Who Better to Govern Us?
[From Chapter XII]

It is time to remind ourselves what true nationalism really means. It is loyalty to one’s nation, not to his State. It is love of the tongue we speak, not the salute we give to a piece of colored cloth. It is our past, present, and future. It is man’s ageless long-ing for the eternal, says Johann Gottlieb Fichte, that to which the “noble-minded”

        entrusts the eternity of himself and his continual influence . . . in which he
        places his portion of eternity; he must will its continuance, for it alone is to
        him the means by which the short span of his life here below is extended into
        continuous life . . . as an internal life is the bond which unites him [with] his
        nation . . . This is his love for his people, respecting, trusting, and rejoicing
        in it . . . Henceforth the noble-minded man will be active and effective, and
        will sacrifice himself for his people . . . In order to save his nation he must be
        ready even to die that it may live, and that he may love in it the only life for
        which he has ever wished.
 

It is time for us to speak to, and reason with, each other. Because if we but feel the force of truth, Pascal teaches, we will yield to it.

To those of like persuasion, our task is to apprise our regions of the advisability
--- if not the inevitability --- of self-rule to supplant the status quo. Our obligation is to remind our emerging republics, in the Jewish writer Theodor Herzel’s words, “We are one people --- our enemies have made us one. Distress binds us together, and, thus united, we suddenly discover our own strength. Yes, we are strong enough to form a state and a model state. We possess all the human and material resources for that endeavor.” Our courage must be that of the prophet Isaiah, who, when he heard the Lord ask, “Whom shall I send?” responded, “Here I am, Lord. Send me!” Our forti-tude must emulate Rizal’s, who taught that “liberty is a woman who grants her favors only to the brave.” Our prayer must be that of Mabini: “I have no other balm . . . than the satisfaction given by the conviction of having always done what I believed to be my duty. God grant that I can say the same at the hour of my death.” Our duty is to remind our nations that they alone are responsible for the structures, sanctions, and standards by which they desire to be governed, and that only a government that fears its citizens attempts to suppress them. Our challenge is to apprise them of their rights, because those who do not know their rights have none. Our charge is to help them recapture and regain their exclusive, God-given role as the paramount conser-vators of our distinct cultural identities, the finest guardians of our children’s future, and the best trustees of our plural political destinies. 

To the Philippine Left, who deem themselves the “vanguards” of nationalism, I commend the words of Kathleen Weekley:

        [T]wentieth century modernist nationalism can no longer be a political stra-
        tegy for the Filipino left because it rests on the obliteration of differences.
        Rethinking old-style anti-imperialism will force the left to . . . understand
        that ethnic, class and other social cleavages are not transcended via a ‘na-
        tional’ imaginary except through the use of violence. . . . I argue that the
        Philippine state’s relative historical lack of success in hegemonic nation-
        building, along with a recently reinvigorated democratic impulse, offer the
        Filipino left a unique opportunity to lead a popular campaign for a new
        regional identity --- one committed to democratic principles rather than ex-
        clusivist notions of ‘national belonging.’ 

None of us, any longer, can hang on to the false “imaginary” of our Filipino-ness. The “Filipino,” as we’ve seen, is an artificial, hegemonic construct created solely to serve the needs of state-building, needs that destroy identity, stifle freedom, and perpetuate injustice. It is a destructive, debilitating deceit that disregards essential issues of distinctiveness, domination, and discrimination. It is the handiwork of be-nighted nationalism, which Lenin himself forcefully and categorically deplored.
 
        The proletariat of Russia is faced with a two-fold, or rather, a two-sided task:
        to combat nationalism of every kind, above all, Great-Russian nationalism;
        to recognise, not only fully equal rights for all nations in general, but also
        equality of rights as regards polity, i.e., the right of nations to self-determi-
        nation, to secession.

 
To those who would cling by sentiment to the faded myth of unity because the inertia of four centuries binds their hearts, I ask: Who better to save our dying cul-tures and vanishing languages than the nations to whom they belong? Who better to serve as the best curators of Visayan heritage than Visayans? Who better to govern Bangsamoro than its Muslims? Who better to protect the resources of Cordillera than the Igorots? Who better to discern the needs of Mindanao than Mindanaoans? Who better to address the challenges of Luzon than Luzonians? And if we desire and demand self-rule: Who will stop us? Who can resist us? Wisdom from two heroic fig-ures, one from today’s South Africa and the other from France of centuries ago: Archbishop Desmond Tutu tells us: “When a people decide they want to be free, there is nothing that can stop them.” The Marquis de la Fayette reminds us, “Call to mind the sentiments which nature has engraved on the heart of every citizen. For a nation to love liberty, it is sufficient that she knows it; for a nation to be free, it is sufficient that she wills it.”

John Locke, the ideological progenitor of the American Revolution, would have stoutly, and proudly, agreed. From his Second Treatise on Government [1690]:

        Every man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience
        or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified,
        entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This po-
        litical judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-
        preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part
        with . . . It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which
        we can preserve no other.

Of all the truths we’ve seen, this is the most precious --- the most profound: if we refuse to earn the right to govern ourselves, we are entitled to no other.
      
Dayon.                        Welcome.
       This is the website for A Country of Our Own: Partitioning the Philippines, the new book by award-winning author David C. Martinez published by the Center for World Indigenous Studies and scheduled for release in April, 2003.

'Country'
   
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-- William Wallace     
["Braveheart"]     

'Country'
   
--- Nilo Sarmiento, formerly an ordained member of the Society of Jesus
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Partitioning the Philippines
       The Philippines stands on brink of either anarchy or authoritarianism. The author pro-poses that this failed and fabricated State's
only salvation lies in dividing it before it self-destructs.
Now is our chance; now.
 If we join, we can win.
 If we win, well then
we'll have what none of
us have ever had before
-- a country of our own.
  
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