8 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Celebrate the EDSA Revolution Anymore
Feb 25, 2014   •   Wincy Aquino Ong
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Feb 25, 2014   •   Wincy Aquino Ong
It was 28 years ago from today. It was one of the Filipino people’s crowning moment in history. It was the 1986 People Power Revolution: We as one nation overthrew a dictator without the benefit of guns or any form of violence.
But let’s take three backward baby steps and take a moment’s pause. Haven’t we been wearing our rose-tinted spectacles for too long?
I’d like to play the enfant terrible for now, so humor me as I offer you 8 possible reasons why in this very age, the EDSA Revolution is not worth celebrating anymore.
After the historic 1986 revolution, there were two more EDSA revolutions that followed. There was EDSA Dos in January 2001, which peacefully ousted then president Joseph Estrada. And then there was EDSA Tres, which happened a few months later on April 2001, a protest sparked by the arrest of the president in Malacañang. (The latter of the two proved not so peaceful, as rioters attacked police officers and news crews, and many people were injured.)
As for the legitimacy of these two, your mileage may vary, depending on whom you ask. But yes, the impact of the peaceful rebellion that we Filipinos were known all over the world for in that great year of 1986, has been watered down by the sequels.
There once was a time, of course, when Manila and its major artery, EDSA, was home to a simple mix of people, united by a strong Catholic faith and a slowly boiling fury at a crooked regime. Nowadays, it’s a much more complex mix and Filipinos have grown increasingly insular.
Manila is different now: the Muslims have migrated to the city to escape their war-torn islands. The Koreans have settled, too. More and more Filipinos are leaving the country for the greener pastures of foreign economies.
There are just too many belief systems nowadays that it’s nigh impossible to amass a million Filipinos in one smoke-choked avenue. Perhaps, nowadays, there are just too many flags to choose from, too many philosophies percolating in our heads.
Should we even bother to compare our ways to the violent 2013 protests in Turkey and thump our chests with Pinoy pride? I think not.
A peaceful revolution is something automatic to us. We Filipinos are non-confrontational people in general, and the way we solve our problems is by gathering round in one place and scaring the fat cats shitless by our sheer number.
Think about it: A violence-free protest like the 1986 Revolution happens everyday in our country. The NGOs do them from Monday to Sunday.
It’s just that the Yellow One had more TV coverage and better merchandising.
Our corrupt government is a hydra. Cut one head off, two more will take its place.
Or to push the analog further: when we oust one person who is as crooked as scoliosis, two more will replace him, which half of the time happen to be his children. Such is life, and we can only scrape the dandruff from our scalps at that one.
Of course, the undisputed MVP of the 1986 revolution was none other than Cardinal Sin and the Catholic Church. Such was the sway of Roman Catholicism back in the innocent ’80s.
Nowadays, things are different. Kids scratch their heads when the bishops open their mouths and give their opinions on current affairs. The Internet has made Filipinos lazy to go to Mass. What more, activists the likes of Carlos Celdran have bravely voiced their lampoons on the Church.
Drive through EDSA nowadays and let me tell you that it’s less postcard-perfect and more post-apocalyptic. The production design reminds me of the movie Mad Max.
The smoke-choked avenue is a daily purgatory we all slog through, synonymous to horrific vehicular accidents and mutilated limbs. And let’s not mention the stomach-churning commercialism that are the billboards that blot out the skies.
EDSA is no longer a road worth celebrating. It’s an eyesore that all first-time tourists to our 7,107 islands should evade.
Irate with the ignoramuses in office? There’s no need to get out of the house to bring your rants out to the world. Going to rallies will only result in commute expenses and problems with jabar.
Why bother when the Internet has turned every Filipino into an armchair activist?
If you really want to shake things up, write your heart away and post that shit up on Facebook. Sit and wait for the barrage of Likes, all in the comfort of an air-conditioned room.
You don’t need lessons in algebra to know that 1986 was 28 years ago. Times have changed. Out with the old, in with the new. Nostalgia is for suckers and thrift-store owners.
I myself avoid EDSA like the plague, and always take my route through what is known as C-5.
How does EDSA and the EDSA Revolution of ’86 make you feel now? Share these feelings in the Comments Section.
Wincy Aquino Ong is a Filipino author, illustrator, musician, director, actor, and podcaster. He is mostly known as a songwriter for the bands Narda, Us-2 Evil-0 and Patience Dear Juggernaut, the director behind the films San Lazaro and Overtime, and an actor in the TV series Rakista. He is also the co-host of the podcast The Telebabad Tapes. A lover of the horror genre, he has written and illustrated for the horror books Tales For A Rainy Season and PICOF's Darkness Anthology.
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