Monday, December 05, 2005

"What luck for rulers that men do not think" - Adolf Hitler

It is easy for us contented Filipinos, here and abroad, to simplify or imply that the arguments and presentations of our homeland’s history and current events by our nationalists as a blame game, i.e. use of “argument by victimhood” against America, the supporter (of our forefathers’ revolt against Spain) turned interventionist, new occupier and colonial master for 50 years.

To the thinking Filipino, he knows that among equals, to use the “argument of victimhood” is disgustingly moronic, irresponsible or immature.

But between the strong and the weak, the intelligent and the ignorant, victimhood is reality. It is as real as the Jewish Holocaust, or the forced displacement of Palestinians from Palestine (now mainly Israel) or the genocide of Armenians by Turks or the more recent ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia, etc. All their decades-old, if not centuries-old, ongoing conflicts borne out of real victimization.As I wrote in a previous posting:,

“Suffice it to say that the failure to solve our people's poverty is not strictly the fault of America or of foreign institutions (America has the strongest control and influence in them), and it is also not completely the fault of the so-called leaders of our homeland. It takes two to tango, to screw for so long and continually the country and our fellow countrymen.”

It urgently behooves the Filipino nationalists to educate the weak and the ignorant among us, that is, the impoverished majority and the miseducated in the homeland(many of us so-called educated), about the unknown hidden truths and the known untruths in our history; and to appreciate and see these recorded past as guides to internal and external factors which heavily and continually contribute and lead to our present, ever-worsening, national socio-economic and political predicament.

Only by educating and thus raising the national consciousness of the majority can a united, nationalistic citizenry be attained; who then will decisively work for the radical transformation of our homeland for the common good.

NOTE: 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 for key historical issues and policies --given by our former colonial master America, government officials and authors of history books, then and now.

In our homeland's case, we can not afford a "balanced" approach to history since in the past and present years, our homeland's history, as it refers to Philippine-US relationships, has been imbalanced in favor of the Americans, who as far as we baby boomers can remember, are only "the good guys" and "do-gooders" in history.

It is time for us, especially for Filipinos-in-the-Philippines to recover our history, a nationalist history, which necessitates uncovering the lies and myths about America; since the American arrival into and 50-year occupation of our homeland, the sweet nothings about "Philippine-American Special Relations", etc. perpetuated through our school textbooks, mass media, government pronouncements, Filipinos with Americanized minds, etc.

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 post-WW2 neocolonial conditions that brought only ever-worsening impoverishment to the masses; foreign control of the national economy and the dwindling of our national patrimony.

“The HISTORY of an oppressed people is hidden in the lies and the agreed myth of its conquerors.” - Meridel Le Sueur, American writer, 1900-1996

"In all institutions from which the cold wind of open criticism is excluded, an innocent corruption begins to grow like a mushroom - for example, in senates and learned societies." - Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900

"To oppose the policies of a government does not mean you are against the country or the people that the government supposedly represents. Such opposition should be called what it really is: democracy, or democratic dissent, or having a critical perspective about what your leaders are doing. Either we have the right to democratic dissent and criticism of these policies or we all lie down and let the leader, the Fuhrer, do what is best, while we follow uncritically, and obey whatever he commands. That's just what the Germans did with Hitler, and look where it got them." - Michael Parenti


Deany Bocobo said...

D.W. Brogan once observed that there is no greater emotional and psychological loss than that of an excuse for one's failures in the actions of another. I like that definition of VICTIMOLOGY which I didn't quite get, should we or should we not use victimhood to justify our own failure to create a strong and prosperous nation? You don't seem to be very sure.

But I should ask you: do you think Filipinos have any hand at all in anything that has happened to them that you would not blame on their colonial past? Anything at all?

Bert M. Drona said...


Thanks for your comment.

It depends on how far we want to go back in our homeland's history.

Thus, during the Spanish colonial times, the native indios (us) were pure victims as all colonized people are.

Similarly, we were victims during the brutal intervention and occupation, and subsequent colonization by America; up to the granting of political independence in 1946.

We were victims regardless of how much chocolates the US gave us. Throw in the efficient and effective "cultural imperialism" which subtly inculcated on our minds via the public education system, mass media, etc. to this day preference for and dependence on America in almost everything.

We were again victimized through the Agreements, i.e. Parity Rights, which was practically imposed as preconditions to the granting of independence and post-WW2 reparations. President Roxas and the bicameral Congress, given their conditioned response of dependency, signed on.

With our so-called independence, we continued to be victimized by America because majority of the native members of the moneyed/landed class,who also are the power elite in our socioeconomic-political arena, continue to support such Agreements(corresponds to what you call Filipino hand).

Fast forward today, the pressure from the America government and its transnational corporations, fellow Filipinos with Americanized minds in academia, government and business in our economic and political lives are still very present and strongly influential. All these OUR fault.

All these, thanks to the lack, if not absence, of nationalism on our part. All these, our fault. For a nationalistic leadership and people will unite and not allow foreign domination and control of our economic, political and cultural lives.

Bert M. Drona said...


That was a comprehensive and interesting exposition. I had to read it twice to get some understanding.

Anyway, your position, based on your deep and well-researched documented facts, seems to really merit an appeal not to the local US Embassy in Manila, but to the US Federal Courts.

However, I am no lawyer and am not sure of how the federal appeal process would be.

Maybe a letter to a liberal US Senator or Congressman, i.e. Sen. Edward Kennedy, might be worth a try and a start.

Deany Bocobo said...

Bert -- I guess your answer is YES we are a nation of victims, our nationalism should be an ideology of victimology and resentment. I wish I were wrong about what you wrote. Am I?

But let me ask another question. Is there such a thing as American Nationalism that you would put as equal to Filipino Nationalism and endow with the same resentments?

