What is freedom?

Where I come from blood is shed
Traitors pierce heroes red
Where I come from cries echo
Past is haunting and the present is yellow
Where I come from, brothers still fight
For the freedom forgone to escape the white
Where I come from few remains true
Where is the fire of hope, let it burn blue


Today marks the 118th year of Philippine “independence” from the Spaniard’s colonisation. On that day each sway of the first-risen Philippine flag came with the acceptance that every suffering will cease to exist. In the hearts of the people was the newly found hope to start anew. For them, the tragedy accompanied by the coming of the intruders would have only been history. Thus, 12th of June was assumed to be the catalyst to a new beginning. It was supposed to be a time of moving forward.

Devastatingly, more terror entered the borders of the land. Even the waters, which were recognised as the pearl of the orient seas, cannot block the intruders – white, tall, arrogant and ruthless men. There were more pain, more deaths. It was mayhem. The country’s core was shattered, ruined from within. The heart of the nation, the people, were infiltrated. Brothers betrayed brothers; and, children abandoned parents. Filipinos fought Filipinos. There was no room for trust and the sanctity of blood relations had become worthless. Families are broken and there are no communities. The nation was just gone.

Meanwhile, amongst the Filipinos of today, only a significant few are aware and taking part of the nation’s history. Although “independent” from penitentiary of any country, I find the the state of Philippines’ independence questionable.  Not once have I witnessed our intruders admit their mistakes and apologise. Not once have I seen those who have wronged us strive for atonement. Instead, they throw their wealth to us and walk away. It is money which strengthened the bond between us (the “inferiors”) and our captors (the “superiors”). What do we do? We close our eyes and accept. We close our eyes and surrender.

It is a fact that years have passed and forgiveness is long overdue. Believe it or not, I think so too. But why do I find it harrowing every time I see a friend praise those who are fair-skinned? Why am I afflicted when Filipinos trust foreigners more than fellow Filipinos? It is because I still feel the sweat, blood and tears shed by my ancestors for every revolution therein. It is because I still hear the cries of the dead, still seeking for justice. We are not the “little brown brothers” they used to call us because, there is no such thing as “little” about us. Our striking colour distinguishes us from others and we should carry it like our flag, with passion and honour.

To end this, I have a few more questions for you to ponder.We sing “Ang kislap ng watawat mo’y tagumpay na nagniningning; Ang bituin at araw niya’y kailanpama’y di magdidilim” but do we mean it? In our hearts, do we accept that this is the truth?  After all this time- what have the Philippines and Filipinos become? How different is the present from history? Do we consider our nation free – do we consider ourselves free? Or, a more appropriate question would be – what is freedom?


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