Let’s face it. Thirty one years is a long time — long enough that by now we would have seen the changes that we so eagerly and bravely sought when we marched on EDSA in 1986 to overthrow a dictator and aimed to restore freedom, democracy and justice in our society.
Year after year, we gather in the same spot where we even built a monument to remind us of our courage and resolve to never again allow a return of that dark period in our history. We even built a chapel which could very well be a subtle reminder of the role the Catholic Church played in that peaceful revolution.
Today, however, many Filipinos still feel shackled by the evils of corruption, poverty, criminality, oligarchy and injustice.
Thirty one years have passed and yet the very people and institutions that inspired and encouraged us to march and risk our lives have seemingly betrayed the spirit of EDSA.
Poverty still reigns in our land, with the the signs of progress benefitting only the top one percent of our population. Crime as well as peace and order are still very concerning problems that beset our country. Corruption continues, and may in fact have flourished in the last three decades.
The promise of land reform remains exactly that — a promise. Ironically, its failure can only be represented by one of the most visible landowners who have systematically held on to the land that farmers have tilled and yearned ownership of through several generations. The same family that inspired EDSA.
And the Catholic Church that was at the forefront of EDSA? Well, it’s still doing what it does best: collecting money and investing it to make more profit while turning a blind eye to the socio-economic suffering of the faithful it is supposed to serve. Not to mention its penchant for dipping its finger in politics that it should — by law –consider off limits.
How about our politicians? Well, politics is still largely a business of preserving power and influence. We’re not done as yet with the Aquinos and the Marcoses, and they have been joined by many others in this unending cycle of power grab.
“Never Forget” has been a recurring meme for those who experienced the events leading up to EDSA, but with emergence of a new generation that was nonexistent thirty one years ago, it seems there is little to remember, nothing to forget.
EDSA has now become a hotbed of more current issues: U.S. and other foreign intervention in our internal affairs, international territorial disputes, women’s and LGBT rights, the war on drugs, EJK, insurgency, the police, reproductive rights, death penalty, questionable elections, freedom of speech, Yellowtards vs. Dutertards, you name it. Sure, somewhere in there, we also have the Marcos burial at LNMB. EDSA has even taken on a more expansive bully pulpit called social media.
So, when people gather on EDSA on February 25, wouldn’t it be appropriate to rename it EDSA 1.2? Has it lost its spirit of 31 years ago?
Should people just stay home and rally in front of their computers and spare the long stretch of avenue from the usual nightmare it is best known for? Traffic?
Shouldn’t the resources instead be spent on re-writing our history to better reflect the true and unbiased account of EDSA 1 and, more importantly, the events that led up to it?
Maybe then, and only then, can we say “Never Forget,” or “Never Again.”
More importantly, should we instead harness the spirit of EDSA for the benefit of the here and now, and the pressing issues of this and the future generation?