“The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion and commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of…society. It will belong to those who see that wisdom can only emerge from the clash of contending views, the passionate expression of deep and hostile beliefs.
Plato said: ‘A life without criticism is not worth living.’” —Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy
A lot of people wonder why I frequently quote Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy. The reasons are very simple. He had deep and fundamental connections with the Greek philosophers and classical writers of centuries ago. He had white heat passion for the eternal verities, God, country and mankind. He had incontestable courage to fight for his beliefs and his dreams of tomorrow. I had been that all of my life and I cannot help articulate and take immense pride of my connections with a kindred soul.
Now, back to the real Edsa all the nonsense associated with it.
What is the real Edsa?
Every year, the country celebrates the anniversary of the Edsa uprising. The celebration is in docile obedience to an edict from Malacañang based on the impression that Edsa was a democratic revolution. Was it a revolution? No, it was not; it was just a successful military and civilian uprising. Was it democratic? Yes, it was because there was people
participation. Was it planned? No, it was not! If not, what was it? It was nothing but an accident of history. It was as much an accident of history as the accession to the presidency by Corazon C. Aquino. If Ninoy Aquino was not assassinated at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport (MIA), very likely Cory would never have become president of our country. And we would have been saved from the calamity that it was. If Cory Aquino did not die before the 2010 presidential elections, Benigno Aquino 3rd (PNoy) would not have been elected President of the Philippines. The country would have been saved by the catastrophe that is the Noynoy Aquino administration.
But that is a lot of water under the bridge and the Aquino floods are punishing the nation. The Aquinos resuscitated the Marcoses – graft and corruption, unending human rights violations and all. The country has been reduced to a condition of idiocy. Filipinos can no longer distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil. They think that an admitted killer, adulterer and womanizer should become president of the country. They think that one charged with overwhelming graft and corruption could be President of the Republic.
They think that one who is a running dog of a President that has a psychological problem should inherit the presidency. I could give a kilometric enumeration of idiocy but I hate boring myself to death.
In other countries, these people would have been pressured to commit hara-kiri, with seppuku to boot. With these in mind, we come to the inevitable question – what was Edsa all about, stripped of the hallucinations of the Aquinos and their bunch of blind camp followers as well as the spinners of Juan Ponce Enrile (Johnny for brevity) and Fidel V. Ramos (Fidel for short)?
IMMEDIATE CAUSE: The immediate cause that led to Edsa was the order of President Marcos to have Johnny and Fidel arrested for trying to unseat Marcos through a coup d’etat. It had nothing to do with removing the government or changing the system. It had something to do with the duo fighting for their survival and in the effort to survive, asked the people of Metro Manila to join them for the restoration of democracy in the Philippines.
Of course, why did the people take the Johnny-Fidel appeal for help? For the same reason – to get rid of Marcos and his minions! And as the open reason: for the consumption of domestic and international media as well as the international community – to restore democracy in the Philippines. It was a beautiful propaganda line acceptable to everyone tired of graft and corruption, the display of the luxurious habits of the Marcoses and their cronies, and the murderous and abusive behavior of the military and the police in committing crimes from torture to rape, from stealing properties to murder.
NO COLLECTIVE Edsa IDEALS AND DREAMS: Many of my friends tell me that the ideals and dreams of Edsa were betrayed. This is a pack of vulgar nonsense. There were no collective ideals and dreams in Edsa. The shared motive of Edsa participants was to see Marcos removed. Each participant had his own dream to pursue with the toppling of Marcos considering that the uprising was a motley crowd.
Johnny and Fidel – To save themselves and establish a new government of their friends and cronies;
The businessmen – To have a new government friendly to them and their businesses;
The students and the communists – To take advantage of the chaos and work for the establishment of a communist government headed by their Supremo, Jose Maria Sison;
The ordinary citizen – To free themselves of their fear of being arrested, tortured and abused, and to participate in the fiesta that was going on at Edsa;
The media men and women – To cover the event, hoping that they could write a book or a series that could make money as well as be favored by the leaders of the new government;
The soldiers and policemen – To free themselves from strict discipline as well as obeying orders that denigrate their religion and their conscience;
The priests and nuns – To pursue their dreams of preventing human rights violations and seeing a new order that respects individual rights and liberties; and
The politicians – To secure places for themselves in a new order!
THE DREAMERS: To say, however, that there were no dreamers in Edsa is an insult to the best among the Filipinos. Because somewhere in that crowd were dreamers who wanted to establish a new order. Many of them are dead now like Vice-President Salvador “Doy” Laurel, President of the United Democratic (UNIDO), and a few men and women who are still around today, driven by celestial fires and dreams to establish a new order for this country. Will they succeed, only time will tell?
In the meanwhile, the ones who are loudest in celebrating Edsa are the political heirs of Marcos like Johnny and Fidel and their confederates as well as those who were not there and their participation was fleeting as well as hearsay.
In the succeeding columns, for historical purposes, I will write about what made Edsa possible, the lessons of Edsa and those who betrayed the individual dreams of democratic restoration.