Friday, October 17, 2014

Unfinished Business

Nothing irritates and distresses me more intellectually and emotionally than fellow Filipinos who should be old enough to know better and should be well-informed enough to understand clearly but who are quick to say to my face that the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution was a failed revolution because the ideals, principles and objectives it had fought for remains unfulfilled and unrealized 28 years hence.

I can be considerate of those who are too young to have been discerning witnesses if not actual participants in the crucial events of those historic few days in February of 1986 and have not bothered to really familiarize themselves with unbiased and accurate accounts of what was clearly one of the most important defining events in the recent history of this country. It is often all too easy to dismiss or, even worse, actually belittle and consider insignificant something that one does not truly understand or know enough about.

I can also disregard the fence-sitters who, 28 years ago, never did commit themselves and merely waited to see which side would prevail in the end and only then loudly proclaim themselves to be wholly, in body and spirit, to have been with the winning side from the very beginning. They did not matter three decades ago and sadly, despite their noisy protestations, still remain irrelevant to this very day.

Finally, I can discount the die hard apologists for the Marcos dictatorship who even nowadays still cling to their delusion that the more than two decades of Apo Ferdinand's authoritarian rule was the best thing that ever happened to this country, the very same people who still desperately peddle like inveterate hucksters their own revised and doctored version of the events leading to EDSA uprising. As far as they are concerned the so called Yellow Revolution will always be just an ill-advised coup d'├ętat, a disastrous putsch that really changed and achieved nothing except unjustly removing from power the one man they all worship as the greatest leader in Philippine history.

But for the rest of us who were privileged to have truly lived through those monumental few days in February of 1986 there can be no excuse for not being able to fully understand and appreciate, after the passing of almost three decades, the true implications if not the true meaning of the EDSA people power revolt 28 years ago. For in truth, the revolution we thought we had already won then is, in reality, is still sadly being fought today and the final outcome, far from being an assured and certain victory, remains largely in doubt.

Any dedicated student of politics and history always comes to the sad yet inevitable conclusion that all revolutions and uprisings whether it is of the armed and violent kind or the peaceful and civilian-backed variety of which EDSA 1986 is the primary model, remains basically and fundamentally incomplete as a transformative event even when it has achieved its primary objective of overthrowing what may have been popularly perceived to be a tyrannical and despotic government. The period immediately following such a successful change in power is often a tumultuous and chaotic time and can plunge a nation into grave crisis and bloody conflict.

The ensuing aftermath of the wave of protests, riots and and civil wars of the so called Arab Spring in many countries in the tumultuous Middle East which began in 2010 clearly illustrates this point. The mere overthrow of a hated government or political leader rarely solves the political, economic and social problems of a country plagued by massive unrest and general discontent. As in the case of a severe yet curable physical disease in a patient, a good doctor will always be cognizant of the reality that, even with proper medication and treatment, the sufferer often gets worse before getting better, if he does survives the ordeal.

The critical difference between a failed revolution and a successful one that insures the emergence of a viable and resurgent democracy and the inevitable economic progress and prosperity that comes with that positive development is clearly the continued, widespread political awareness and vigilant, keen participation by the citizens of a country in the long, protracted and peaceful process of the rebuilding of that nation. In short, truly successful revolutions are actually continuing phenomena that virtually never end and are constantly being fought on a day to day basis in the ongoing life of a people.

If many of us who were there when the 1986 EDSA revolution was being waged now feel that that very revolution has failed us and that it has not given us the democratic utopia that we, for almost three decades now, have so desperately hoped, dreamed of and fought for then perhaps we should ask ourselves if we have since then until today have remained true and faithful to the very same ideals and principles that had motivated us to risk everything to be, if not physically but at least in spirit, with the multitudes rallying on the streets of Metro Manila and all over the country almost three decades ago, all demanding for democratic change. Have we stopped agitating and protesting too soon?

The EDSA People Power Revolt of 1986 was a desperate call to action for the Filipino people that was supposed to initiate a long and protracted process of revolutionary change that was meant to be sustained and powered by the nation's long festering hunger and yearning for true democracy and a society that was just, peaceful and truly prosperous. It was never meant to be the beginning and the end of such a struggle.

So let us stop all the finger-pointing and the blame games. The dream of EDSA 1986 continues to remain a dream to this day because we Filipinos collectively as a people have not been worthy of its legacy.

In the heady days after Marcos fled the country, we celebrated and congratulated ourselves for the victory we have not really in actuality even completely won.  We left the streets, laid down the banners and stilled our voices too soon. We became complacent, blinded by the "victory" we thought we had miraculously won against overwhelming odds. Then we let the unscrupulous and the venal including the all the corrupt ghosts of what was dysfunctional about our political past steal our glorious revolution from us.


I prepared this post to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution last February but inadvertently lost the draft stored in a Microsoft Word document file that got buried among many other abandoned files tucked in the innards of one of the hard drives of my desktop computer.

I was lucky to accidentally rediscover and recover it recently and decided to post it now trusting in my belief that its message remains relevant many months after it was supposed to come out.

I do apologize for my long absence from this blog, I am back and remain determined to to keep updating it and more frequently if possible. As always, I am grateful for the emails, comments and suggestions I continue to receive from readers of this blog.

I have always said that I write primarily for my own personal satisfaction (a form of therapy, if you can call it that) but I am not only flattered and emotionally gratified but also greatly humbled to know that there are people out there in cyberspace who continue to tell me (often to my surprise and wary disbelief) that I should write more.

So please keep your emails and comments coming. In more ways than one, they always brighten my day.

As a footnote, I decided to give this blog a new and hopefully more simplified, streamlined and uncluttered look. It is my hope that I have succeeded in doing so but if not, the fault is entirely mine.

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