Inheritors of a Stolen Past

“What you leave behind, we’ll have to live with tomorrow.”

It was complete travesty of the struggles begun with self-sharpened bolos, a few victorious remnants of agaw-armas, and a mastery of a visitor-turned-conqueror’s language transformed into a book of fury. They were also of those sustained by the curdling blood of indios ruptured in spirit, whose wives had been raped, and whose young made afraid and dumb. But then the indio fought on and won against the tyrants who had claimed his own land.

The indio, however, will have to be extinguished by one whose flesh, but not loyalty, he shares. His own kind and yet not the same. Betrayal, bloodshed, bourgeoisie became the first taste of Philippine independence one hundred years ago after 400 years of foreign occupation. The 7,000 islands were to be re-born as one nation, and culminate to a system that will later be called a government.

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Pilipinas becomes her. Her lush forests and their bounty now marked by an identity of a proud but confused race, her war-torn buildings now reshaping their path to a common yet unknown future. But the future was sold as much as the past was stolen from her people. With wounds still fresh from too many wars, Pilipinas clenched her fist to declare total repossession of the freedom that was continually being taken away from her.

It was too late. Her children, who have heard her cries and marched to her rescue, were exacted with inquisition and death. From her ranks once rose a leader of the traitors’ government who had vowed to effect change, only to find his body later choked up in flames. And then a dictator came and ravaged everything that may be left of her and of her children, only to save some for the future leaders of his kind, all of them wearing the mask of change, the promise of bounty, the covenant of peace. But delivered only death.

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There was nothing more that could be done now. The land, our children, and our future have long been sold. And we have inherited them all from a stolen past that killed our heroes and worshiped the traitors in us.

The Philippine Revolution is over. It has been won long ago, except that the victory is not ours. Some may have taken the spoils and called it our freedom and independence, but Pilipinas, our mother, knows better.

If you were truly one of her children, then you would know that the one carrying the victory flag after a hundred years is not her. Or hers.

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