Ignorance of History Makes for Bad Decision Making

I like Spain, man. But our “benevolent colonizer” called America has also done something to our country. We owe what we are now because of what Americans did during World War II. I am saying this aware of the abuses and murders that some Americans did (like what some Spaniards did to some degree) to our ancestors. Manuel Quezon and Douglas MacArthur’s friendship was bonded in Manila because of the war. America back then, may well be a very different America we have now, but it sure does not remove the fact that we have something shared in history. We are in debt to that period. We are obliged to remember the sacrifices of our ancestors and those who have helped them preserve our liberty. Needless to say, it was America who stood with us during World War II against Japanese invasion.

Filipinos forget easily and thus end up relying on scantily hashed “facts” in making decisions – national decisions. What went on before? Let us have a glimpse by going over MacArthur’s letter, then we will end with a rant.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur wrote this letter for Quezon on June 18, 1942 in Melbourne, Australia. It was the thick of war, but he still managed to write a letter for Quezon, his dear friend. MacArthur relates,

“From the shadows of Corregidor in a proclamation to the Filipino people he (Quezon) said:

“The determination of the Filipino people to continue fighting side by side with               the United States until victory is won has in no way been weakened by the                           temporary reverses suffered by our arms. We are convinced that our sacrifices                 will be crowned with victory in the end and in that conviction we shall continue to           resist the enemy with all our might.”

“To-day he (Quezon) is fighting, at the head of his people and side by side with America, the greatest battle of all – a battle that shall determine, perhaps for centuries to come, the fate of his people. God cannot fail to bless him in so sacred a cause.”

MacArthur said that “From the beginning, Manuel Quezon has pledged loyalty to America.”

As Filipinos, we are bound to honor the promise of our forefather, however mindful we are of asserting our sovereignty. Americans died too defending our country even if they knew it was a lost cause. No Asian nation spilled blood to defend us during that time of great tragedy.

If we are poor right now and dominated by foreign investors, it is our fault. We were given the best by the Spaniards in terms of schools, government, Western connections, religion and culture. Before America came, we were producing doctors, lawyers and clergy. We were something in Asia. When America came, we were given the best by the US government of that time, especially the ability to govern ourselves, Democracy, public schools and other public infrastructures. For God’s sake we had the best tools in our hands! If we are poor right now, it is not because Spain and America colonized us. But because we keep on ranting as a people, despising our past for the poverty we experience now. Where in the hell did we get that? Instead of taking in our own hands the best tools we have received and shape our nation, we complain. After World War II, no one in Asia was above any other, not even Japan. But look where we are now. Our current state is because of us, not because we were colonized. We had the “best” colonizers, if you ask around.

 

(Note: The… Introduction was prepared by General Douglas MacArthur in 1941 and sent to President Quezon in Washington. President Quezon died August 1, 1944).

Manuel L. Quezon. The Good Fight. NY: W. Morgan Shuster, 1944. (I only have a pdf copy of Quezon’s autobiography, unfortunately the title page and its verso are missing. However, the publisher, Mr. Shuster wrote an article for Quezon. So I took his name. If you are interested I will gladly send you the file of the book – which I think is one of the most important document in our history that is not taught to us, precisely because it is important. Smiley. Seriously, an easy read and very touching.)

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