Saturday, July 17, 2010

Nationalism...where, from here?

I was a student of Development Studies way back in the '80's. After more than 20 years of struggling to contribute something for my country's development, I am still disheartened that the same 'systemic' problems persist: 'dependency', violence, poverty, among others. At this point in my life, I am still searching for paths that would allow me to contribute to the upliftment of my fellow Filipinos. Thus, I enrolled in this peace studies. True enough, I have attained a wider perspective in seeing the problem of 'underdevelopment'. Now, I understood it better from the point of view of class dynamics, from 'dependency' theories and from the perspective of international relations. But it made the task more daunting.

Now, I am quite sure that nationalism has something to do with it. I was touched when a classmate of mine said, "maybe Filipinos do not claim their country enough that they are willing to do something to contribute to its development". I must say, "enough" must not be the word instead "one passion" for one's country must be cultivated so much so that it can not be easily eroded in time. Of course, colonialism has been running in our history for more than four centuries now (and perhaps, in our blood) that saying it must be supplanted with nationalism is easily said than done. How to go about conceptualizing nationalism in this time of globalization proved to be a much harder task.

But I know that being born in this piece of island called 'Philippines', being raised with this kind of people and context allows me to claim something that I felt more like 'power of identity'. I believe nationalism must take off from here: this identification to one's land and one's people and that desire to see them develop holistically in the years to come must be the single passion of both the leaders and the led. How to initiate and sustain this desire is the more difficult process to start with...

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