Heneral Luna, as we all know, rears a very emotional elicit of our hidden patriotic angst. A few days ago, I had the privilege of watching the movie, and it never left me. The thoughts on how accurate the depiction of our society was, the expose of all our flaws as Filipinos, held so much truth that it almost rang as a wake-up call. It is so beautifully made, one cannot express in gratitude how these brains weaved a gift like this that it almost felt as if we never deserved it. As I am writing this, I urge each and every one of you to watch it in theaters. Help it solidify its goal of schooling our generation and fighting the ignorance of our true History.
Years ago, back in my formal education, I encountered a quote so relatable in our society today that I wasn’t able to forget it as it echoed in the confines of my brain after the movie.
In the long-run every government is the exact symbol of it’s people, with their wisdom and unwisdom; we have to say, Like People Like Government – Thomas Carlyle
Our leaders speak so much of our true values, passivity, and lack of stronger goals for our country. In conclusion, I can surely make, we do not deserve a decent leader for in the singularity of Filipinos, we lack patriotism towards our own country.
Allow me to overshare my thoughts on this very well-made movie that is Heneral Luna. To our youth today who suffers the disease of not knowing enough, even the paralysis of Apolinario Mabini as mocking threads arise the Internet, let me share with you a glimpse of what the brains of revolution ought to say. An excerpt from the book he has written why Emilio Aguinaldo has failed the revolution.
“The revolution failed because it was badly directed, because it’s leader won his post not with praiseworthy acts but with blameworthy acts, because instead of employing the useful men if the nation, he jealously discarded them. Believing that the advance of the people was no more than his own personal advance, he did not rate men according to their ability, character and patriotism but according to the degree of friendship or kinship binding him to them; and wanting to have favorites willing to sacrifice for him, he showed himself lenient to their faults. Because he disdained the people he could not but fall like an idol of wax melting in the heat of adversity” – Apolinario Mabini
We will dissect this particular quote as referencing to the powerful message of the movie. Moreover, the reform we need to rekindle amongst us. These truths deem very true in society today as it was 100++ years ago.
1. We always elect self-serving leaders
This is the core message of the movie for me, as this was something that, in our present age, still proves to be rampant. Useless and mostly greedy leaders make their way to the top while the altruistic leaders remain in the background, and they do not last very long. You see, the people who aren’t shiny or are strict law observers rarely acquire any higher position. In the movie, we saw how President Aguinaldo comes incomparable to the patriotic Antonio Luna. For one to be advocated in the Philippines, you play a game of favoritism that involves business people. You let your money, given by them to work for you, and that is how you retain power and status. As if all of these are not enough, greedy leaders secure their future generations with corrupted money from the government. When can we finally learn the lesson of skipping media brainwash? In the next election, we hope to exercise choosing wisely.
2. Filipinos’ crab mentality.
We do not share a common goal most of the time, and if someone gets ahead of us, we tend to pull them down. In the movie, we can see how powerful leaders can be, but powers are often of misuse. Jealousy, the threat of personal advancement results to diminishing the quality of leaders. They create gimmicks to let someone so successful in leading our people and authoring black propagandas that do not bring any form of progress in our country. If someone like Heneral Luna creates a good track record, practices law-abiding orders, he can only get a plot of dethronement from people. They don’t get any form of promotion; they receive life threats.
3. Filipinos’ lack of discipline
Many funny excerpts from the movie portray our lack of discipline. While these have surely drawn laughs to appreciate the movie art and avoid boredom, it is one of our serious flaws. We often practice the “Money above the law” mentality that had created the herd of dishonest law implementors. If only we impose discipline on ourselves, we do not need a leader that imposes violence to be feared by our citizens. However, we remain careless, that even people are experiencing poverty opt to continue their ways to sell on sidewalks, no matter how our Tourism sector tries to improve Manila- these people drag us down. How hard is it to follow the rules? More so, is it that hard to contribute a little bit of your obedience to a greater cause? Maybe it is just easy to stay undisciplined, or maybe we don’t care about our country at all.
4. We cultivate a culture of non-intellectuals
I have learned in this movie that even though our schools aim us to provide quality knowledge, History is much underrated that truth be told, my knowledge about Antonio Luna was almost next to nothing before watching the movie. We take shortcuts of how these stories even made it to textbooks, creating a bad generation. Outside the school is a tumultuous list of shallow media readily available for our youth to engulf on. Heneral Luna affirms that Filipinos lack depth and comprehension. That’s why his plans as a General failed to be delivered- there was no one to understand him, not even the President. Our society is so used to being shallow, being in our comfort zones, which only implies that we do not aim for something that modifies the existing; therefore, we settle for the familiar. We remained in our comfort zones, and that is a sure way to the death of one’s culture.
5. We, Filipinos, are our own enemy.
Subtle but very provoking lesson from the movie. We need to save ourselves from our own selves, that is the true adversity. That is the ultimate truth of society then and now. Who goes against the order of the Army being unified by General Luna? Filipino regionalists who only care that their region of origin is overwhelmed with pride (Kawit soldiers). We cannot get past our shallowness to provide and achieve a greater good. We stick with our own wrong ways. The last scene that struck me the most, which I must say is very visual, exhibit our incapacity to look beyond our emotions for a greater cause. We do not have a patriotic spirit that will make us put our country ahead before us. The pain of dying for your country, as felt by Heneral Luna, is as painful seeing our country experience its slow death.
May the story of someone who is willing to give his life to the Filipino people be remembered not forgotten in between lines of a textbook. Let us continue to support the movie and spread the word.
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