I can’t recognize our flag anymore, it’s covered with ugly stains

July 3, 2023  –I still remember seeing our flag hoisted for the first time in 1984. The blue symbolizing the sea and the sky, the yellow stroke representing the sun, and the stars symbolizing the five continents from which people have arrived on our island. The white colors of the stars standing for peace. 

Do people still see the colors and what they represent? Or has the flag been stained beyond recognition? 

The flag in my memory stood tall and proud. It celebrated the togetherness of all. Today a minority group still lives in inequality under the law just because they want to be free to carry on their lives irrespective of their preferences.

I remember being able to freely sit on my parents’ balcony in Santa Rosa, walk outside, and see jovial faces. I can’t see them anymore because they don’t leave their caged homes. I can’t hear them because they are afraid to speak out. The free and independent press incessantly questioning our choices and democratic deficits has been silenced by money and power. 

I remember us being proud of welcoming people looking for a bright future here. Today we curse them, imprison them, take away their rights, and bully them. 

If you care to listen, you’ll hear people speak about the appalling conditions in which they live, sometimes in hushed voices. 

Were we not supposed to be born with the right to be free and equal with the same opportunities no matter where we came from, what we believe in, and how we chose to live our lives? Were we not supposed to have capable and honest democratic leaders to look after our common interests? 

I cannot recognize our flag anymore. It is covered with ugly stains. 

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