Brother, did you forget your name
Did you lose it on the war, playing tic-tac-toe?
Yo, check the diagonal, three million gone, come on
‘Coz you know they counted backwards to zero.
- Rage Against the Machine, “Freedom”
Rage Against the Machine, Epic (1992)
We all know how it worked back then: our once-free people had some slavery going on in the village. You had maharlika, then there are the “middle-class” timmawa, and then there were the alipin. Two weeks and 488 years ago, a guy named Magellan took it upon himself to land his ships on these islands and claim it in the name of the Crown of Spain. Your ancestors, including mine, ceased to be free. We weren’t set free by the Americans, even; for the price of 20 million dollars, we were sold down the river by our masters. The rest, as they say, is history.
For the next 300 years, we started to live the lives of slaves – alipin - in our own country, without regard for maharlika or timmawa, caring less for the alipin who happened to come with the “packaged deal” that was this country. We were just servants of a bunch of people who happened to land their ships on some rock or beach somewhere on our shores, and claimed 7,107 islands found this side of the Pacific – and the people found in it – as theirs. We started making ships, mining gold, planting tobacco, picking cotton. We didn’t get to ride those ships, we didn’t get to use that gold, none of us smoked that tobacco and wore the clothes picked out of the cotton we picked. For the next half-millennium of our existence, we were relegated to slavery.
When that wasn’t enough, we became slaves in other countries as well. The slavery of poverty and debt was enough to make many of us contemplate – and even succumb to – the modern-day democratic capitalist free-market equivalents of colonial slavery: overseas slavery, wage slavery, white slavery, corporate slavery. So yeah, our history is defined a tad too much by us being servants and slaves.
Isn’t the obvious just wonderful… if not for the obvious being something we choose to set aside. No, we prefer to listen to feel-good stories about singers and boxers and champions, and set aside this whole “servant/slave” bollocks for those who thrive on negative energy. Hmmm…
OK, lemme just puke again into my online paper cup and fume away.