Nationalism and the language issue

What exactly is to be ‘nationalist‘ with the use of the national language?

I’d like to take a modest time to discuss a few insights about language issues in the Philippine setting -- since this is relevant in the WIKA 2007 occasion. Because of this event (MARAMING WIKA, MATATAG NA BANSA), I’ve been more and more aware recently entries of a certain misunderstanding that a lot of Filipinos have thought about language vis-à-vis nationalism.

Nationalism does not equal language. Language does not equal nationalism. Perhaps they may be correlated, yet they are not the same… and this confusing of the two is an unfortunate misleading notion in our popular thinking about national (Pilipino) language, identity, and culture that really limits us from having a truly culturally diverse experience with each other.

Why is this disagrees with? In its positive sense nationalism is nothing other than a philosophy of political self-determination instigate by geo-sentiments or socio-sentiments in other terms. While language is the inner human expression of once culture. The language of the tongue varies in accordance to place, time and person. Just as the communication style of men varies from that of women because of their different experiences. The study of the English languages evolution and expansion over the last hundred years, to accommodate changing values and technological advancements, is a good example of dynamic language.

Our history tells us that the Philippines is a classic example of pseudo-cultural exploitation. After the Americans “liberated” the Filipinos from Spanish colonization in 1898, … they embarked on an intensive ten-year pacification campaign of pseudo-cultural propagation. They strictly suppressed all expression of Filipino culture --- books, plays and even the raising of the national flag. The nationwide school system organized by the American established English as the language of instruction, distorted the history of American occupation, taught American rather than Filipino history, and altogether glorified the American way of life.

Until today, this pseudo-cultural exploitation is still dominant in the Philippine society. This problem has been a system that does not encourage self-reliance on individual, cultural, and economic levels. Indeed, P.R. Sarkar wrote in his Neo-Humanism: the Liberation of Intellect: “If the people’s cultural backbone is broken, then all their struggles for political and social freedom will end in nothing. Can those necks and backs are crushed under the weight of pseudo-culture be expected to hold their heads high in any sphere of life.”

In this context, the key to the maintenance of psycho-economic exploitation is cultural exploitation. And if we think only about the present and the future, and we don’t reflectively think about our pasts, any cultural dialogue is empty and false. Any ‘multiculturalism’ based on deceptive and naive ideas of culture, is not multiculturalism at all, but some convenient and valueless conformity to substitute harmony.

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