(Part 17 — last part — of the “In Defense of the Filipino” series)
NATIONS become great because their peoples aspire to be so. Greatness makes them wealthy, powerful, respected, and feared. But seeking and winning greatness is difficult, for it requires the resolute character, outlook, and will of the people to triumph against all odds.
More than 5,000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians built one of the world’s greatest civilizations, which gave humanity important contributions like plain arithmetic, algebra, geometry, a 365-day calendar, the hieroglyphics (picture writing), the papyrus (a paper-like writing material), and the pyramids, their most spectacular achievements. They were able to build that kind of civilization because they were ruled by a strong national government and they possessed national liberty or freedom from foreign subjugation.
The ancient Chinese isolated themselves from foreign powers for centuries. That isolation enabled them to build their own great civilization. Proud of their land and culture, they never bowed to other peoples. They even called other peoples “barbarians.” Their civilization gave the world the compass, paper, porcelain, silk cloth, and civil service examination.
The ancient Greeks, with less than half-a-million population, laid down the foundations of Western civilization more than 2,500 years ago. They built city-states, governments ruled by the people, and elegant buildings. They had brilliant schools, artworks, and philosophy. Their will to magnificence become so fruitful that they gave the world the concepts of democracy, reason, and beauty.
The ancient Romans improved their own society by adopting that of the Greeks. It resulted in more progress and glories for their land. They excelled in government, architecture, fine arts, language, and law by having democratic ways of life, impressive public works, splendid churches and palaces, imposing monuments, and resilient statutes.
Not satisfied with all that, they expanded their empire by conquering vast territories. For almost 700 years (500 B.C.-200 A.D.), they ruled most of Europe and the Middle East and the entire Mediterranean coast of Africa. One of their strong characters was to conquer.
The United States was a huge wilderness until the 1700’s. But its people had formed a belief toward greatness, which they called “manifest destiny.” It meant expanding their territory to as far as they could, so that they would gain more mineral and other resources. At first, the purposes of their territorial expansion were economic and to control North America only. But the desire had changed in the succeeding years. They already wanted to control the affairs of this world, directly or indirectly. They made wars with Mexico (1846-48), Spain (1898), the Philippines (1899-1903), and Vietnam (1957-75), in which after each war, they gained more territories, natural resources, and glories.
Americans have a domineering attitude. They produce nuclear bombs, but force other nations to sign treaties against developing such weapons. They accuse other nations with nuclear weapons of possibly using those weapons, when they were the first to use them (in 1945). They aim nuclear-tipped missiles against countries they perceive to be their enemies, but denounce countries which do the same to them.
Enduring ancient and modern civilizations give us these lessons for greatness: Do not be ashamed to other countries. Do not always bow to other citizens. Possess the character, outlook, and will to dominate and to be great.
The will to be great is one thing that we Filipinos must possess and develop.
Defend the Filipino. Filipino is our blood, color, race, and identity. Our ancestors, patriots, parents, children, relatives, and friends are Filipinos. It is our fellow Filipinos who give us education, help us when we are in need, and bring successes to our lives. We should not slap the Filipino just because of some people’s mistakes. We should rather defend the Filipino.
Defending the Filipino begins with one’s self. First, let us bear in mind that mistakes, crimes, and other flaws are nature in the human being and that every race commits them, not only the Filipinos.
Second, let us avoid associating the word Filipino with the human mistakes and flaws when we see some people committing them. Substitute for it the word people or human—because people commit mistakes because they are humans, and not because the Filipino commits mistakes because he is a Filipino. Using people or human is the one appropriate so that Filipinos will no longer be immersed in the anti-Filipino remarks.
When Filipino is used, many people think that it is only the Filipinos who commit mistakes, and because of that, they believe that Filipinos are already the jokes of foreigners, the laughingstock of the world, the worst people on earth, and the most unique species in the planet.