You seem to ignore the fact that America invented nationalism and started the global democratic revolution by giving EMPIRE its first push into the grave of history when the 13 Colonies declared national independence from the British Empire. Should they adopt your attitude, you might be calling for the destruction of the PHilippines AND the United Kingdom.

But correct me in my impression of your Nationalism, which reminds me more of NIHILISM actually. In fact, your leftist ideas are AMERICAN LEFTIST ideas, the worst kind of colonial mentality in my opinion.

Anyway thanks for the lively conversation.

Bert M. Drona said...

YES, your guess was wrong when you asserted that Filipino nationalism should be an ideology of victimology and resentment.

First, we need to clearly define or characterize the terms we use because we may be playing with semantics and thus wasting our time.

On Nationalism: There can be several meanings to nationalism, but to me nationalism is the strong political emotion expressing loyalty to the nation-state. Thus, Filipino nationalism is that sentiment that make us Filipinos feel that we belong together, that we recognize a common heritage and common destiny. If embraced by the majority, it becomes a force for national unity, for fraternity, and for national independence, i.e. anticolonialism of yesterday or the anti-neocolonialism of today.

Unfortunately, I admit that to this day the majority of our fellow countrymen have not reached such recognition and therefore, strictly speaking, we are not yet a nation. When the majority raise their nationalist consciousness and learn to shake off the feeling of awe of America as some nationalist Filipinos have, then we will truly become a nation, a community of a united people.

On your victimology: By analogy, to me I would qualify by saying that a victim is one who is unwilling and/or forced whether violently or by threat of violence, censure or any unwelcomed consequence; otherwise, in the absence of such qualifications there is no victim.

Your quotation of DW Brogan which you seem to buy and allude to regarding our homeland is based on my latter qualification. Thus, Brogan's and your implication about our Filipino nationalists do not apply.

As I wrote in my previous comment, we are indeed victims per my definition; but, we are not anymore victims -per my definition-after our so-called or formal independence in 1946.

On resentment: virtually all formerly colonialized countries had/have vehement rejection of alien imperial rule. This feeling is especially true for those colonized citizens who appreciated and understood the socioeconomic and political advantages of, or exploitative conditions imposed by, the colonizers. Is that feeling unexpected? what kind of feeling would one expect?

As to American nationalism vis-a-vis Filipino nationalism, you lost me here. I do not see any relevance to the present discussion.

I disagree that America invented nationalism. Well maybe the term "nationalism" was coined by them, which is again irrelevant. But the characteristics of nationalism, of belongingness as I explained earlier, were already in existence; maybe not with reference yet to the concept of nation-states but to a larger community, call it kingdom. Bottomline though, to me the issue of who invented nationalism --to use your phrase--is at best, academic, moot and irrelevant.

Maybe its undeniable that America made the first push to the grave of the British empire; and another 150+ years for the other Europeans to lose their empires. But America started its own quest for empire, for hegemony, by its expansion in the continent and by proclaiming the Monroe Doctrine, the Roosevelt Corollary in the western hemisphere and the Manifest Destiny line(as in their coming to our homeland), to name a few.

On Nihilism: Now you are getting personal and going someplace else by getting philosophical. If I were a nihilist, I would not give a hoot as to what is going on with anyone, of any people, anywhere including those in our homeland.

On labeling: And you are getting more personal and ruining the discourse by labeling, i.e. I having leftist ideas.

You do not know me. Anyway,I tell you that I did not get all my ideas from America.

Most important though, if speaking of and/or for the impoverished majority, or exposing the neocolonial relationship with America or against the influence and control by TNCs, WTO, IMF/WB/ADB,etc. makes one a leftist, according to your label, then I am one. Is that your main objective? Does it make you happy now?

From what you have stated so far, you obviously are not a leftist, what do you label yourself, may I ask? And who are you for? Are you for the foreigners and their local partners who profit much from the present conditions at the expense of the majority in the homeland? And do you profit from it too?

At this point, by getting personal and using labels, you just killed my desire to further our discussions. I thought we could maintain a respectable and reasonable exchange of ideas. But I assure you that I do recognize and respect your right to state your own opinions.


Bert M. Drona said...


Thanks for your response.

Regarding our divisiveness, among several factors, it is mainly due to precolonial tribalism and reinforced by the typical "divide and conquer" strategy by any conquering power, as any serious student of history knows.


I define nationalism as limited by territorial borders. To me, Filipino nationalism will be protective within our borders, and will not deny the national interests of foreign countries in their own borders (firstly, we do not have nor will have that capability to mess with theirs within their borders).

Our Filipino nationalism will have us live in harmony with other nationalists because all nationalists can work out a plan of co-existence.

Those who have carried out their nationalism beyond their borders, i.e. Japan and Nazi Germany in recent history, or the USA in post-WW2 era, China in Tibet, were/are ultra-nationalists; more aptly, imperialists. I suggest you need not worry about and equate our nationalism being so, we can not be their equal, if we ever become united.

Of course, the resentment and/or animosity you or others have expressed is understandable. The central government has, greviously and historically, failed and still fail to do what it was supposed to do,i.e. serve "the people", wherever they are in the homeland.

A serious look at the nations of the world will show that they individually have a dominant dialect/language, which usually becomes its national language. Since a national language is a sine qua non for a people to be united and be a nation. In our case, it only so happens it's Tagalog. And it does not stop anyone from using one's dialect. (At the Don Bosco seminary in Negros where I schooled, we were not allowed to speak in the various vernaculars/dialects before dinner, but only in English to avoid "tribal" or regional thinking/friction.)

As to federalism, whether each region can go it alone economically, whether the powers-that-be or whether the majority of the electorate will allow it to happen remains to be seen.