[This blog has a new domain: http://philippineaffairs.com/]“When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.” — Reverend Martin Niemoeller
When I was in elementary, I hated the subject of history. I hated memorizing dates, names, and events that did not seem to have any significance in everyday life. History seemed very unreal to me. I was more interested in cartoons. For me, Superman, Incredible Hulk, and Spiderman were more appealing heroes than Aguinaldo, Bonifacio and Rizal. The Katipunan seemed more fictitious than the Justice League or the Fantastic Four. You cannot blame me. Like any other child, I was in the stage wherein fiction was more appealing than facts. Heroism was an abstract concept for me. I did not consider anyone without any superpowers as hero – well, except for Batman.
Although I haven’t totally outgrown my childhood fantasies, I am now more aware what heroism is all about. I have realized that heroism is not really about saving the world from inter-galactic or trans-dimensional villains. I have realized that real-life heroes do not necessarily wear colorful and tight costumes. I have realized that heroes are not necessarily fearless. I have realized that heroes are also capable of crying for fear of their lives like Jun Lozada. I have realized that heroes can also bleed and die from bullet wounds like the farmers who were massacred in Mendiola. I have realized that heroes can come from all walks of life like the ones who used their bodies as barricades against advancing tanks during the first EDSA revolution. I have realized that heroes can be nameless and faceless like those activists who were murdered and buried in unmarked graves.
Heroism is not necessarily about dying for an ideal. Heroism can be as simple as voicing your opinion. Heroism can be as simple as being outraged by injustice, lies and corruption! Heroism can be as simple as walking a few meters with the Sumilao farmers. Heroism can be as simple as desiring to have a better society and a good government. Heroism can be as simple as watching the news and being aware of the issues. After all, it is through awareness that the seed of action may grow.
Our country needs heroes more than ever. Heroism does not necessarily demand your blood. Becoming a hero can be as simple as performing your civic duties without being told or forced to do so. Becoming a hero can be as simple as abandoning your apathy.