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I am afraid of losing my dreams, my ideals.
Today, Mary Jane Veloso will die. Too many Filipinos don’t care.
Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten the dreams of freedom and liberation of revolutionary Filipinos. They paid with their blood, their lives, their beliefs.
Yet, the Filipinos changed.
Today, many Filipinos dream of going abroad, earning a lot of money, buying a house, car, clothes, gadgets… We dream the American coloniser dream. We want more. And more. And more.
We have lost touch of dreaming for something better.
I dream of a nation that provides jobs according to our needs. I dream of a nation that provides affordable housing, free health care, free education. Free education most of all.
I dream of a nation that values its citizens. A nation that would provide security and comfort.
I dream of a nation that would value and develop ideas. Ideas that would make a better society. Ideas that would create an ongoing change.
Yet, our government promotes the values of capitalism—the more you have, the more you’re worth. People are always anxious—they want more money, a bigger house, a newer car, the newest fashions, the latest gadgets.
The oligarchs control majority of the nation’s wealth. Those outside of it are made to fight for what is left. If you do not fight for wealth hard enough and end up being poor, you are seen as indolent and useless.
The poor and disenfranchised are invisible, if not directly dealt with contempt. They are blamed for not fighting hard enough for the tiny leftovers. Their human rights are trampled upon.
Justice can be bought. And Mary Jane Veloso does not have the wealth to buy it, like so many of us.
OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) are exposed to countless risks. Isolation. Abuse. Human trafficking. Drug trafficking. Injustice. Desolation. Racism. Yet, the government pushes them to go outside, to live the dream, to become “Bagong Bayani” (“New Heroes”).
Poverty, desolation, hopelessness. These things are too familiar. And too many Filipinos risk everything for a tiny hope of a better life. A tiny spark of hope that is lacking inside the nation.
I dream of a better world. I dream of a better Philippines. I hope that Filipinos can stay and work here, and they can go abroad only if they want to, not because they have to.
I dream that Filipinos will have a good life inside the Philippines.
But I am afraid my dreams will die.
Too often I’ve been told that I’m too idealistic. That my dreams cannot become reality. That I should give up on it and go with the flow.
I’ve been told that I would change when I grow older, get married and have children.
I would eventually fight for wealth. That I would focus on earning more for the sake of my family. That I would have to give up my ideals for the pursuit of practical.
That is my greatest fear.
I fear that I will no longer cry for Mary Jane Veloso and so many others like her.
I fear that every Filipino will stop caring for the nation.
I fear that everyone will stop fighting for what is right.
I fear that dreams will die, that idealism will disappear.
But for now, the candlelight is burning. We are crying, the nation is bleeding.
It is too late to save Mary Jane Veloso. But it is not to late to save the Filipinos.
We can still create jobs here. We can fight for free education, affordable housing, free health care. We can fight for the social services that we deserve. We can fight for a better life and a better future. We can fight for a critical consciousness. We can fight for justice.
The fight is here. The fight is now.
(For reference, this was Day 16, For Mary Jane: https://portiaplacino.com/2015/04/27/day-16-for-mary-jane/)