MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/25 February) – Had I not switched to a channel on TV that featured interviews with former president Fidel V. Ramos and Senator Gregorio Honasan, I would have forgotten that Saturday marked the end of the four-day people power revolt that ousted a dictator twenty-six years ago.
For someone who experienced what it was like during the Martial Law era, the near-amnesia would seem unthinkable, if not blasphemous. But since I worship no doctrine nor bow before any idol of history, including the one that the late Jaime Cardinal Sin erected on Ortigas-Edsa, I feel no guilt.
In fact, with the way things have gone for the country since 1986, one may treat every 25th of February as just another day. President Benigno S. Aquino III called Edsa an “unfinished revolution.” For sure, he’s not the first to say that. Nor would he be the last.
Look at the growing number of 4Ps beneficiaries, and you can indeed say that it’s still unfinished business for our leaders. Well, have they started on something in the first place? Or are they just perpetuating past mistakes dating back to the president whose name we may have forgotten.?
Or maybe, just maybe, Edsa wasn’t really a revolution in the strict sense but we’re just too timid – or embarrassed – to admit it.
It’s not that it wasn’t worth massing up outside Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo to protect the military mutineers from being pulverized by the Marines. The problem started when the mutineers, instead of thanking the anonymous faces who came to their rescue, turned the table and declared without batting an eyelash that the whole nation should be grateful to them.
What followed was a franchise war between the Juan Ponce Enrile-Honasan clique and Cory Aquino, who enjoyed the bishops’ unqualified support. The tension would let off steam in the December 1989 coup which almost toppled the Aquino government. His hopes of becoming president dashed, Enrile eventually dissociated himself from the Edsa thing.
As for the Church, she has always viewed herself as the midwife of Edsa, and presented the outcome of the event as the fruit of divine intervention brokered by her. The images and symbols –at least the dominant ones — that found their way into the Edsa Shrine seem to say that the mutiny cum people’s uprising was the political equivalent of conception by the Holy Spirit.
In the process, the real parents of Edsa were sidelined, if not omitted, in the ensuing narratives. Forgotten were the people who had sown the seeds of the struggle against the dictatorship. Forgotten were the people who sacrificed lives and limbs so that others may also find the courage to rise up in protest.
I used to believe that history keeps a fine accounting. But I’m now beginning to have second thoughts. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)