Friday, February 25, 2011

To fight the continuing betrayal of EDSA, we have to take the road once more!

February 25, 1986, 10 AM Camp Crame. After spending the long night at arms. My dad took this photo of me with Mrs Luz Magsaysay at General Ramos' office
The true spirit of EDSA 1986 does not really lie with those who politically benefited from the uprising. It lies with the people who were on the road, at the barricades or with like me with weapons at the ready, ready to fire at any armed group who would want to destroy the revolt . This photo with former first lady Mrs Luz Magsaysay remains memorable since in the morning of Feb 25, my dad at great risk to his safety pulled me out of that armed cadet outfit. An uprising like EDSA even though with noble intentions still is not worth the shedding of young people's blood. I was just 19 years old then. If you look closely at the lapel, I was wearing the badge of the UP ROTC marksmanship unit. The unit I was in were composed of UP ROTC cadets. Mrs Magsaysay I remember was greatly relieved that none of the cadets were shot at. At 19 it is easy to believe that one can take a bullet until the bullets are aimed at you!

We have to laud God that at EDSA that no shots were fired and no blood was spilled. The blood was to be spilled later near the famed highway during the 1989 coup against Mrs Cory Aquino ( I was again so near the area of conflict with dad since we were to meet a veteran at Camp Aguinaldo that day, but we were in a worse situation, we were both unarmed. I had to drive my new car and dodge the firing until we got to 15th Avenue)

Whatever the Left or Right would say, EDSA is a real revolution. The problem is that it is an unfinished one. And because it was unfinished, it was easily betrayed largely by those who benefited from it. Of the images that still haunt me prior to EDSA 1986 is the photo of malnourished tot Joel Abong who died a week after the famous photo was taken. After EDSA, at least we had hoped that there will be no Joel Abongs anymore. Urban Manila citizens saw the photo but were very sure that those kids existed only on Negros haciendas. But after so many EDSAs you will find Joel Abongs in almost every Metro Manila Gloria Arroyo's "ramdam and ginhawa 7% GDP growth era" That there still are children like Joel Abong in PNoy's "tuwid na daan" a year into the 21st century's second decade is a continuing betrayal for what we risked our lives at EDSA. The fact that Noynoy Aquino's family has a hacienda is a continuing betrayal!

That Filipinos still have to risk their lives in oppressive Middle Eastern countries or carry drugs in desperation and is a continuing betrayal of EDSA. The Generals who take "pabaon" are a continuing betrayal. That Gloria Macapagal Arroyo tried  and has succeeded in staying in power is a betrayal. The list of betrayals are long and almost endless. We have elected the oppressors into the legislature and they are mouthing Hitleresque promises that this country could have been another Singapore.

But the betrayals have to end and we have to take the highway once more. We are jadedly glad that the Arabs are taking the highway too in the age of Twitter and Facebook. We hope their Revolution will not betray them. But sadly it will. That's if they leave the highway and into complacency and then apathy.

We cannot leave the highway that is EDSA and neither can the Egyptians leave their Tahrir Square. The Revolution demands we stay on the highway or the square. At almost 44, as young EDSA revolutionists are now, we have children to think about and the thought of taking a bullet and dying as a revolutionary martyr is not that attractive anymore. But still if we can't inspire the younger ones, then we have been complicit in the continuing betrayal.

Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi,
ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo!
The Nationalist Revolution started by the Katipunan will succeed and this photo of the Philippine Flag at Camp Crame I took on the moment the announcement that the Marcoses were whisked by their American patrons to Guam, tells us that in the future, EDSA will be redeemed and we will be fully victorious.

No uprising is a failure despite all the betrayals, each is a step towards liberation!

But we cannot get off the highway. Let's tweet and Facebook and get them on the road again!

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