“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
~ President Abraham Lincoln
To my dear Philippines,
Nandito ako para sa iyo. I am watching the state that you are in–the chaos, the confusion, the violence, the bloodshed, and the uncertainty over whether or not our country will be roped into the reign of terror this world has so often seen.
In a world where hatred, chaos, and fear dictate our society, we loose a sense of hope and faith in the human race. We are constantly faced with blood, terror, violence, suspicion, discrimination, oppression, poverty, injustice, and it all seems like nothing is being done to put an end to this dreaded cycle. We are constantly fed negativity and biases that we choose not to question, but to believe. When I hear, see, and speak about these horrors, I question whether or not peace and love are a possible state of mind.
In the light of the recent events in Marawi City and most recently, in Manila, I question what the state of our country will be. Will the future of our country be that of instability? Or can we come together as a nation in solidarity against the utmost deplorable acts against humanity? How can we trust our fellow kababayans if we continue to do this to each other? How can we stand united? I think our answers lie in the words of the controversial President Duterte’s inaugural speech.
“Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey towards a better Philippines. The ride will be rough. But come and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest.”
This speech was meant to be a long-standing manifestation to the people of the Philippines for the remainder of his presidency and we should not forget these words. Sometimes, we lose our vision when we’ve become blinded by the negativity of this world. We need to learn how to love our country whole-heartedly. Let us embrace our history–our pagan, Muslim, and Christian origins–as our history is a testimony of our strength, our integrity, and our solidarity. Our nation is built on many stories that we have yet to explore. Yet, sometimes, I feel we hide in shame of our country. We decide to create a façade and we blame our countrymen for the state of our country. We have also conceded to westernization and slowly, we are losing our love of our language, our love of country, and our love of the uniqueness of our people. We mask our culture with the idea of “whiteness”, but we need to learn how to embrace every spectrum of kababayans. We must fully acknowledge each other and not let our crab bucket mentality get to the forefront of our unity. No matter our colour, our origins, our wealth, our beliefs, our political values–all of our stories are interwoven to become a magnificent mosaic that we know as the Philippines.
Let us come to love one another. Let us embrace each of our stories and learn to listen to what they are. Let us not toil in our obsession for beauty, wealth, westernization, gossip, and celebrities–let us celebrate who we are as a nation, instead of pitting ourselves against one another in the name of jealousy and greed. Let us remember to listen to the cries of the oppressed and answer their calls. Listen to the stories of our kababayans. Look into their eyes, embrace who they are, and you will see the side of humanity that everyone is searching for–love, compassion, hope, and faith in each other.
As President Duterte said, it may be a rough road towards peace, but it is a fork in the road that many do not dare to tread. But let us see each other as equals, stand shoulder-to-shoulder and march on with love and solidarity as the forefront of our fight against hatred. It is not going to be easy, but we can make it easier if we help each other out. The world is not going to be perfect, but as long as we have a vision–we can make change happen.
Malasakit. Tunay na Pagbabago. Tinud-anay nga Kausaban.
(Compassion. Real change.)
I love you, Philippines. Stay Strong. Stand United.