Another celebration of the first EDSA revolution, and another debate of whether or not it was really good for us (hint: it was, it really was). While we could beat on that dead horse yet another time, it seems a bit more important to consider the one thing nobody is disputing: how peaceful it was.
The thing with calling EDSA the “bloodless” revolution is that it seems to have given people the wrong ideas. And it doesn’t matter if you’re one of those who think EDSA saved us from impending doom or those that believe EDSA led us straight to it, the reality is, EDSA didn’t fail us, so much as we failed EDSA. The ideals we fought for back then are now ideals we’re actually debating if we deserve. Imagine complaining about having “too much freedom” while actively taking part in the longest-running COVID lockdown in the world.
Ultimately, it’s the fact that EDSA was peaceful yet successful that gave people the wrong ideas, regardless where they fall along the political divide. Wrong ideas, such as…
8. Revolutions are a failure if someone gets hurt.
The Truth: Revolutions are a failure if things don’t change.
Imagine thinking that the French Revolution was a failure because a bunch of aristocrats ended up on the business end of the guillotine. While EDSA was a bloodless revolution for all intents and purposes, it wouldn’t be remotely remarkable if it didn’t work. Had the Marcoses stayed on in power, EDSA’s bloodless claim would have been completely irrelevant.
7. We ignored everyone who wasn’t in EDSA.
The Truth: The EDSA Revolution, despite its name, was a nationwide protest.
People think that EDSA was the height of Imperial Manila’s hubris, dictating upon an entire nation the wishes of only one sector. That could not have been further from the truth. If you’re still doubtful, take a wild guess whose political career was kickstarted after supporting the revolution all the way in Mindanao. Go ahead. Guess.
6. EDSA was just a political squabble between two political families.
The Truth: EDSA was a fight for freedom.
A lot of people play the “both sides” card and want to label EDSA as a battle between two oligarchs — the Marcoses vs. the Aquinos. While one could argue that they are nothing but two sides of the same coin, there’s an important distinction to be made between someone whose power went unchecked for over two decades and someone who willingly ended her term after 6 years. That we had to fight for that freedom by staging this revolution is important to this day, because now, even in the middle of all this posturing over changing the constitution and term limits, it’s obvious that people are watching. Closely.
Which is to say that while we aligned with the Aquinos on this one, it does not mean we will nor should we align with them every other time.
5. It was peaceful only because Marcos let it be so.
The Truth: Marcos may have stayed his hand, but that was not an act of kindness. It was an act of fear.
Imagine the walls closing in on you while you’re holding a gun. Sure, you could fire the gun and maybe have the bullet ricochet right in your face, or you could just let it run its course so it’s over and done with. Marcos chose the path of least resistance, and wonder of wonders, because we are a forgetful lot, his family now reaps the benefits of our willingness to forgive and forget.
4. Revolutions need to be peaceful.
The Truth: Revolutions need to work.
This idea bears repeating because people get confused. When a rally happens and inconveniences us, that’s exactly the point. Revolutions are the cries of the unheard. Do you think you’d pay them any attention at all if they demonstrated their grievances at your convenience? Heck, no! It’d be easier than ever to just ignore them and go about your way because the status quo is not a problem for you at all.
3. Revolutions need to be unanimous.
The Truth: Revolutions need empathy.
Those who remember EDSA a little too fondly think that it was a demonstration that was unanimous. That every single Filipino rose up to stick it to a dictatorship. No, that’s not what happened. It was nationwide, yes. But it was far from unanimous. Heck, if there are Nazi sympathizers even in the middle of World War II, you can bet there were Marcos Loyalists in the middle of the EDSA Revolution.
Ultimately, what makes a revolution work isn’t unanimity, but the ability to generate empathy. Yes, I may not have lost my job because I don’t work for a so-and-so network that got shut down with very questionable intentions, but I can understand what they are fighting for, and am one with them. That is how revolutions are made — by building consensus between the victims and the unaffected, and if we’re fortunate — even some of those who benefited who suddenly gained a conscience.
2. It’s just a matter of time before EDSA IV finally happens.
The Truth: You’re still waiting for a spark?
The time for trying to overthrow a government we’re dissatisfied with is long gone, not because we need to tow the line, but because the lesson should have been about not electing these governments in the first place.
EDSA is not a quick fix. It never was, and even if we magically replace the government tomorrow, if our attitude remains the same, then we’ll be right back here clamoring for EDSA V sooner than you think.
1. We don’t need a revolution anymore.
The Truth: Yes, we do – but not the one you think.
It’s one thing to say we don’t need a revolution right now, but it’s another to say we won’t ever need one ever again. The fact is, people think a revolution is all about overthrowing the government, and as we know, if that shit fails, that’s wildly illegal.
A revolution of hearts and minds. A revolution of change from within, and not from outside forces imposing them upon us. A revolution that changes how we see things and how we think, rather than an uprising to change the government. That’s what we need right now, not because we are in some spiritual battle between good and evil (although for some, they very well are), but because so many of us have been complacent for too long that even in the face of the most disturbing, we are still trying to shrug our shoulders.
People have had enough over so much less than this. Ultimately, the change we’ve been looking for was in us all along.
But would we ever need another revolution of the conventional kind? Alas, that is not for an 8List to answer – that question is all yours, dear reader.
What are your thoughts on the EDSA Revolution? Sound off in the comments!