“Those who make peaceful revolutions impossible render violent revolutions inevitable.” —President John F. Kennedy
In the light of current national developments the talk of elections in 2016 seems irrelevant, in the darkness of the magnitude of our problems. Nobody seems to seriously care about what is going on except the reporter of media who is interested in covering a story that will catch public attention with the view to getting a raise in his salary or a promotion. Nobody seems to care about the country; it’s everyone for himself. That appears to be the name of the game in our time and nobody cares except to play the game.
But this attitude will not help our people; it will not help our country. It will not help generations of Filipinos to come because of our indifference to find solutions to our existing problems. It will doom the country and our people to a fate worse than death. Nothing can be worse than death than when an independent country becomes a province or colony of another country. And the possibility seems eminent.
Ridiculous? Look around you and think about your political, economic and cultural environment. The confrontation in the West Philippine Sea involves us and a major power. China, the major power, is a member of the Security Council – the enforcing agency of the United Nations. More than that, it is one of the top powerful five countries that wield veto power in the Council. A veto exercised by any of the five dooms any move in the UN because, as the rules go, a veto can overrule the votes of the fourteen other members of the Council.
So our legal remedy is not in the UN or the rules of international law because China has defined the rules of engagement. It refuses to be badgered into the UN field as a battleground because it is afraid of the vote in the UN general assembly and the majority vote in the Council. Why is China anticipating a defeat in these bodies – because the UN is overwhelmingly composed of majority of the small countries in the world. These countries will surely vote for the Philippines because they hate to be bullied by the major powers. It is that simple.
Where can we find our remedy? China has pointed to us our remedy: its fear of world condemnation and that is around the corner. We must use the UN and ASEAN as leverages in bilateral negotiations while strengthening our armed forces. That way, we will be negotiating from a position of strength.
If China refuses to be rational in the negotiation table, with strengthened armed forces, we should go to the brink in the West Philippine Sea. We should risk a violent confrontation so the US, the UN and the countries in this planet will tell China that it cannot behave irrationally without risking its economic boom going bust and its international influence reduced to the barest minimum. International isolation cannot be an alternative for China.
To do all these, you need a brilliant Philippine leader who has brains in his balls and balls in his brain. We cannot find this with PNoy or any of the pronounced ambitioning presidential or vice-presidential candidates. With the way these people talk and strut around, I am afraid, without meaning to offend them, they have more disqualifications than qualifications for a national leader.
Where can we find this leader? As I keep on repeating myself: in a country of a hundred million Filipinos, there must be one in every million. All we need is one who would favorably respond to the challenges of our time. We can find him. It is the task of every Filipino to find him. Nominate him to the embrace of the National Coalition for a Constitutional Transition Government and we can take it from there.
Why not in the ranks of the political parties? I am afraid that would be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Of the many who I know from these ranks, in so far as the requirements of the national leader of our time are concerned, they all belong to the genius of the below average. And the below average or the average would not do. Because the Numero Uno is reserved to a special person who is the first among equals – primus inter pares. We have not scoured the field enough and when we do, we will find him.
The same solution goes with our problems with the US. They want to continue dominating us. It is bad enough that it treats our leaders and our military like whining lapdogs. We should free ourselves from the stranglehold of these people and, in the process, free our selves from the imprisonment of our colonial mind and the United States of America.
For a beginning, we should demand a NATYO-type defense agreement between us and US where the attack on one country is considered an attack on the other. No need for constitutional refinements! If the US refuses our demand, then we should terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Comprehensive Agreement (VFA) and let the Americans drown in the Mindanao Deep.
You say it cannot be done – impossible? Well, Gammal Abdel Nasser drove the British out of the Panama Canal. Many said it was impossible to do but Nasser did it and made the British run an Olympic Games’ record-breaking one hundred meter dash with the tail between their legs. Similarly, Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap drove the French, the Americans and their Allies out of Vietnam with the Whites running in complete disarray in full view of international television. Mao Zedong, Zou en-Lai and Chu Te demolished the Chinese mandarins, the Americans and Chiang Kai Shek and drove them out of mainland China and brought China into the modern world. David Ben-Gurion of the Hagannah and Menachem Begin of the Irgun created Israel at the center of the sea of Arabs. Lenin, Trotzky and Stalin buried the Cussacks and their slaves, dramatized by John Reed in Ten Days that Shook the World. Sukarno terminated the rule of the Dutch in Indonesia. Fidel Castro and Che Gueverra shamed the Americans in Cuba. I can go on and on but this is enough for the moment.
These cannot be done by a Filipino? Let me just cite a few incidents to prove my point of how overpowering can a Filipino be in demonstrating brilliance and courage. In the first Inter-Parliamentary Conference (IPU) I attended in 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland, I watched a Filipino deliver an extemporaneous speech on human rights before a crowd of thousands composed of deputy prime ministers, ministers and members of parliament given a standing ovation in a plenary session – the only one who merited such reaction during any of the plenary sessions of the IPU at the time. He made me proud as a Filipino.
In a topnotch session in Washington, DC of the Global Strategic Studies, one of the think tanks in that area, I heard a young Harvard graduate, in the presence of some of the most brilliant staff members of the US Congress, tell one of the speakers – a Filipino, saying: “You know Sir, I am afraid, we share a mutual misfortune. “ The speaker replied with a question: “Why is that?” The American replied, “Because you are not an American!” The Filipino fired questions at the Harvard man: “What of it if I am not an American? Why should that be a mutual misfortune?” The American replied: “Because if you were an American, you can be President of this country.” It was a beautiful exchange to watch. It made me proud as a Filipino.
In a session of the sub-Committee on Human Rights of the American Congress, I witnessed a Filipino tell the Director of the Philippine Desk of the US State Department and who later became US Ambassador to Manila, who maligned the Filipino witnesses who testified before the committee as not telling the truth on the dismal human rights and economic situation in the country during the Cory Aquino years, in this manner: “I am afraid Sir, you do not know the problems of my country and their solutions. Probably the longest time you have stayed in my country is about five days. I have lived in that country for more than forty years and more than anyone of you, I know the problems of my country and their solutions. I have here a copy of a Manila daily, a Cory propaganda sheet, quoting Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos as saying that the human rights situation in the Philippines is worse than the same period during the Marcos years and Aurelio Periquet, a Cory follower and President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, stating that the economic situation in the country is not any better than a comparable period during the Marcos years. So please do not malign the Filipino witnesses.”
Director Harold Solomon dumb-founded by such a short lecture could only mumble this statement: “Will the gentleman please see me after this?” The Filipino gave a short reply, “If I have the time.”
Just as the meeting ended and the crowd from the staff of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC was filing out of the room, Congressman Palacol of Laguna told the Filipino minute lecturer, “You know Pañero, you made me proud of being a Filipino. I never thought any Filipino could make those statements before a committee of the US Congress.” The brave Filipino answered with a question, “Why, is this not the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
I mention these incidents to impress upon us that we are a brilliant and courageous people capable of defying the gods in Mount Olympus. So join me in the search for that leader, with these lines from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Not gold but only man can make
A people great and strong
Men who for truth and honor sake
Stand fast and suffer long
Brave men who work while others sleep
Who dare while others shy
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.”