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Referendum: FAQs
RP: Terrible Truths
Partitioning the Philippines

Facts and Fallacies

There is no attempt either in this chapter or in this book to revisit the entirety of our separate histories. That effort is a project worthy of the labor of a company of scholars, and will require volumes. I restrict myself to reexamining a number of previously unchallenged assumptions on which the myth of our common "nationhood" is premised, and begin with the underlying argu- ment --- preached as dogma by our nationalists and swallowed as such by most -- that our coloni- zation was an unqualified disaster, nothing less than the triumph of evil over good. This I reject as absolutism --- the simplistic, misleading, and irresponsible depiction of history as either black or white. Jarle Simensen, a history professor, also challenges this assumption, saying it's time we "abandon the perception of Asians and Africans exclusively as victims." He asks, among other queries: What might have happened had colonization not taken place?

In order to evaluate colonial rule, it is also necessary to form an opinion on what would have happened without colonial rule . . . Opinions vary and are strongly coloured by political ideo- logy and wishful thinking. However, historical comparisons can be drawn with countries that were not colonised, such as Ethiopia . . . 

If our partisan scholars have no intelligent response to this hypothetical, it's because they dare not ask the question. They fear it because they know the answer, which negates their canvas of 
a "homogenous race" consisting of people speaking "different dialects" and living in relative peace,  of a society whose grand destiny was thwarted by "the curse of colonialism." 

If we were 
never colonized and ended up like today's Ethiopia, would we be better off? Hostile
as our nations and regions were towards one another before Legazpi and Urdaneta, would our nationalists prefer that we evolved into atomized island-states? Would they be happier if --- ab- sent a competing creed --- we all became Muslims? If Ethiopia --- never colonized --- was com-pelled to accede to the secession of its Eritreans, who never identified themselves as Ethiopians, shouldn't the Philippines --- a colony for centuries and a much more plural, multicultural state ---
allow the secession of our Muslims, who have never considered themselves Filipinos? In the al-ternative, let's assume for a moment that we were colonized only 
briefly by the "demonical white man," like the Caribbean country that became the second in the Americas to achieve indepen-dence [1804] after a successful 13-year, native-led revolt. If we ended up like today's Haiti, would that satisfy our nationalists? Would they have preferred Duvalier to Marcos? Or what if we ended up like today's Cuba, which gained independence in 1902? Find me nationalists with honest answers to these questions, and I'll be glad to provide them, gratis et amore, with first class, one-way tickets to Ethiopia, Haiti, or Cuba -- their choice.