Hijacking Independence Day
TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - June 17, 2019 - 12:00am

The Philippines celebrated its 121st Independence Day last Wednesday, June 12. But the celebration was tepid, perfunctory. Nobody seems to take the occasion seriously anymore. And that is because Philippine Independence Day had long ceased to be what it is. It has been hijacked by those who want to weave their own meanings into the celebration.

Independence Day, any nation's independence day, is a commemoration of that country's freedom from foreign domination. It celebrates its political liberty as a state. It is a status that allows a state to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other states blessed with similar freedom.

The social, cultural, and economic status of a nation does not enhance or diminish its status where its political standing as a free nation is concerned. It does not make the people of an independent nation less free in political standing just because they happen to be poor or uneducated.

Maybe they are hungry often in their poverty. Maybe they do not know which part of the ocean is Samoa. Maybe they cannot tell Xi Jinping from Winnie the Pooh and could care less that they can't. But if they can breathe the air freely without having to chant somebody else's national anthem, then they are free. They are independent. And God bless them that they are.

So now why is it that Philippine Independence Day celebrations have become lukewarm and perfunctory? It is because from a purely political thing, the nincompoops have hijacked Independence Day to mean freedom from anything they can think of --freedom from poverty, freedom from hunger, freedom from homelessness.

Even more nincompoops have invented their own lack of freedoms, such as from pollution, slow internet speed, parental interference, late night karaoke binges, even the hair of cats. These things, while undoubtedly important to some people, have simply and absolutely nothing to do with the only freedom associated with Independence Day.

Independence Day is about being free as a sovereign state. This is the reason why it is celebrated only on a particular date that has a historical and political significance to being a free sovereign state. Poverty, hunger, lack of education, etc., are issues that confront Filipinos every day.

If the nincompoops are truly concerned about the many lacks that characterize our everyday lives, then why don't they protest everyday about our not being free from hunger, of being always ground under the boot of poverty. Why wait until Independence Day comes around, only to bark up the wrong tree.

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