remember an essay as a young man in a declamation contest wherein I won the highest award goes like this. That was several decades ago and yet how very much relevant today. It can only mean there had been no changes in the heart of man, in the heart of the Filipino.
Twenty years ago,
After I have shed the last drop of my blood
In the gory battlefields of Bataan and Corregidor
I faced my Creator,
With an overwhelming pride in my heart.
“God,” I said,
“I have done my share,” “
I have sacrificed my life so that my people
may live in lasting peace.”
Now I stood once more at the presence of God,
“Go back,” He said,
“Look at your people in your country today,”
“See how they have made a mockery of what you have died for,”
“See how they have destroyed the very essence of democracy.”
And so, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have to come back,
Not as a Living mass, but as a Ghost,
and this is my Story.
My Father, my Mother and I
Were living peacefully in a small mountain farm,
Suddenly, a group of Japanese soldiers swooped down on us,
My Father and I, were hog-tied,
And before our shocked eyes,
My mother was abused, and was raped…
After their sadistic thirst was quenched,
They killed her in cold impunity,
And abandoned her mangled, bloody and lifeless body in the dust.
The next thing I knew,
I was lifted up by a group of kind Filipino Soldiers,
They brought me back to their camp alone, Yes alone,
For my father had already died.
The next thing I did when I felt strong enough,
Was to ask for a gun,
And began fighting the enemy,
Not only to avenge the death of my Father and Mother,
But also to die, if need be for,
A free, and a democratic way of life.
Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen,
There in Bataan I fought,
And there in Bataan, I died.
That was 20 long years ago,
Now, as I look around me
I see my people fighting and killing one another,
I see them raping our own women,
Butchering our own children,
And destroying our own homes,
What possible power,
Could have deprived them of this decency,
That they would now violate
The sanctity of our own women
What possible power,
Could have twisted the hearts and the minds of our people,
That they will now fight and kill each other.
In sheer desperation,
I tried to blackout all of these things from my mind,
But they all come back to me in all its painful
And brutal vividness,
I hastened them to my Creator and cried out,
“God, forgive them, for they know not, what they do.”
Let me get some excerpts of this essay and relate them to what is happening now. I may sound monotonous to my readers, but as it is, I'm asking myself some questions.
Can we not appreciate what is good? Can we not forgive? Can we not cease from the notion of always blaming others for the failures and guilt of our society?
Our heroes fought in Bataan against our oppressors and colonizers. What bothers me most is, nowadays, Filipinos are the very oppressors of their own compatriots. Can’t we love each other?
And while some have the tendency to join the camp of the enemies of our beloved nation, may God enlighten the lamp of patriotism within us and the love He had imparted to us as a people.
God bless the Philippines.
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