Heroes of Our Time

SPOT.ph blogger Ria Limjap reflects on National Heroes’ Day...beginning with Bonnie Tyler.

(SPOT.ph) Hello. I want to begin with Bonnie Tyler:

 

 

 

 

To be sure, these are troubled times. I wake up and fall asleep reading about war and death and all these awful things we do to each other and I cannot remember my dreams, if I have any good ones at all. I read the news and find myself astounded at what people are doing to each other these days. Of course, this is nothing new. People have been killing other people from the start. A classic example: the seemingly neverending Israel-Palestine conflict, something I will never understand no matter how much I read about it. (For a clear explanation of the sides locked in conflict, I found this video American artist Nina Paley, who brilliantly animates the "brief history of the land called Israel/Palestine/Canaan/the Levant" in her trademark tongue-in-cheek way):

 

 

 

 

I posted that link because This Land is Mine is an amazing piece of animation, but most of all because it presents a chilling prospect: how people wantonly kill other people for land, power, money, or whatever else motivates us. It is beyond me why a masked man beheads a journalist in the desert, captures it on crisp HD and uploads the execution video on YouTube. How smart of them, how audacious, and how truly terrible of them to do it this way. James Foley was an American journalist covering the war in Syria when he was taken hostage in November 2012. Upon his death, he is a hero. Although ironically, isn't his executioner, a masked man with a British accent (there is a young hip hop artist from London who is allegedly a prime suspect), also a hero to his comrades and future jihadists who will sign up for the cause because of that video produced by savvy extremists?

 

Executions are the worst kind of propaganda. Today, on National Heroes' Day, my thoughts turn inevitably to Dr. Jose Rizal, who was accused of spreading anti-friar propaganda through his writing and was himself executed one fine December morning in Bagumbayan, now Luneta. At least Rizal was allowed some dignity in his death. More importantly, the very public execution backfired, as it fueled the fire for other heroes-to-be, men and women who went against the prevailing forces and fought for what believed in.

 

Christopher Reeve, the Superman of my childhood and for me still the dreamiest man to fly around in a red cape and blue tights, called a hero "an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." Today is National Heroes’ Day, or the last day of a long weekend, or a Monday off. Maybe we are too caught up with our contemporary messes (pork protests in the park with pets-I know, does it make sense?) to think about what people did in the past to put us in the position we are today. Today I feel very lucky to be a Filipina living in the twenty-first century-I am free to be me because of all the men and women before my time, endured and fought hard for what I have right now.

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I've been super swamped so unfortunately I haven't had much time to write about Pinoy movies these past months. This is what I've been busy with: a biopic about one of my favorite Filipino heroes, Antonio Luna. Coming in 2015.

 

It is my great pleasure to present the first teaser for Heneral Luna:

 

 

 

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