Looking through the drafts that had been left unpublished, I came across this article that I had begun I would think sometime on March 2008, but never quite posted. Here it is in full:
I thought that night, as I gently rocked in pain from an affliction that put my bowels in its own “silent revolution”, that maybe I wouldn’t be able to make the March 8 rally. It had been an uneventful series of days, and I had planned to post several articles following activity in the Blogosphere. But stranger Fate took me, and so here I was. The doctor gave some strong medicine (which only aroused suspicion), and advised me to stay home as much as possible.
So, planning to do just that, while somewhat regretful that I would miss the activity of that day, I noticed that on the way to the University the traffic had begun to lock. I thought, and heard, immediately that it was here. It was probably in some avenue causing gridlock in the streets.
I finally made it to the University, and realized that the rally was far closer than I thought. On the 29th, I had gone a long way just to get to the assembly. This time, the assembly made its way to me.
It was a smaller, more personal crowd. I wasn’t surprised, though. The Inter-Faith Rally of the 29th was called on by the CBCP. The bishops, reluctant they may be, still wield the power to summon the masses to congregation. Those who stood before a barricade of police (I noticed that there were few to no military men involved), were the dedicated few who do not have the influence or the power to generate that many.
As I walked closer, and watched just a few meters from me, I noted some were laborers, some activists, and the tired poor. Sure, their voices were not as loud and as resounding as the rhetoricians who carried the cheers and triumphant hurrahs of the rallyists of the 29th. Yet they were the voices that were solid, long, and enduring. Though hoarse with fatigue, or spiritual weariness, they spoke out. A few onlookers stood by, and not many more. They could care less. I could imagine them walking many hundred miles just to get to that place, just so their voices could be heard.
I worried that the University was empty. But it was filled to the brim, and buzzing with students. They were busy in queues to pay for their tuition fees; I passed someone in heated debate over one issue or another. There were even some girls giggling from the corner. In short, life went on. The demonstration could be heard across every room, but life went on.
It would seem strange, but the sounds within the classroom were somehow in silent harmony with the militant hymns from outside. The protesters alternated between angry clamors of justice, and the gentle songs of hope and freedom. I was caught in the midst of realities.
The reality is that there are Final Examinations, and last-minute Graduation preparations. The reality is that there is a life other than the streets and the pickets. The reality is that these students, after Graduation, will go home to the provinces. The reality is that the poor have nowhere to go, and restless enough to dissipate.
And the reality is, no matter how few the numbers, as long as there are enough people out there—for whatever intentions—who would sustain the inertia of the EDSA Movement, whether it would be in the demonstrations, or in the investigations, or in the courts, or anywhere else… if there are enough of them to sustain it for us, then we can move the government.
The reality is, the protests will not be enough. So yes, we should expand action:
- To those families of the disappeared, or worse: File a writ of amparo. I know this will not be enough, as the courts will readily dismiss them. But take it to the courts. To all the courts. If they will not listen here, then take it to the international arbiters. The United Nations has continued to condemn the unanswered killings in the country. Perhaps, added with your voice…
- Create a grassroots “Cha-cha”. The allies of the government tried and almost succeeded to pursue a Constitutional Reform where the larger majority were either not consulted or misinformed. So, we should have our own “People’s Initiative”: we could ask that the Senate should have the additional function of confirming or rejecting Presidential appointments, as is used in the United States.
- Channel People Power to legal channels. Why not call for an addition to the Constitution, where by “People’s Initiative” a private citizen can initiate “Articles of Impeachment?”
- Remain ever-vigilant, through the filing of cases against Czarina Arroyo and her allies in the courts, to make sure that they won’t have impunity and escape prosecution. Whether or not the elections will be hampered in 2010, justice must be served.
These are only a few options. But it’s a start. We must make at least some small effort to maintain Inertia. A more concrete and better organized article would come later; for now, though, here’s my two cents worth.
It is now 2009, and the Philippines is relatively quiet. While the elections of 2004 had left much of 2003 and 2002 abuzz, a year before these actual elections, and actually the campaign period, there is a deathly stillness. Maybe, there is a collective feeling that 2010 will pass without elections, or, more to the point, maybe the people have resigned themselves to the fate of the bamboo–said to represent the Philippine sturdiness, when in fact it symbolized our own compunction to bend to one will or another.
Funny how we would talk about reality to justify our own weakness, and–admittedly–our own cowardice. The reality is, the criminals have guns. We don’t. The reality is, prayers will not save you from the man with a pistol to your face, ready to kill you. The reality is, if you just don’t do good, then that good deed will indeed go unpunished.
Idealism goes hand in hand with belief. And faith. If you stop believing, if you stop taking your heads to the clouds, you can indeed live your life on the ground, and shuffle with the rest of the multitude. The reality is, we are ready to throw faith away… for a moment’s peace.
But that, at best, is a false peace. And, indeed, the other tragic truth is, we are living under an atmosphere of false peace.
How many of you are really willing to act? To stand up? Or has EDSA been silenced at last?