Posted tagged ‘youth’

CHINA’S YOUTH CAN CAUSE ULTRANATIONALIST MELTDOWN

July 6, 2011

CHINA’S YOUTH CAN CAUSE ULTRANATIONALIST MELTDOWN

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang araw! Good day!

I have just discoursed on ultranationalist hegemony in domestic China and the repercussions of this extremism on foreign policy. China’s neighbors are now ‘crying wolf’ over Chinese military intrusions into their claimed island territories, which could be just but test-casing the extent and limits of the military option in China’s counter-claims over those islets.

China doesn’t possess the necessary ‘blue water’ navy yet that can aid in sustaining its military campaigns in case of long-drawn conflicts with potential adversaries. So its neighboring countries are unduly rendering China into a global threat of sorts, by over-estimating its strengths and by ‘cry wolf’ agitations.

Ultranationalism, an extremist form of nationalism that is in kinship with Japanese militarism, nazism, and fascism, is an anachronism in the emerging global context of increasing synergy among economies, cultures, and peoples. It is a scourge of any nation and isn’t easy to take down or diminish unless that other internal political developments will make them obsolete and powerless.

If there is any political force today that can effectively diminish ultranationalism in China, it is the youth of the Chinese nation itself. The globe is experiencing today a clash of generations, as the young generation just couldn’t resonate with the antiquated world views and ideologies of their elder generations.

The youth of China are very well in touch with the peoples of the outside world, and do not in any way share the fervor and enthusiasm for hegemonism by their ultranationalist elders. It will just take one cataclysmic event to rouse the youth, and before long the young ones will be shaking down the foundations of old ideologies and powers.

The same phenomenon is responsible today for the overthrow of old nationalists in Eqypt and Tunisia. It is also shaking down many other Arab states towards an overthrow of established order and replacement by a more pluralist, democratic governance and cultural ferment.

The same youth force strives to reach out in friendship, cooperation, and mutual respect with other youths and peoples of the world, contrasted to the ultranationalists who are intoxicated with dreams of expanding territories beyond established orders through military might and destruction.

I am very positive that the youth can be relied upon to further avert a breakdown of Chinese society into a new totalitarianism of ultranationalist mold. Fact is, if the Chinese youth will just speak out more strongly today about foreign policy, I guess the more moderate leaders of China may listen.

[Philippines, 17 June 2011]

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RIZAL: MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

June 19, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Visionary genius, patriot, martyr for Philippine independence, Gat Jose Rizal was a man too far ahead of his own time. So titanic was the luck that came upon this blessed archipelago, the Philippine islands, for the embodiment among its humble people of this encyclopedic mind, Dr. Jose Rizal. He is impeccably a ‘man for all seasons’. And he is the national hero of the Philippine nation.

Most nations declare among their top patriots a warrior or military leader as their ‘national hero’. But for the Philippines, ours’ is a genius, an intellectual giant, a mind capable of engaging in issues so recondite and subjects so diverse that, in so short a span, he was able to pen an enormous variegation of topics that befit, in their totality, an encyclopedia. At the age of 35, he was terminated by the demonic imperial forces of Spain, but he never died in vain. On the contrary, his death continued to inspire libertarian patriots here and in other Asian lands, an inspiration that continues for our youth till these days.

Mystically gifted, little did people know that he was actually transformed into a spiritual guru before his death. His guruship was unique, in that he mentored his fellows on the wisdom of nationhood and patriotism. One of his avowed readers if not disciples, Mohandas Gandhi of India, followed in his steps and became, upon his transformation into a spiritual master, a mentor of nationhood and patriotism just like Rizal.

So mighty a mind Rizal possessed, without doubt, that till these days his works overshadow the combined works of his own fellow patriots, including those who’ve gained double doctorate degrees and published widely in academic circles. Rizal’s following is solid, he need not further articulate nor gesticulate thoughts in the vogue of a desperate social marketing campaign, for even long after his death, youthful and scholarly minds read him, try to follow his ethical precepts, and emulate his exemplary patriotic behavior.

He was the first Filipino. Before his time, the term Filipino was bestowed only on those Spaniards born and raised in the Philipines. The Malayan natives were pejoratively called Indios; Chinese, Sangleys; Aetas and IPs, negritos and montanosas; and Muslims, Moros. With scathing indictment of arrogant racism of  Spaniards most especially the friars, Rizal declared, with his mighty pen, that from this day on everybody born and raised in the islands will be called Filipino. That was how we islanders were to be bestowed with the name Filipino, a term that will stick till way into the distant future when a ‘Filipino race’ will evolve from out of a mere nationality today.

In his thoughts he pre-empted the political philosophy of Antonio Gramsci, the eminent Marxist leader of the Italian Left. Rizal mentored his fellow patriots that it will prove unwise to wage an insurrectionary campaign and seize political power, at a time when the ideas of nationhood haven’t permeated the private sphere yet. The most fitting strategy for that long-term goal—of building nationhood—is education. Build the new world’s ideas first till they become hegemonic, after which winning a revolution will be more facile as it was in the French revolution. That’s Rizal, and that’s Gramsci as well, but Rizal preceded Gramsci, let the world be made aware of this fact.

In gender relations, Rizal was no less ahead of his time. He scorned the ‘Old World woman complex’ so deeply that he chose to bury this woman in catacombs of history, which he did by killing Maria Clara, the Old World’s embodiment, in his novels. He advanced the idea of Modern Woman in the figures of the ‘women of Malolos’, even as he championed women who were civic-minded, actively engaged as co-partner in shaping the modern world, intellectually adroit and well-schooled. The Filipino nation he likened to the figure of Sisa in his novels, a nurturing mother who no matter under dire duress will never self-destruct but will stand out firm, tall and well-esteemed by fellows.

Amid Rizal’s liberalism, he never had any fondness for anarchism. Following Zola’s novel-writing tradition (e.g. Germinal), Rizal embodied the anarchist in the young bourgeois creole Ibarra who, at the end of his novel scripts, self-destructed. Anarchism can never be a substitute for prudent authority that should follow the Enlightenment principles of reason, progress, fraternity, and scientific verity. He was a true-blue liberal nationalist, never an anarchist.

We Filipino nationalists will continue to be inspired by Gat Jose Rizal. And his thoughts, the most treasured jewels of Asia during his time, will continue to inspire us, diadems that we magnanimously share to all enthused Fellows of the Planet, thoughts that mentor and serve as balm on the soul, like unto those writ by the most sagely personages. For these are the thoughts of a man no less sagely than the wisest of the days of old, thoughts that long after they are gone will continue to make waves into the minds of men and women of many generations yet to come.

Hail Gat Jose Rizal! Glory, genius, grandeur!

[12 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]