By Ian Patrick Laqui
The country had a bit colorful history with the British. They exposed the vulnerability of the Spaniards which bolstered Diego Silang in Ilocos to revolt. They also freed the Sultan of Sulu in Fort Santiago. But despite these endeavors to drive away our first colonizers, they still had the intent to colonize Spain’s crown jewel in the east — successfully subduing Manila and Cavite.
If the Treaty of Paris had not occurred in 1783, the Philippines might be under the British crown, and now might probably be a member of the British Commonwealth with the monarch as the head of state with a parliament running the government.
But it happened, we were handed back to the Spanish crown, but was unfortunately sold to another colonizer — the United States.
On September 8 BST, Buckingham Palace announced the death of Queen Elizabeth II. This marks the end of what it is said was the “Second Elizabethan era.” The world mourned her passing — remembering her as a “constant presence in a changing world” and a “force of stability” amid turbulence, and a symbol of the continuity of tradition.
The world mourned the death of the 96-year-old monarch, immortalizing her actions, narrating her greatness, how she tirelessly dedicates herself to public service, and basically how she moved the world with every word and wave of her hand.
Philippine social media meanwhile had mixed reactions to the death of the Queen. Some took it personally, calling her a “grandmother” of the changing world, applauding how she upheld democracy while preserving the throne handed down through generations since Edward the Confessor. Some Filipinos also regarded her as a good example of a leader, despite not understanding how the monarch’s “leadership” has been sensationalized even for the small things they do.
But despite the praises and salutations, some “celebrated” the death of another monarch who once led a highly-controversial empire that had committed atrocities against its colonies and never apologized for it. We must remember that all the empire’s actions are committed in the monarch’s name even if the sovereign does not partake in the acts firsthand.
Some even compare them with the Marcoses who never apologized for the human rights abuses and ill-gotten wealth during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. The Queen is also remembered for covering up their family’s scandals to ensure that the future of the monarchy is stable.
As Britain is lining up outside Westminster Palace mourning, paying respects to the departed monarch, Filipinos stand in confusion — how should we mourn the Queen? Or should we mourn and sympathize at all?
As people who live and were born in a country that has a dark history of colonialism, it is admittedly hard to show sympathy to a head of colonial power who colonized a quarter of the world, which also looted and committed genocide against some countries below the equator. As a country that felt the same when we were under the Spanish crown, it might feel ludicrous to feel sad to a colonizer, and not to mention — someone who does not care for you.
Mourning Her Majesty’s image in front of the camera greeting people while smiling in the Balcony of Buckingham Palace during her jubilees is a normal feat. But one commits a mortal sin to our forefathers to apologize for an empire that she was a part of.
Whether you’re the one who would sing “God Save the King” to wish her successor, her son, Charles III a fortunate reign or shout “down with the monarchy” on the streets, mourning the loss of a Queen who is significant in history, who accepted as she watched her empire disintegrate, who stood firm amidst the changing world, sounds very Christian and emphatic. But remember, there is no good in having an empire.
Indeed, the end of the second Elizabethan era.