Monday, June 16, 2008

Why Pinoys should fight, by Sultan Kudarat

Consider this a belated Independence Day post. I am currently reading The Roots of the Filipino Nation (vol. 1) by Onofre D. Corpuz. One of the prominent features of this book is Corpuz' focus on the Muslim community during the Spanish colonial period.

Medyo nga dehado ang mga taga-Visayas and Luzon as our pre-Hispanic forefathers were unable to effectively counter the Spanish 'onslaught'. Corpuz credits the Muslim communities in Mindanao for having effectively resisted the Spaniards through the centuries -- even becoming a credible threat to the colony estabished in the archipelago.

In the chapter dealing with early revolts, Corpuz mentions at length the Muslim resistance. In his account of one of the dealings between the Spaniards and the datus of Maranao, Corpuz describes the intervention of Sultan Kudarat when it seemed that some of the datus were thinking of subjecting themselves to the Spanish crown.

Corpuz presents the so called "lecture" of Kudarat to the wavering datus. This is taken from a Jesuit account of Kudarat's meeting with the datus:

"What have you done? Do you know to what submission will reduce you? a toilsome slavery to the Spaniards! Turn your eyes to the nations that have submitted, look at the misery to which these once proud nations have been reduced...Do you not see how any Spaniard tramples them underfoot?...Will you suffer just anybody with some Spanish blood to thrash you, or that he seize the fruits of your sweat and labors?"

Then Sultan Kudarat cajoles the datus, asking them what have they got to lose in resisting. If they fight, they would risk a disruption of their livelihood. To this Sultan Kudarat commented:

"The loss of our harvests for one year is a small price to pay for liberty."

Reading Kudarat's words as recounted in the document, I felt that the words still ring true today. Even if we're already done fighting the Spaniards, we as a nation still have a lot of 'enemies' in our midst. Should we allow ourselves to acquiesce quietly, to still our voices at the injustice and inequalities around us? What are we willing to sacrifice in our fight for our freedom?

Sultan Kudarat's voice still echoes through the centuries...

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