24 February 2011

At A Crossroad

I am now in between worlds. It is Thursday dawn in Manila as I type while it is Wednesday morning in another city where my friend Trick stays. We are both discussing our EDSA. Yes, ours. While Trick opted to travel and join the diaspora of Filipinos spreading out their wings and situating themselves into strange lands and cultures, I opted to stay put, wander sometimes, but always longed and returned home.

EDSA was people power. That long drawn out mass protest that people never knew could be possible and has been replicated in other cities in other countries. It was a collective sigh that suddenly surged into a collective voice that found its presence among people long tired of embracing apathy. That was 25 years ago.

Today we see traces of people power from EDSA babies (Filipinos born during the 1986 uprising), now living abroad, now experiencing a different people power revolt in another country, scared from the bombings and confused about the language and the culture of anger, the lootings (suddenly, they saw madness of the locals barging into their barracks and stealing their clothes and their possessions!) With no travel documents, no food, and nothing but their bodies, they plotted their escape. Their families back home, their wives, their parents, all joining forces, raining down on government offices and the media for help. That technological wonder of their mobile phone their only link to their survival.

In Manila, people are thick with preparations for the 25th celebration of People Power In Manila. EDSA will be closed to traffic. My brother Jojo, an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker), a term some professional expats like him view with disdain, is now home on a break. His daughter is graduating from school plus there are birthday celebrations (his, mine and his other daughter), and other reunions to keep him busy. Trick laughed when I told him I have not seen Jojo yet. We begged off Jojo's weekend invitations. Somehow, it does not seem easy to just schedule trips when you have senior members although they are still active and able. But Jojo is home regularly. (He was home last July and again in October!) And among my siblings, we have long understood and respected each other that whatever misgivings there are, our bond is solid.

But what is EDSA really? Was it just an event to topple the Marcos dictatorship? I heard Marcos son say recently that if EDSA did not happen the Philippines should be rich by now. Well, if EDSA did not happen, the Philippines will be just a Marcos paradise, hiding the squalor, the corruption and greed that still run rampant but now people can talk about it without the danger of being imprisoned.

EDSA is peaceful people power. It is the realization that if individuals pool their resources together, great things can change and great things can happen. When communities work together, they can build homes, schools, health centers, livelihood centers, etc. When people harness their power together, they build better communities that make a good country.

The EDSA spirit is there. It is a reality. And it goes beyond 25 years. One need only to look at history to read about peaceful uprisings or look into your own backyard for those spurts of action that created peaceful change for the better.

What is your EDSA story?
Do you have an experience where you found your way out of apathy, stood your ground, and found that what you thought would be a disaster was resolved in a peaceful manner? And what brought this on?

I share this post with Self Sagacity's Thursday Two Questions and Black and White Wednesday.


Lui said...

And my own answers to my own Qs:

I had lots of EDSA stories. From my work and advocacies in art, nature, animals, I always encounter difficult and dangerous situations that somehow were able to resolve itself in a peaceful manner and with great results!

And the secret: I prayed for guidance. In anything I always surrender my will and found a better and more peaceful ways to settle and resolve issues.

Nessa said...

I came to look at your photos... and can't stop reading.

Chic Homeschool Mama said...

Really enjoyed your post! I love the perspective on your photos!

Patricia said...

Wow, you are very good at writing and your photos are very eye catching. Stunning! Thank you for the comment! So glad I came across your blog.

Cathy Kennedy said...

Honestly, I can't say I've every experience true apathy in my life. One of the blessings of living in America is I've been sheltered from having to deal with this, but I do see a growing sense of apathy in our people. They tend to be less passionate about our forefather's design to create and maintain a free society giving way little by little to socialization. They choose to wear blinders instead of facing facts.

With this sort of apathy, I stand firm on my belief we must rely on ourselves to make our way in life and not the government. We should not be stretching ourselves thin as a nation trying to bail out greedy, corrupt corporations and we should not appoint liberal politicans who only serve themselves instead of the people who elected them to office. Apathy can be squashed before it settles in, if we keep our vigil as freedom loving people.

Visit my blog to play my Thursday 2Q!

~Cathy Kennedy, Children's Author
The Tale of Ole Green Eyes

SquirrelQueen said...

Your photos are breathtaking.

I remember when Marcos was driven from office and I think it was a very good thing. If he had stayed in office he would have been richer but your country would have been poorer.

♥-Icy BC-♥ said...

I enjoy reading this post, and your photos very much.

Politics and dictatorship exist everywhere. We can't really change anything unless the people themselves stand up for their belief.

DoanLegacy said...

I don't have any EDSA story to share, and have not experience my way out of apathy! Things seem to turn the other way for me!

Self Sagacity said...

Thanks for being the feature blogger, and sharing about yourself on SS this week.
I am pretty sure I have experienced some in my life time. :-) There was one situation where time was the answer, everything worked out in the end because of the waits in between. It's one of those situations when god showed his miracles.

JamericanSpice said...

It was interesting reading your story about you and your people.

I am like Cathy, even though I did not grow up in the US, I can see the truth in what she says.

I would have to think hard on my stories.

I hope you enjoy a good weekend.