“The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.”
– Stanza LXXVI in the Rubaiyat
of Omar Khayyam
Everything here is analysis and discourse. Make no mistake about it because when the Moving Finger of the Revolution starts moving, there is no stopping it – even if it leads to the guillotine.
Why is the Leninist doctrine more effective than the Maoist theory of waging a revolution? The answer is simple. It has proved itself successful in the streets of Petrograd. It is the most successful based on our own experience in the Philippines. Any fool can see that. But we have a number of fools in this country who prove to be the exceptions. The misfortune is some of them come from UP and Ateneo – the universities which are supposed to produce the best of the best. Unfortunately, they also produce the worst of the worst and the exceptions to the rule about fools are also produced by these honored institutions.
The separatist revolution
I happen to know personally two of the leaders of the separatist revolution – Mayor Reuben Canoy of Cagayan de Oro City who became an Undersecretary for the Press during the time of Marcos and later became Member of Parliament (MP) under the banner of the Mindanao Alliance and was the Chairman of the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM); and Nur Misuari, professor at UP Diliman and Chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). They are both highly intelligent and intellectual personalities. But both of them are failures in the realization of their objective of Mindanao independence.
Canoy is one of the finest short story writers in English in this country. But he is a failure as a strategist and tactician to realize his dream of Mindanao iondependence. Now he is old and grey and there is no turning back the hands of time. He is also one of the finest broadcasters in Cebuano and English in the Cebuano speaking world. In his program named “Perspective,” Canoy gained a following in the Cebuano speaking world in Mindanao and the Visayas which he could have utilized to make the people march behind him on the road to Mindanao independence but he did not. Until now, I am still wondering why. But knowing Canoy’s background, he is more of a fiction writer than a revolutionary and between them is a world of a difference.
In the case of Nur, he was my client in one of his rebellion cases when he was confined in Fort Santo Domingo. Revelatory of his character was the following conversation in his dining room at the Fort.
I told him in one of our relaxed moments inside his cottage, “Nur, do you know how to kill a snake?
“Of course, I do,” he quickly replied.
“Then, why are you fighting the war of independence in Mindanao? This is the tail of the snake that is the Philippines,” I answered. “The head of the snake is Manila, that’s where you should fight the war for Mindanao independence, in Manila,” I continued.
“You know Bono, keep that to yourself. You are a very dangerous man,” he answered with a warning.
I wanted to laugh but I could not. I wondered to myself why a man like Nur Misuari who graduated and taught in UP could be so naïve and lacking in analysis.
Canoy and Misuari are intelligent and visibly intellectual persons but they are no revolutionaries and Sun Tzu warriors; that is why their attempts at a separatist revolution failed.
Qualities of a revolutionary leader
What are the qualities of a revolutionary leader? First, he must be brilliant like Lenin and Trotzky, Mao Zedong and Zou-en-Lai, Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap, Gammal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat. You need brilliance to be a visionary and overwhelmingly analytical. Second, he must be extraordinarily brave.
Without razor sharp courage, you are better planting camotes. You need that kind of courage to take extreme risk because leadership means risk. Third, he must be highly disciplined otherwise he is likely to wither on the vine. Fourth, he must be intensely focused because a bit of diversion could lead to disaster. Fifth, he must be prepared to kill otherwise the counter-revolutionaries will kill him first. Sixth, he must be decisive and a man of character. Seventh, he must have “The Art of War” of Sun Tzu as his bible.
Can we find a man of such qualifications in the Philippines? Yes, as I keep on articulating over again, there must be one in every million. Since we are a hundred million Filipinos, there are a hundred Filipinos who have those qualifications. The task of every Filipino is to find just one of every million. Then, mention his name in the open so the people can case him and if successful, the people can ask him to respond to the task of renewing this country.
That is not difficult to do. Or is it? As a Filipino, I have done my duty of finding one among the one hundred who fits the description. You might ask me: “Who?” Well, as the analyst, it is a trade secret to keep for the moment. I am waiting for him, as the Australian journalist put it so well, to favorably respond to the challenge of death and then Hell is likely to break loose. When that happens, the people better welcome him because for this fellow, defeat is not an option.
As examples of failure of leadership are the many failed coups in the Philippines. First, the planning was bad. Second, the execution was even worse. Third, the leaders were afraid to kill. In the struggle for power with the noble objective of reforming the system, you must kill as many as needed to capture political power. To define limits in this regard is to delimit your chances of victory.
This was also the reason why Marcos lost to the crowd at Edsa because there was a failure to pulverize Ramos and Enrile. Marcos lost also because he allowed the members of the Opposition to be free to roam around. That is not the way to deal with critical situations when the fate of your revolution and the country is at stake. It takes firm resolve –come what may.
It also explains the defeat of Enrile and Laurel in the hands of the Cory crowd. It is just a case of nerves and lack of resolve because the leaders did not dream dreams.
Is there a revolutionary situation in the Philippines?
There is a revolutionary situation in the Philippines. Those who dabble with the idea of revolution always try to find the magic combination of the objective and subjective conditions. The objective factor refers to the factual condition of the political, social and economic environment. The subjective factor is the readiness of the people to participate in the revolutionary struggle with the revolutionary leader.
Is there is an objective revolutionary situation? Yes, there is – massive and stifling graft and corruption in all sectors and levels of government; shameless behavior of the officialdom in the commission of graft and corruption; overwhelming poverty in the land; unabated criminality from the cities to the countryside; continuing violation of human rights by the military and the police; illegal drug infestation all over the country; failure of the justice system; lack of medical services for the people; runaway rise in the price of basic commodities; total chaos in the streets of Metro Manila; almost total lack of protection for the citizens; total absence of faith in the electoral process; enveloping condition of hopelessness in the country.
What about the subjective revolutionary situation? It is there – boiling in some areas and potentially growing in many. The subjective element that is missing is the leader. Will he emerge? Will he rise? Will he respond to the challenges of the moment? I think he will as soon as soon as he puts the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together? How soon? I don’t know.
Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe mine could be better because I successfully predicted the fall of Marcos and Erap from the presidency.
How soon? I really don’t know. The great leader creates his season. But it could be sooner than you think. The great leader strikes when nobody expects – just like a thief in the night to pave the way for a clear, cloudless, and better day.