Forget the political situation at present. Forget who’s in charge, who you like, who you dislike. What’s important is that today we are celebrating the 122nd year of Philippine Independence. But today’s average Filipino, in the middle of everything going on, can be forgiven for not fully appreciating that fact.
Here are 8 reasons why we shouldn’t take this freedom for granted.
Immediately after the Philippines declared independence from Spain in 1898, our colonizers turned around and sold us to the United States of America, meaning our Independence didn’t really come uninterrupted. And over the next decades, we’ve had Martial Law, and dips into neo-fascism from time to time.
Freedom did not come easy for us. But losing it today could very well happen if we don’t remain vigilant.
“We Filipinos are too free,” we’ve heard the gaslighting argument go. Except even if this is true, how is it a bad thing? If we make poor choices as a result of our freedom, that is on us. That is not the fault of freedom, by any means.
We have been used to following orders and giving up bits and pieces of our freedom, all supposedly for the greater good. But we must know where the line in the sand is drawn
Freedom comes with responsibilities — responsibilities we sometimes do not live up to. When we say we should fight for our freedom, we don’t mean going to war or starting a revolution, so much as we live up to the responsibilities that come with this freedom. That, in itself, is something we need to contend with.
The cliche goes that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. We fight for our freedom in 2020 not because we are losing it to any particular force right now, but because we recognize all too well that the lessons of the past spell out what we need to do right now.
122 years of freedom did not come cheap. We owe it to ourselves to make it to the 123rd year and beyond, and to never allow anything to encroach upon the liberty we have fought for. We fight today, more metaphorically than literally, but we fight just as hard on a different plane altogether.
When we were kids, it was very simple. It was good is good, evil is evil. As we grew older and recognized shades of gray in between good and evil, we lost sight of the fact that in the end, evil is still evil, no matter how much good we mask it with.
This is the new battle for freedom: the battle to hold onto it when the promise of reward for relinquishing it seems so enticing. What’s a little more surveillance? What’s a little more power in the hands of the powerful? So long as we’re not the ones affected but only people we don’t personally know, then isn’t it their freedom on the line, and not ours?
First they came for people we didn’t like.
Then they came for people we didn’t care about.
Then they came for our friends, but not our loved ones.
But when they come for us, who will be left to fight for us? Our freedom is not an island. It is liberty earned by a collective, and therefore, must be protected as a collective.
The freedom we enjoyed was given to us by the generations that came before and sacrificed what they had to so they can get us there. For us to squander that gift and pass on nothing to those who come after us is a gross disservice to the name and the sacrifices of all who came before us.
The future deserves better. So let us be better. Let us continue fighting for freedom even when it is more comfortable now to just let it be.
What are you doing to help fight for freedom? Tell us all about it in the comments.