Historicizing EDSA

first_imgBeyond thecallous and dichotomous political archetyping of reds, yellows, Vs, or Ls, theEDSA Revolution must sting the Filipino people back to the realization thatthey can and must exercise their sovereign power – even if that leads totoppling down dictators and strongmen with flowers and rosaries./PN Our studentswill rely on fast popular references: Facebook pages with dubious names orYouTube clips which are strangely reliant on unheard-of sources. Then, itbegins to proliferate: fake news, conspiracy theories, and eventually, massmisinformation. The scholastic outcome is as expected: fallacious essays thatsomehow get high marks and a virulent national amnesia. Who called themasses out to the streets? Why were people of the cloth spread en masseon the front lines? Why did the tanks and armored carriers halt at the cusp ofa possible massacre? Who turned the tide of the battle – or was there really a‘battle’? Context provides interesting points of view as well: for a Panayanon,do we see the direct political ties between the assassination of Evelio Javierwith the then-forthcoming storm at EDSA – or is Feb. 11 just another holidaybreak from schoolwork? MANY EQUATEthe study of history with the tedious recall of names and dates, resulting to aplethora of information that holds no significant or practical meaningwhatsoever to the student. It is hardly unexpected then that they can easilyrattle off dead names and obscure dates yet cannot weave them in the widerfabric of continuous time: in the deluge of whats and whens, no one reallybothers to ask for the whys, hows, and what thens. Moresurprising are the number of people who actually fall for it. What seems tofade in the national memory is that the EDSA Revolution was the eventualnational outburst brought about by years of political ambition and repression,material greed, and megalomania, masked with the façade of boominginfrastructure, militarism and propaganda, and elitist art. BY JOHN ANTHONY ESTOLLOSO Perhaps whatour generation needs is to reflect retrospectively, to go back to the rawdetails that built up those days when the Filipinos taught the world whatdemocracy meant, without need of violence or brutality. So try toponder on these points and see how many of these can we answer truthfully andfactually: How many of us are still aware that the People Power Revolution wasnot a one-day affair? How many people can situate what the main characters weredoing at the beginning of the protracted conflict and the eventual significanceof these to the forthcoming days? How many of the younger ones realize that thecivilian revolt on the streets started primarily as a military coup? Our textbooksand classes in history have sadly relegated the idea of People Power to ametaphorical abstraction devoid of contemporary relevance; students will studyit for the scores but will these translate to keeping the lessons learned onthe streets alive? Or in our intellectual apathy or bias, must we in due coursebecome instrumental to a repeat performance of 1986? Whether welike it or not, the questions and details present themselves persistently.These nitty-gritty minutiae are the beginnings of historical examinationand consciousness which in turn mold our sense of nationhood: for us to askwhat we are now and what we will become, we must first ask what we were and whywe were as such.  center_img Humanitiesteacher, Ateneo de Iloilo-SMCS  Photographslikewise reveal a lot of details that lend clues to historical nuances. (Unfortunately,these are often relegated as page-brighteners of textbooks.) For instance, inthe inaugural photograph of the First Family on the balcony, why was BongbongMarcos in military fatigues while the rest were wearing Filipiniana? Resultant fromthis intellectual indigestion and compartmentalization are misconceptions abouthistorical thought that taught us nothing about avoiding the mistakes of thepast. History, after all, is layered narrative: to know what happened beforeone is born requires a conjecturing of reasons, hypotheses, and implications,not a memorization of names and dates. As is usual with the case of the latter,too many and too much are lost in transition and in translation. Who was theold lady holding the bible in Cory’s inauguration and why was she the oneprivileged to do that? Why were there so many religious images in the manyphotographs of the People Power? What does the state of Malacañang Palacereveal about the Marcos family moments prior evacuation? Why are the smashedportraits of Ferdinand and Imelda emblazoned with royal sashes? What narrativesdo these voiceless images tell?   Collectiveactions of those who came before us ultimately ripple to our times; piecedtogether, they form the tapestry of historical chronology and narrative thatcapture what it means to be the Filipino – our needs and wants, our desires andaspirations, our fears and insecurities. Must we becomevictims of our own historical ineptitude and our political loyalties? KAPIT-BISIG. Like previous street protests, people link arms whenever there are enemy forces out to break up their assemblies. Photo by Romeo Mariano The PeoplePower Revolution of 1986 is not spared of this plague. What with the risingtide of historical revisionism, our understanding of this benchmark act ofdemocracy has been put under siege. Try scrolling down social media platformsand you will be amused and disturbed by the sheer number of entities who try adnauseam to discredit and devalue EDSA One of its consequential meaning. last_img read more