A symbol of national identity, pride, and sovereignty. A product of history… An emblem of ideology? A stimulus to cruelty and barbarity.
At present time, countries have great respect for their flags. In the Philippines, we display them in public buildings, wave them to celebrate historical events, and conduct flag ceremonies in both private and public institutions. These are to remind the Filipino citizens of the sovereignty of their country and the toil that our ancestors went through to attain not only the freedom for themselves, but freedom for our generation. Yet, in the past, how were flags perceived by our people?
In times when we’re colonized by foreign states, the colonizers displayed their flags rather than ours in our motherland. This is their way of expressing their domination to the Filipinos and victory of sieging our lands. Yet, in the first place, why is there a need to dominate? To wage wars? To kill human beings? Did the soldiers in the past also ask these questions? Or did they simply accept going against their moral orientation to “fight” for their flag?
Initiating war against another country has an underlying reason and motive, which are not perceived by the soldiers as they only accept orders from their superiors. Their thinking might be the following:
“To kill another man different from me is justified as this is an act for my flag.”
“My death has a meaning for my people… and for the flag I fight for.”
Yet, are these understandings the products of patriotism? That’s what rational people wanted them to think, which I think was successful as the soldiers engaged in crimes against humanity for the sake of committing patriotic acts for their country.
In addition, following orders from the higher people and for their flag corrupts their moral orientation in life. As a result, there is no existing compass for morality. In the end, their acts — crimes — are justified by their rationality and their “duty” for their beloved flag.