To those who wonder "why dig the past": We engage in revisiting and revising our past, i.e. historical "revisionism", to develop new emphases and raise new questions on assumptions and explanations on key historical issues and policies --given by our former colonial master America, government officials and authors of history books, then and now.
We Filipinos, here and abroad, past and present, relied and continue to use these official explanations that lead only to our ignorance of hidden truths and knowledge of untruths, thus perpetuating the (neo)colonial conditions of the past that brought only worsening impoverishment to the masses; foreign control of the national economy and the plunder of our national patrimony.
Given the preceding thoughts in our minds, it is worthwhile to post the below article which demonstrates a few facts that we -most of us- were made to miss at school. Article was forwarded by Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta.
“Nations, whose NATIONALISM is destroyed, are subject to ruin.” - Colonel Muhammar Qaddafi, 1942-, Libyan Political and Military Leader
"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini, La Revolucion Filipina (1898)
"If it is commercialism to want the possession of a strategic point [Philippines] giving the American people an opportunity to maintain a foothold in the markets of that great Eastern country [China], for God's sake let us have commercialism." – U.S. Senator Mark Hanna,(1837-1904)
“There is no literate population in the world that is poor; there is no illiterate population that is anything but poor.” – John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)
A Patriot’s pain
Manila Bulletin, Tuesday, 19 December 2006
Landscape, Gemma Cruz Araneta
December should be declared our patriotic month as so many things happened to us during this month—the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal in 1896,the Battle of Pasong Tirad in 1898, followed by the ratification by the US Senate of that deed of sale known as the “Treaty of Paris”. We should not forget the bombing of Pearl Harbor, of more recent memory.
There are probably other events, many glorious and some ignoble, yet to be discovered. Filipinos have been kept in the dark about our own history.I gave myself an early Christmas gift. I bought a book with brittle pages,unraveling at the spine, but which cost me an arm and a leg. I felt I had to buy it as I was almost moved to tears by the author’s foreword.
Felipe G. Calderon, patriot, lawyer and author of the Malolos Constitution wrote: Mis memorias sobre la Revolucion Filipina:segunda etapa 1898 a 1901.In his foreword,”Por que publico estas memorias” (literally- why I publish these memoirs),Calderon said he felt deep anguish when he learned that the majority of private school students who took the entrance exams to the Escuela de Medicina del Gobierno, did not even get a passing grade because they failed “Historia de Filipinas”.
Apparently, one of the questions was about the Pacto de Biak-na-Bato which most students from non-government institutions had not even heard of. Calderon sadly observed that private schools had neglected the teaching of “la Historia Patria” and felt that was “verdaderamente desconsolador”(truly disconsolate). On the other hand, in public schools, Philippine history was taught but from the point of view of the American colonial masters.
In 1905, three hundred students signed the audacious “Memorial de los Estudiantes Filipinos” a document prepared for US Senator William J. Bryan who came to the Philippines for a visit. Although the First Republic had been crushed, its embers glowed as the students (future doctors, pharmacists and lawyers) denounced the atrocities of the American invasion, in no polite terms, and demanded complete and absolute Independence. Things must have changed so drastically in two years that Felipe Calderon felt constrained to write his memoirs.
This brings to mind another book, A Brief History of the Philippines, by Leandro H. Fernandez,Ph.D. who was once head of the History Department of the University of the Philippines. His opus was published by no less than Ginn and Company in 1919, he year when the Flag Law was finally abrogated.
As you know, in 1907, when elections were held for the first Philippine Assembly, the Filipino flag was a rallying point of the candidates who clamored for immediate Independence. Immediately, the Flag Law was imposed, prohibiting the public display of our nation colors and emblem.
Subsequently, revised editions of Fernandez’s work were published in 1932 (before the Commonwealth), and in 1951. Published five years after our Independence was finally restored, Fernandez’s history book still carried the “disclaimer” which probably appeared in 1919: “Controversial views have purposely been omitted, on the ground that such discussions, though they may be of advantage to maturer students, serve only to confuse young pupils.”
Felipe Calderon must have turned in his grave when that came out and has not stopped doing so because generations of Filipinos continue learning abridged and fragmented versions of their history. Many of the “controversial views” so studiously omitted by Fernandez had been meticulously compiled by Calderon in his Memorias.
Before it falls apart, I am reading his book and sharing the patriot’s pain.