“For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow, a vision
But today well-lived makes every yesterday
A dream of happiness and
Every tomorrow a vision of hope,
Look well, therefore, to this day
Such is the salutation to the dawn.”
-Kalidasa, the greatest Indian dramatist and poet in Sanskrit
Writing is one of the modes of teaching. You teach beyond the limited confines of a classroom. You communicate with a bigger audience. You talk to the world. Your words, if anything significant, become eternal.
You can make people wonder. You can make people dream. You can change people. You can move a community; you can change the country, even the world. You can make people march. That is how powerful is your pen, especially if propelled by a scintillating and incandescent mind. As they say, the pen is mightier than the sword.
This is the reason why I keep on writing not just columns but also books to document, as Churchill said, the triumphs and tragedies of my time, spanning decades and generations because I am a survivor with a mission.
The mission: To build a better country
The mission is to build a better country where equality, liberty and fraternity prevail, so Filipinos can live better, meaningful and fruitful lives. This is not original with me. This is the battle-cry of the French Revolution which happened more than three centuries ago – Liberte’, egalite’, fraternite’ which means freedom, equality and brotherhood. But nothing in this world is really original, in a sense, except God.
I learned this when I was a kid at the Misamis Oriental High School reading Modern Times and the Living Past. I was impressed by Camille Desmoulins leading the storming of the Bastille and he was not even thirty years old. Even more impressed by Danton and Robespierre who were lawyers! And looking at the contemporary scene, I cannot help but be embarrassed by the young of our time who is not even a parallax away from Desmoulins and he, by the way, was a journalist.
In the best of times for revolutionaries, journalists during the French Revolution were at the forefront of the struggle in overthrowing a regime that oppressed the people. Yes, journalists like Desmoulins and Marat and charismatic lawyers like Danton and Robespierre.
In the Philippines today where the social, economic and political situation is as bad as the time of the French Revolution, many of our journalists of the Kapisanan Ng Mga Brodkasters sa Pilipinas (KBP) and National Press Club (NPC) are having the time of their lives enjoying a Rip Van Winkle sleep, dreaming of fat envelopes from politicians and media seekers and waiting for AC-DC, which has nothing to do with electric currents. AC-DC has nothing to do also with identity problems called silahis, meaning His by day and Sila by night, many of whom are interesting but embarrassing creatures in Malacañang, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Thus, my favorite punch line is: Please call me Bono, not Homo because if you insist in calling me Homo, I may just become President of the Philippines, and heaven help the crooks, the oligarchs, the unjust, the oppressors, the botangos, the traitors and the pretenders.
And I have not heard from the young, whom Dr. Jose Rizal considered the fair hope of the Fatherland. Whatever happened to the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and the National Union of Students of the Philippines? (NUSP) Do they still exist? In days gone by, the organizational and individual members of these groups used to lead the fight for nationalist and people’s causes. They are all silent now probably buried in the graveyard of the system. [Publisher/Editor’s note: They are very much alive but the conscript media don’t publish their statements. But we The Times do.]
Well, nothing is ever too late to do anything for the country and our people. What you have failed to do then, do it now! After all, have you not heard or read what President John F. Kennedy once said? – “Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country. This is a very passionate challenge by a very affluent, brilliant and concerned human being, a universal man, who just happened to be an American.
So back to the mission: impossible?
It has always been my continuing dream to participate in the changing the political, social and economic systems in the Philippines because the present system is unjust, oppressive and undemocratic. Why? The present system favors the rich and privileged classes in this country. While it is true that everything is equal before the law – that is all theory and therefore a lot of nonsense. Everything is unequal – the rich and the influential have the money to bribe the police, the prosecutors and the judges while the poor is left with nothing: no influence, no money and no power. It is overwhelmingly sad and oppressively senseless and disgusting.
This situation will not change through elections. As I have said it over and over again, elections in this country are criminal exercises – the candidates buy votes, the voters allow themselves to be bought, media allow itself to be bought, the COMELEC is involved in all forms of criminality attending elections; the teachers, as a rule, allow themselves to be bribed or intimidated by politicians and their running dogs; the same rule applies to the military and the police.
The oligarchs, the vested interests, the privileged classes and the political parties dictate on who will be candidates and the probable winners.
The people participate in the perversion of the Lincolnian concept of democracy – a government of the people, for the people, and by the people – by following the perennial politician’s concept – off the people, fool the people, and buy the people.
This is why most, if not all candidates for the presidency and other elective positions in government, are outstanding in their disqualifications than their qualifications.
So something has got to be done. Many say it is a mission impossible. But it is impossible missions that make the venturesome alive and functional. It is the permanent food of revolutionaries. It is what makes life worth living.
For was it not the Nobel Prize winner, George Bernard Shaw, and popularized by that universal hero, Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy, who said: “People see things as they are and ask, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and ask, ‘Why?’”
Constitutional transition government
Why not a Constitutional Transition Government (CTG)? It is the beginning of a journey of a thousand miles; a determined cleansing of the sins of the past and of the present; it is an intense struggle to build new institutions and new Filipinos in a well-planned journey to the Promised Land – the Maharlika of the future where life is meaningful, fruitful and a lot of fulfillment for all.
It is like an adventure with Tom Cruise as the hero; where you see Chairman Deng Xiao Peng swim across the strong currents of the Yangtze river at age 89; it’s like playing Werner von Braun sending a rocket and a lunar lander to the moon; or dreaming of doing a Leon Trotzky in the streets of Metro Manila; or doing a Gammal Abdel Nasser in the West Philippines.
We can do the impossible mission if we work together for our people and our country. This is the only country we’ve got and we might as well make the most of it.
Within this month I will host an initial dialogue of 40 to 50 people at my expense in Metro Manila to discuss the possible formation of a CONSTITUTIONAL TRANSITION GOVERNMENT which will do away with elections in 2016 and 2019.
How it can be formed and how it will work will be the subject of my next columns with snippets of comments on current issues. So the stories on Ninoy Aquino must wait for a little more time.