Symbolic Heroism


What is a hero?

Who can be considered a hero?

These questions and others in similar vein, have been circulating around mainstream and social media, and even in casual conversations online.

What makes a hero? Is it when one’s body is laid to rest at the Heroes’ Cemetery, despite numerous protests by the masses, by virtue of being an ex-soldier and former President? Andres Bonifacio’s remains, on one hand, are literally bones of contention. His body is yet to be seen in the mountains of Maragondon, Cavite.

Who then is more worthy to be called such?

Throughout his young life, Andres Bonifacio is an embodiment of people’s struggles --- not just with his generation but the generations that came after him. As the founder of the Philippine Revolution against Spain, Bonifacio had the courage to defy the oppressive ruling system.

This is our time in history now.

Andres Bonifacio’s spirit lives on. You can see it through the millennials marching on the streets demanding for justice. Today we are facing new sets of struggle, shaped by years of unresolved problems and aggravated by present socio-political climate.

The symbolic tearing of the cedula, replicated today as releasing ourselves from tyranny and revisionism, reclaiming the history of the masses.

These ‘temperamental brats’ are the ones who will shape society. They’d do well to make Bonifacio proud.

Now, we ask. What defines a hero? Is it a piece of paper? Or the number of votes that seated you on a seat regardless of whether you abused and taken it for granted? Or is it the medal you claim to have? The titles that precede your name? Or is it the ground where you remains will be laid for the rest of eternity?

What is a hero?

Isn't it about saving someone, or several hundreds, and even thousands of people from unfortunate circumstances such as oppression, tyranny, abuse, slavery, and even death? Isn't it about standing up for what you believe in and taking actions to fight for it? Isn't heroism about a deed of valor and integrity? Isn't heroism about stepping up and facing battles which others were too coward or too helpless to face?

Who, then, is a hero?

When would you be a hero?

Do you have to give up your last breath before you can be called as such?

Be the kind of hero you think a hero should be.

Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya
sa pagka-dalisay at pagka-dakila
gaya ng pag-ibig sa tinubuang lupa?
Alin pag-ibig pa? Wala na nga, wala.

- Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa by Andres Bonifacio