Is Decolonization Necessary to the Lives of Filipino People?

We have been suffered so much by the hands of the colonizer and now the neo-colonizer and of course the Filipino people who choose to collaborate to these people. However, we can not let them ruin our future and dehumanize us. It’s time to rapture their boundaries and interrogate their ways. It’s time to decolonize the colonial ways of treating Filipino people.

Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 26, August 5-11, 2007

Decolonization is necessary to counteract the work of colonialism, “In decolonization, there is therefore the need of a complete calling in question of the colonial situation” (Fanon, 1999: 158).  It is therefore the only way for us to understand the work of colonialism and its destructive effect on the lives of Filipino people.  When I talk about decolonization, I think about my ancestors, my culture that was untouched by the colonizers, the spirituality that is rooted from my ancestors, the Indigenous ways of knowing and dismantling my psyche and my mind that has been trained to work like a colonizer. Through decolonization we could elucidate the impact of colonialism and imperialism in our lives.

Who Should Decolonize?

To answer to this question is to acknowledge that we have been colonized by the West; because if we pretend that everything is fine and that let’s just get along well, then decolonization is impossible. However, the moment we think that our lives have been fragmented by colonialism then we know that we need to be decolonized in order to achieved a meaningful life. All the people that have experienced colonialism need to undergo decolonization and of course the Whites need also to be decolonized. Some (1994) articulates that “if these ancestors are not healed, their sick energy will haunt the souls and psyches…” (p. 10). Therefore, it is then necessary that the members of the West and non-West undergo decolonization to attain unity and transformation.

Benefits of Decolonization:

Going through the journey of decolonization, I experienced enormous benefits. First, I would like to share my personal benefits: I became critically conscious in my ways of looking at things and dealing with others. I became more sensitive to my environment, and the presence of my ancestors in my life. I acknowledge that I am not alone. I maybe alone physically in this journey, however, I can feel and sense the guidance, love and nurture of my ancestors. I find time to listen and talk to them wherever I am or wherever I go. There are times that I debate with them, especially when I want to do something and they refuse to give me their blessings. Nevertheless, they are very supportive and loving. I used to have an attitude of “just go with the flow”. This time I have a clear vision of my future and know exactly my purpose in life. I focus more on nurturing my soul rather than being vain.

Furthermore, Benn-Jonh (2005) listed some benefits of decolonization: “1) reclaim the pride of our indigenous culture…; 2)create balance and harmony within ourselves and our environment; 3) experience a renewed sense of hope and confidence to take risk, and challenge oppression in it’s many forms; 4) contribute to knowledge production by constructing new theories that reflect our lived realities; 5) learn Indigenous knowledge and worldviews that are presently absent in educational institutions; 6) witness the rebirth of Indigenous languages and traditions, including spirituality and a respect for nature within daily lives; 7) acquire critical analytical skills to help us interrogate what is visible and question that which is not; and 8 ) engage  in activism and work towards equity in social justice systems” (p. 45) .

Every individual experiences different things depending the way they look at things. However, the common thing is that we become closer to our ancestors and start paying respect to their existence.

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