I was hoping that by now we have learned to divorce the narrative of the EDSA Revolution from the cult of the Aquinos. But I was wrong. Challenging certain personalities’ “saintly attributes” apparently equates to being pro-Marcos, or that we must only subscribe to a specific groupthink or get criticized by attacking the “Spirit of EDSA” – as if the concept of democracy itself is monopolized by a few personalities in history.
Ironic, because that kind of logic is the same propaganda that Marcosian rule brought to the Philippines for several decades: it’s either we subscribe to a single political narrative or get shunned. And while the days of being killed out of your own political convictions isn’t so widespread as before, it begs me to think if the kind of political conditions we have now is any better – that we are ostracized by dominating discourses if we do not toe the line of what ruling classes want us to believe. Maybe this is the “dictatorship in democracy” that Slavoj Zizek talked about with reference to dominating liberal ideologies.
It’s difficult for us “who weren’t there” to appreciate EDSA, simply because that what we’ve been taught for 30 years looks more like a dogmatic mass than actual history. Let’s just forget the fact that Cory’s administration suffered human rights abuses comparable to that of the Marcos administration. Let’s ignore the prevailing oligarchic rule that took over after EDSA to continue the oppressive systems we experience today. Let’s be thankful this, let’s be thankful that ad infinitum.
Yes, I’m thankful that we have greater political freedoms than what we had 30 years ago. But that doesn’t mean we’re no longer allowed to hear the truths of EDSA that, many of which challenge the dominating narrative that is forced upon us every 25th of February. Because the real spirit of EDSA – and that of inclusive democracy – is having the freedom to challenge these dominating discourses. It’s self-contradictory to say that the story of EDSA “is not over” then suddenly impose limits to this story.
That being said, if we want to celebrate the real story of EDSA, here’s where we can start. Let’s go beyond saying never again to Martial Law. Never again to the ghosts of Marcosian rule that try to inch inside our current politics. Never again to a rule of an oligarchy or political dynasties. Never again to poverty. Never again to the political abuses committed by all past administrations, including those that came after Marcos.
When we allow these kinds of narratives to take place in our conversations every time we celebrate EDSA, maybe our current generation would start appreciating what transpired 30 years ago.