Monday, February 22, 2010

Freedom: Its Significance for Me and My Nation

If there is one thing which to me is essential in the existence of a human being for him to attain fullness of his dignity is FREEDOM. One of my favorite movies, the "Braveheart" wherein Willam Wallace's life exalted the value of it when he fought for freedom not only for his own but for his countrymen as when even unto his death, he shouted, "Freedom!!!" It was an unforgettable scene seeing a man restore freedom in an oppressive environment.

More than anything, Christ in my own faith, gave up his life to give all mankind freedom from sin. And thus to me, in all that mankind do it is inherent for him to demand freedom at all aspects in his being as I believe that to exercise freedom, I am likewise mandated to give freedom unto others even from myself the people that I love.

I am privileged enough to live in a country that uses democracy in their governance as enshrined in our Philippine Constitution. Nonetheless, two years before I was born, our country experienced the first attempt to forestall freedom and democracy after our independence as a nation, when President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law on September 21, 1972. Maybe I was too young to understand it then as I grew up since democracy was restored to our country after almost two decades during Cory Aquino's rise into presidency after a bloodless revolution in EDSA, proud to be Filipinos great heritage to the world. But being on my 6th grade already when EDSA took place, I could not forget the all jubilant faces of all significant people of my life when it happened. I fully understood how a country truly needs democracy! Yet even before this community-related sense and thirst for freedom came into me as a young child, I demanded freedom already.

I remembered how I hated cousins older than us during our plays and would turn us very little ones into object of their notoriety by calling us names instead of just explaining why we could not participate in their games, or some old ones who when they notice that parents are not around with their children would throw hurting words or gestures to demean children like us. When chances like this happened as I child, I remembered how I stood up and spoke my words telling them to stop. As a child I already know the value of freedom in the exercise of our uniqueness not to be maligned just because we act and behave differently. Hence, the restoration of my country's democracy through peaceful people power in EDSA strengthened my thirst for it and my attempts to give life into the word FREEDOM.

Freedom, however, does not mean giving human being absolute right to do anything they want even when its contrary to decency, law,morals and public order. Freedom is only freedom when such right is used in doing what is just and right. Our country restored democracy in a totally bloodless revolution. We only used prayers, our weapons were the goodness of our hearts as a Filipino nation gifted with this Catholic and Christian faith. We realized that with our unitive effort of goodness can actually put down from power even the most notorious dictator. Simply put, freedom is a virtue, it is pure in itself and could not survive in a chaotic world when people lives in absolute oblivion to order and balance. FREEDOM can therefore thrive only in peaceful hearts of those who exercise them.

Now and then, my country's experience of Freedom comes on and off when many politicians use their power and influence over the less fortunate and less educated population who are only banking on emotional and sentimental bondings and/or sense of debt of gratitude ("utang na loob") to people who provided them temporary relief, food and shelter who are running for public office. This supposedly positive Filipino value had been used to propagate staying into power political clans perpetually in public office because they have the means and resources from public funds to manipulate the hearts of their countrymen leading to corruption and inefficient governance in most part of my country. (This Filipino Psychology has allowed some scrupulous political leaders the means to oppress their own people as it has not liberated nor freed my own countrymen from their own tendencies and inclinations. )And the latest news that even shocked the world is the "Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao", wherein over 50 people; mediamen, lawyers and ordinary people alike were killed in an attempt to stop the filing of Certificate of Candidacy of a political opponent. A sad news for all of us who had experienced the sweetness of democracy and freedom. And in fact in my very own city, Iligan City, where I currently live in Mindanao, Philippines, a local City Councilor physically attacked an anchorman, a radio commentator while on a live broadcast when the said public official was confronted on some government transactions. These acts are to me inimical to the interest of FREEDOM.

On a personal level, I so valued FREEDOM that I give it to my love ones, even freedom from myself, so long as they do things just and morally right . As I believe in the famous quote, "I may not agree in what you say and how you say it but I fight to death your right to say it." As I cannot put into my hands the way a person wants to handle his affairs. And finally, I believe in the God who sent his Son Jesus Christ to bring all people salvation and freedom from sin. He my Maker give mankind complete LIBERTY and FREEDOM either to take on the chance of being freed from eternal damnation or be in Paradise. HE give freely FREEDOM and HE gives it allowing FREEDOM in each supposed recipient to receive or decline. If He freed me from sin through His Death, I will give the same freedom to others and I shall continue to fight for it as FREEDOM is one of the most beautiful fruit of LOVE.

Over a million Filipinos gathered at EDSA showing the world its own brand of Revolution, a bloodless people power calling for FREEDOM from oppressive political leader

Jesus Christ in a Manger the beginning of FREEDOM from sin offered by God to all mankind.