It is not the history that repeats itself. It is us who are repeating our history. It is with this that I am addressing this text to each and every one of us Filipinos. History has been essential on providing us the clues to the trails of our past on this mountain of destiny. Where are we now in this mountain? Where is the top? How close are we to the top? Where are we currently heading? We cannot answer that by just looking around on where we are right now for within this mountain lies a jungle full of trees of personal comforts which, even though provided us comfort through the shade, have deprived us from seeing the light. That made the acquisition of our headings difficult. With the comfort provided, some of us would prefer to stay there, only to be consumed by nature, never to be found again.
In order to see the bigger picture of the mountain for us to see our goal one more time, we must at it from where we came from, the past. The only way to get there is to look back on our tracks. The trails that were left behind were only a handful. If only one were to trace back all the tracks, it would take forever, so that is why looking back to history was a collective effort, for there would be a lot of dead ends. The nature reclaimed some of those trails, making them almost invisible. Only those who know how to look for them will find them. The predecessor who blazed those paths might have blocked some paths in order to force their successors to take the same path as theirs. It is the duty of those seekers to uncover those paths and removing the barricades that obscure it. Some may find ancient perils along the way. Some may be lost. Some may be found. It all boils down to our ultimate goal: seeing that mountain once more and now knowing the mistakes of those who come before them, they can blaze a path towards the top.
History in our education system has become no more than a plain and dull memorization of events with no emphasis of importance at all. Our heroes were placed in their pedestals, portrayed and looked upon as some godly figures. People who revered these people saw them as some kind of superheroes. The mindset derived from it was supposed to give us an inspiration to follow their examples and their patriotism. But on the other hand, it was more evident that it discourages people more, who instead humbled themselves into accepting the fact that they were just ordinary human beings, for it gives them the impression that one has to have some great abilities in order to be a patriot and serve one’s country. Those of us who were introduced to the realities have tried to tell others, much to our disdain and much to their disgust. These were boys and girls, men and women, who preferred to look for themselves rather than to look for the brighter future ahead for all of us.
I was glad that the movie Heneral Luna (2015) was able to break that barrier, not only breaking the barrier made by the victors on our access paths to the sophisticated yet sober world of history, without much romance and shrouding, but also presenting to those people, who ignored our preaching, with the realities that we were showing them in, much to our concession and admittance to our shortcomings, a digest-able and entertaining way.
However, most of those who saw the movie did not see it full message. It caused a lot of misinterpretation. Instead of looking more into our history, they were treating the movie as the Theory of Everything. These people took everything for granted and now have begun to spew baseless hate to some people they don’t fully know about. Even though most of our historians like the former Independencia-correspondent-turned-UP-President-turned-senator Rafael Palma made observations in history with a slight inclination towards what they were feeling (Notably, Palma on Rizal’s retraction letter). The inclination towards hating Aguinaldo through sympathy on Luna was generally shallow in the basis of a scholarly observation. They threw every unnecessary remark on those people they felt they should be having their hatred to, especially to those gents: Aguinaldo, Paterno and Buencamino. Most of the remarks were unsavory.
Most of us overlooked the fact that these gent contributed a lot to the history we were having today. Without them, things would be different. It would be a hell of a paradigm shift which can blow our brains out by even trying to come into a conclusion of the what-ifs. For us to have an idea on how mammoth task it was… just think of your last heartbreak (*ugh!): if only you do this and if you do that, things would become different. You can only see those things in a relatively close future while ignoring the other parameters like the environment and considering only yourself and your love one. But we were talking of many people, of world events, of the web of interpersonal relationships. We may even sympathize to our computers that went crashing when their capacities were exceeded. Our reality was to accept the present that was given to us by the past. We only look back to the past, through history, so that we can learn from the mistakes of it, so that we can propel ourselves out of the vicious spiral we may be taking and finally to look for the root cause of our problems, which some can be attributed without looking to other people to blame but only to ourselves. It must not be to the point of blaming someone for everything. They were just specks in the sand. The problem, our foe, lies within us. We were the drivers of our own fate. We brought upon ourselves the miseries of life. Those who followed the path of the righteous had their rewards. Those who faltered and those who fell to the deeds of Lucifer paid their respective prices. We are the ones controlling our destinies.
But still, we attributed our shortcomings to something. In the ancient times, it was the devil that was blamed for everything. In the recent times, it was the government. People are saying that it was system that was wrong and that is why it must be reformed and replaced. It is susceptible to change but it was not changing. People put up excuses saying that the system was ever-pervasive and stubborn. The people are the ones who made and abode to that system, so why it doesn’t hold itself accountable to the people? It is because we also have a system of practice and in the systems that most people have, seeing that we are at fault is in the farthest of our realm of possibilities.
By seeing ourselves to be at fault or by even being conscious that we may be at fault, to avoid shame, we will be forced to get rid of our illnesses within ourselves before they became rampant and therefore, change begins. Through history, we can learn lessons from their mistakes, but we in the present should not blame them for their mistakes. Yes, Heneral Luna potrayed our heroes as humans, but not as humans you can simply bully over the internet, just like how you bully your adversaries. Just like the ones that are bullied, our heroes were real people too. In a distant future, we may also be on the receiving end of the judgments in the trial room in the hall of history. In order to give a fair judgment, one must understand the circumstances that these people met. History should not just be a detailing of event but also it must be an interrogation for reason.
It is with the same objective that I intended to share with you my interpretation of the events of the most agitated period in our history, the spring of our identification as a nation.