Thursday, November 10, 2005

Before We Won the War and Lost the Peace

"PEACETIME" -- that long interregnum in our history, between the Battle of Manila Bay and the Bombing of Pearl Harbor -- is not a term much used any more except by the older folks. Nor is the Spirit of that Age much in evidence in the demoralized citizenry and the decrepit state of the Archipelago in the Year of our Lord, 2005. But I was rummaging through some digital photos I had once taken of some old family photographs. Perhaps it would do well to revive images from that bygone era of around 1935, when the picture at left was taken, (Click on the image to magnify.) An old man's scrawl on the back says the occasion was an inauguration of some kind in the University of the Philippines. But to compare that time and place, and ours, look carefully at the faces of these men and women, beaming with the spirit of their age, making the most of their hour upon the stage, their bearing and demeanor, their brisk, confident motion frozen in the photograph, proudly striding into tomorrow. Look at the soldiers how proud they are. Look at the gleeful smiles, the fervour burning, look at the determination. (Look at those two-toned shoes!).

Look at President Manuel L. Quezon, and to his right, (says an elegant if faded script) his "dear friend" Dr. Jorge Bocobo. I only bring up such sentimental and nostalgic things as this because the sight of FILIPINOS in the halcyon days of 1935 had cheered me up today after glumly reading the description that MLQ3 gives of the Philippines in 2005:
"Communist thought has won an intellectual victory, in that with the demise of the generation that defeated Communism in the 1950s, no one has taken their place. Generations of Filipino schoolchildren are being brainwashed in the schools, because the history textbooks are being written by Communists."
How has it come to this? And how can we so candidly proclaim it as if it were a thing of everyday consent? How can it be that those who were defeated by the generation of our fathers in the fifties, get to write the history books? MLQ3 is right in that the defeat is an intellectual one that cannot be reversed any more on the battlefield of arms alone, or in some gruesome body count. I never much liked Fascism as a system or an ideology anyway. What we have lost is a war of the memes. The ground lost must consequently be retaken by other means, by other memes, one brain at a time, in the battlefield of infectious ideas: communism, democracy, dictatorship, liberty, religion, science, revolution, war, peace.

I do not miss the Twentieth Century. I was glad to see her go. She deserved that anticlimactic fin de siecle we called Millennium. Let the Bug be its headstone! I do not miss that century of our defeat, one that is apparently so compleat in its execution that it has made someone like Manuel L Quezon III forget that he is a member of a secret society, one that is only accidentally hereditary, but is quintessentially meritocratic. It is a secret society that has survived from ancient times, an aristocracy of the mind, that has itself NEVER surrendered, NEVER lost faith or hope in the innate goodness of man, in the eternal power of reason, and most of all, never lost the courage to live in Liberty at those times when it was far easier to surrender and accept the chains, whether physical, social or "intellectual". José Rizál was a charter member, (he, the Master Maker of Memes). And so were our grandfathers and fathers, but they were lesser men, and as MLQ3 says, they won the war but lost the peace. Fragments of their conversations can still be found in neglected places like the fifth floor of an old building populated by ghosts in Diliman. Such ghosts find their ideal home in the heart, the fount of courage, the redoubt of Liberty.

I do not however take the pessimistic, dare I say defeatist attitude that MLQ3 takes to the situation because our defeat is not complete. Those ghosts of a vanished past are writing this through me! So I do not miss the Twentieth Century of our defeat, because I look forward to the Twenty-first Century of our victory. We shall retake the homelands of the heart by reconquering the archipelagos of our demoralized minds!

4 comments:

Rizalist said...

A Warm Welcome Traveler!

It's a misty morning in Manila and a light rain is falling. A good day for connecting to the global mind.

Rizalist said...

To Emailer "QTpi":
Yes I have an Open Sitemeter installed on this site so you can get an idea what other websites and search results are bringing visitors to Philippine Commentary. You have to scroll all the way down until you see a lil multicolored square.

Edwin Lacierda said...

DJB,

Sound the clarion call! Let all like minded men heed your cause as we test the measure of our resolve and put our wits to battle against a philosophy that should have remain buried in the past century.

Rizalist said...

Thanks Ed! You sir, are already doing that! Keep up the good work. We may lose our faith in the Law, but we must never lost faith in ourselves!