Studying History

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An Unforgettable Way of Studying History
Hi! This is Sherwin Ang, a student from the University of the Philippines. At this point, I’m taking up History I, which tackles about the history of the Philippines in different aspects-political, social, cultural and economical. You may think it’s just like any other history class that just lets you memorize certain dates and events. Sometimes, we tend to ask," Why do we have to study history, the past is already the past?" But you know after you attend this course, you sure can have different perspectives of how important our history is to our lives. Well, during the first few weeks we discussed three essays of Mr. Renato Constantino. These three works are one of my most favorite essays because it has opened my mind to the truth. I have realized how distorted our history and how miseducated most of us are. The Origin of a Myth was written to object about our deep trust and belief to the false ideas and fallacies of our Western colonizer, the Americans. This was evidential when the Filipinos allowed the rule of the Americans in our country. They believed the Americans that we cannot govern ourselves so they have to help us do it. The essay also shows us how the Filipinos, even up to today, give no importance to our own revolution. I guess the Americans were successful in the their plan not only for the Philippines but to the whole of Asia as well-to insult each of their culture and their revolution so that they can spread more myths. Veneration without Understanding is also one of his great works that speak about Rizal and other different heroes who fought for our freedom. In this essay, he gives two sides if we are to consider Rizal as a national hero. It is because the Americans were the ones who chose him. They considered him as our national hero because they wanted to inculcate in our minds that it is better to accept peace than fight with war. They chose Rizal to be our hero because 1) he was already dead when the aggression started. 2) He was a symbol of Spanish oppression. 3) He stressed on reform and not for separatism 4) he was an ilustrado (This is the kind of person they look to fit for the leadership). He said Rizal could be considered as a hero because he saw the problems brought by violence. He loved our country in his own "ilustrado" way. He pointed out a need for our society to create a new historical event from which an active society is involved. On the other hand, he was not to be considered a hero because he opposed the revolution and he wanted to change everything the Filipinos wanted to do. The essay also mentioned what Rizal said that we can be free but we cannot be independent. We can be independent but we cannot be free. Before we can reach that true freedom that we’re aspiring for, we need to have enough education to have individuality. The last essay that I studied was the Roots of Subservience. It tells us to scrutinize closely the event and the people before we recognize them as heroes or villains. Heroes have a validity limited to their period and therefore some are not anymore applicable in present situation. We must not neglect those who are qualified as heroes. We must consider their individual good deeds and also, the significance of those negative acts, which if examined in the light of the people’s goals may consign to the individual to the oblivion. Heroes are not made by propaganda but by stern eyes of history. Our past must be examined not only to correct but because the past has become the present with all the distortions. We must be guided by the lessons of the past. A hero need not be perfect. It is his heroic acts and decisions that make him a hero. These acts only become heroic when they are in correspondence with the people’s interest. People produce heroes because it happens in correlation with the involvement of people. People should be the basis of heroic acts. This essay also talked about the criteria for independence. They are...
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