When Filipino is used, many people think that the Philippines is already Asia’s or the world’s capital of laziness, of thefts, of graft and corruption, of the undisciplined, of crab mentality, of short memories, of always late, of colonial mentality, of copycats, of gossips, of gambling, of cheatings, etc.
When Filipino is used, many people think that the Philippines is already a nation of lazy people, of thieves, of corrupt citizens, of undisciplined, of crab mentality, of short memories, of always late, of colonial mentality, of copycats, of gossips, of gamblers, of cheats, etc.
When Filipino is used, many people think that the definition of Filipino is a person who will always laze, steal, spit anywhere, urinate on the street, disobey traffic rules, gossip, knock down others, gamble, and do other horrible things. They will already hate the Filipino so much that they will always ridicule him.
When Filipino is used, many people think that Filipinos are a bad people, and thus many lose the heart to honor, respect, love, and be proud of their race and country. They cannot give an all-out service to it and rather focuses that service on others, thinking that doing good here is useless.
When Filipino is used, many people are always ashamed to other citizens because they are misled by the belief that other citizens are perfect—they cannot commit mistakes, crimes, and other flaws, while Filipinos are the only ones bad—the only ones who make mistakes. They always believe and even defend what other citizens say against them.
If Filipino will be still used, it is a very depressing disservice to ourselves. Thus, if you see some people violating traffic rules, stealing, etc., think or say:
“There are people who are indeed like that.”
“That’s the problem with some people.”
“That’s an illness of some people.”
“That’s the character of some people.”
Don’t think or say:
“Filipinos are indeed like that.”
“That’s the problem with the Filipinos.”
“That’s an illness of the Filipinos.”
“That’s the character of the Filipinos.”
“Some Filipinos, really!”
“There are Filipinos who are indeed like that.”
“That’s the problem with some Filipinos.”
“That’s an illness of some Filipinos.”
“That’s the character of some Filipinos.”
Just because there are lazy, thieves, etc., is it already correct to say that we Filipinos are lazy, thieves, etc.? If you say yes, consider this premise again: Because there are homosexuals and prostitutes, then Filipinos are already homosexuals and prostitutes? If you agree, what about your parents or children? Because others are, then they are already the same?
Anti-Filipinos will not agree on this premise because it was not instilled into the Filipino thinking. Our foreign colonizers did not create sexually oriented negative remarks against the Filipino.
Third, let us think that flaws and mistakes can be corrected, that crimes must be punished, and that we may offer corrections to whatever defects we see—without deriding the Filipino.
Fourth, we must accept the fact that there will always be individuals who will do wrong because there is no perfect person, race, or nation in this world.
Fifth, we must stop being always ashamed to other peoples or citizens when some of us commit mistakes, crimes, and other flaws because it is a very stupid thing. Why very stupid? Because other peoples are not ashamed to us Filipinos when they are the ones who do wrong.
Sixth, if other citizens ridicule us, defend ourselves. Don’t be like some people who are bombastic only when they face their fellow Filipinos, but very meek when ranged against a mocking foreigner, even if that foreigner is an illegal drug trafficker, a murderer, a thief, or a pedophile. Tell and show the foreigner that his race is also imperfect or even worse.
Seventh, there is no need to prove to the world that we Filipinos are good because there is no need to do so and because other countries won’t mind it—because they don’t do it. Besides, if we keep saying that we are good and then some do wrong, the effort will only be futile.
Eight, worshipping other peoples as if they do not err must stop because that is another stupid act. Why stupid? Because it is only the anti-Filipinos who worship other peoples, but those other peoples don’t worship them.
Once we get used to thinking that mistakes are part of the human nature and are committed by all, and thus succeed in avoiding anti-Filipino remarks, we are no longer narrow-minded, ingrate, senseless, illogical, irresponsible, and colonized.
We already have a broadened outlook on the human person. We are already decolonized, proud of our race and heritage, and willing to offer ourselves to the good, progress, and greatness of our beloved country.