Sabado, Hulyo 01, 2006

Destroying Our Nation Through Federalism

Maybe you may or may not have heard, but there exists an organisation that calls its self Save Our Languages through Fedaralism. (SOLFED) The title is self explanatory, this organisation advocates an ethnically centered federal states so that the Filipino languages marginalized by our nation building. I'm against this organisation because what it aim would eventually lead to the dissolution of Filipinas. But first their arguments in favor of federalism.

1. Language and Culture

SOLFED wants to save the languages and cultures of Filipinos through federalism. They believe that the current "colonial" unified nation would sound in the demise of the cultures that "non-Tagalog." I understand their concern. But I think this all comes from their shortsightedness both in history and culture.

This movement, understandably, is Cebuano-centric. They are the only ones who are in position to challenge Tagalog. But they know that they cannot "win". (I don't like to use the word because, in nation-building, something will eventually be lost) So they now try to rally the other languages to fight against the Tagalog-centric government.

But I would like to put forward the argument against the cultural card. Is there really a "great" difference in culture of all Filipinos? Maybe the Lumads and Muslims can use this argument. But are there great differences between the Christianized, Hispanisized, and Americanized Filipinos? I think SOLFED is just riding on the marginalization of the other "cultures" in bid to gain more power.

In a letter by Rizal to Blumentritt when he was exiled in Dapitan, our national hero was surprised in the similarity between Visayan and Tagalog. (I would guess that he would be refering to Cebuano since it is the dominant language among the Visayans.) He mentions ponemic differences, like kaon and kain. Granted there are other difference but, again, is there a great cultural difference behind our languages?

Today, there is a movement, a silent one admittedly, among the poets and writers in Filipino/Tagalog to incorporate in there works words from the other native languages. Their aims is primarily aesthetic and nationalistic second. (I'm not part of this movement. I'm too young and this project is a very advanced thing to do.) In using putting the these words, with the particular meaning a word carries, a writer, primarily a poet, could create a more robust work, both rhythmically and phonetically. It is true that the other native languages have words that can make the current National Language grow. And this won't happen in a federal system.

2. Power (That's what it all comes down to anyway.) and Identity

SOLFED sees the nation as a system led by "Imperial Manila". They see that the "other peoples" of Filipinas is continually marginalized. But in a system of centers there will always be a margin. If history had been more "kind" to Cebu, would we be fighting "Imperial Cebu"? In the project of nation building, there things, symbols that is held on to. Naturally, things in the center will most likely be saved, and in the margins lost. But this is just in theory. Some things cannot fully be lost and cannot fully be held. In all the other nations in the world there would always be a culture, a language that marginalized; France has Occitan, UK has the Celtic languages, Spain has, well, a lot, other than the prominent Basque. In these countries, these "minor" languages continue to thrive.

So I think that all the other major languages in Filipinas will not go the path Sanskrit anytime soon. The other minor languages, with inly a few hundred speakers, most probably. But this is inevitable in nation building.

So why not create many "nations" to accomodate the other languages? An argument that SOLFED puts forward. But what would be made wouldn't be Filipinas anymore. Kaya nga Nation-State e. There is one "national identity" that the state embodies. Admittedly, the "national language" has been dominated by Tagalog, but has the 'national identity" really been dominated by the Tagalogs also? I could name a few Cebuanos, Bikolanos, Ilocanos, Ilonggos, Kapampangans etc. that are part of our "national consciouness". Should we continue to see them as such, in their regional affiliations, or see them as Filipinos?

If on the off-shoot that such "nations" would be created, how many languages and dialects that these would kill? As said early, in the project of nation-building some things will always be lost. I, for one, is a Tagalog from Laguna. When I'm in Metro Manila some people would notice my accent when I talk and even when I write! Even among the Tagalogs, there are those who are marginalized. How many people, do you think, are marginalized by Metro Cebu? Their argument of being "saviors" is a little problematic. In a creation of federal states, not only are we destroying Filipinas, we create margins from a multitude of centers.

So there, I "bashed" them hard enough. (That was tiring.) Should we stay in our current project of nationa-building? (It isn't complete mind you. It might take another hundred years, two if we keep up this pace.) The "Filipino Identity" is a modern phenomenon, created, more or less, a hundred and thirty years ago in the great upheaval in the late 19th century. Should we keep on going or part our separate ways because of our "differences"? But as what Rizal felt in Dapitan, maybe we'd be surprised with the similarities.

2 komento:

Hindi-nagpakilala ayon kay ...

The most ridiculous post I have EVER read.

Imagine, if most provinces (including Metro Manila) would have their own flag, anthem, parliament, court system, Cabinet, even public broadcasters??

Boy, you're just a simple defender of Imperial Manila.

In your logic, federalism = separatism.

Get lost and eat pagpag while reading Federalism 101

Booyah, bitch!

Hindi-nagpakilala ayon kay ...

Cultural similarities are not grounds for certain territories or ethnicities to remain under one sovereignty. It's about the will and decision of the people on who and until where do they govern themselves. Take the examples of Singapore-Malaysia, Norway-Denmark-(Sweden?), Russia-Ukraine, Czech Republic-Slovakia. These states are nearly tied to each other in terms of social constructs, linguistic experience and historical identities. However, they emerged separate from one another due to certain saliencies in how they view society, politics and language & history to a lesser extent. Language and culture are not the ends of a state, but just some of the means. However, these two elements of the people which represent the state and the territory should also be preserved if deemed necessary by the population. If the status quo cannot fulfill their needs, the people of a certain area can, and indeed have the democratic right, to consider sever political relationships with the rest of the country. (BUT this is of course going extreme)

SOLFED's clamor is indeed on the encroachment of an unjustified basis of the Filipino languae--Tagalog--and other economic and cultural dilution the central government in Malacañang has devised in favor of Mega Manila since the beginning of our statehood. From the point of view of the people whom they say they represent (the ordinary non-Tagalog Filipinos), I cannot tell much, but from the POV of what economics, linguistics and educational science have to say, I believe there is a grain of truth in this. It will take me an entire article to explain all three elements concerning the Philippine government, but for brevity, I think that many ethnic groups in our country share a broad spectrum of cultural imprints given that a large swath of our territories have Christianized, and thus allowing us to independently breed a new contemporary form of cultural and linguistic consciousness that melds our olden Austronesian-Hindu-Buddhist inheritance, minimal residues of Hispanisms via Mexico and our modern idiosyncrasies from American occupation.

Notwithstanding culture or ethnicity any group, willing so, may seceded from a state warranted they do it through peace and due process. Even if many of us, including me, believe that the formation of present-day Philippines has been a political accident due to justifications of vague ethnic, territorial and historical oversimplifactions, what has been done has been done. There would be greater economic, social and political drawbacks if some of us detach from the present state. However, I believe us peopleS of the Philippines still has that chance to succeed under one power. We are be better together under one sovereignty if we see the strength as one country not only in similarities but as well as in differences. We will achieve more just the way Singapore and Switzerland did, and how Malaysia and India are onto that path. These countries acknowledge the pluricentricity and pluriethnicity that they've had ever since.