Monday, February 25, 2008

Remembering 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution 1

THE EDSA People Power Revolt hasbeen endlessly written about the past 22 years that there's hardly anything left to be said. Except to remember and be grateful. And, except to wonder over again.

Who can say enough about the wonder that was Edsa? Diverse people and events of those four days in February came together neatly and forcefully to cause the fall of the Marcos dictatorship.

The wonder of the mighty Marcos military turning against itself. The rebellion of the Marcos defense minister and his acting chief of staff to support the civil disobedience launched by the political opposition led by Cory Aquino. Most of all, mass upon mass of people armed only with their faith shielding their once-hated military with their own bodies.

The wonder of an Edsa brimming with the faith of the Filipinos has not receded with time. The wonder is a constant, undiminished even by the shattered dreams of the Filipinos. Their dream to be free was now reality. But as they set his country free so was the machinery of corruption set free and running as it was in the time of tyranny. The Filipinos kicked out the looters of this nation's wealth only to realize that a new pack of looters had taken over.

At Edsa, Filipinos held the power of the people in their hands. With that awesome power, they rejected the leaders, who had robbed them, betrayed them, tortured and killed those who would not be enslaved.

At Edsa, Filipinos were the masters of their fate. At last, they could believe in a government for the people and by the people. They were sovereign. Next to the dream of freedom, there was this other one. That their leaders elected in a free and honest election, would harken to the people's mandate. That theywould listen. And that they would act quickly according to what the people needed. That they would be true to their oath of office. That they would serve their masters, the people. That was the lesson at Edsa that leaders had to learn from thereon. That was also the dream. It has not happened. Both the learning and the dream.

Filipinos are now free to speak their mind, to air their grievances. But that is about all they have of their four days of courage. That is all they can show for nearly being bombed into kingdom come at Edsa.

The post-Edsa Filipinos now have a voice. But who is listening? But for the periodic elections when politicians are suddenly and suspiciously solicitous and generous, who really cares?

The Filipinos are back exactly to where they were before Edsa: Stuck in poverty and the corruption of their government but, unlike at Edsa, powerless to do anything about it. To top it all, the Marcoses never left home. Which is the worst post-Edsa scenario imaginable. Only, this is happening right now.
For all the post-Edsa desecrations of the Filipinos' courage and sacrifice, their dreams and expectations, Edsa is not in ruins. It remains a wonder to behold 22 years later. It has stood as a bacon to oppressed people everywhere. It continues to burn brightly as an eternal flame to freedom. Edsa is a monument to the best that the Filipino can be.

As wonders go, we can say everything about Edsa and yet nothing. Because wonders can never be fully explained. Because wonders can never be unraveled. To unravel a ball of thread is to discover you've lost it.

Let historians then evaluate the context and perspectives of Edsa relative to the development of our nation. Let political experts assess, dissect and perorate on why Edsa failed. Let the ideologues lament that the revolutionary zeal for reforms has fizzled out. That traditional vested interests are back in business as usual. That the political order is out of order. That the national purpose is adrift. That national unity is in tatters. That the Edsa spirit is dead. All that may be true. But so is this truth: Edsa happened and the Filipino made it happen. No one can diminish Edsa or take it away from the Filipino.

So, let the people rejoice that there ever was an Edsa. Let them sing and dance in the streets in the next four days in celebration of their triumph. Because Edsa was of their very own making. Their finest four days when they decided in Nick Joaquin's words, ''to have a future again, a tomorrow again, and that we didn't have to resign ourselves to a numbing prospect of one damnable Marcos after another.''


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