The People Power Revolution of 1986 is one of the most enduring myths of the Filipino people. Though it is not mythic in how it happened, it is mythic in how it is retold.
Fact, it did happen. I was three years old at that time. Many have died in the years that led to it, and the death of Ninoy in ’83 led democracy down its ultimate fate. But I was too young to be neither of consequence to the revolution nor of the revolution to be of consequence to me.
Rather, it would take another four years before the Philippine government would enter my consciousness. 1990. During the Cory years I remember how the kudetas blocked the roads between our home in Paranaque and my grandmother’s house in Vito Cruz. And then there were brownouts. You’re not an 80’s kid if you didn’t have those rechargeable lamps at home, and got used to having no electricity for most school evenings.
Therefore, my first notion of Philippine politics is that it is a failure. And yet, the story of 1986, continually told and retold, instills in me a belief that things could get better. That things will. However, it is an ideal that only becomes loftier as the post-EDSA generations move farther away from ’86. Soon, it will be no stranger than 1898.
Nonetheless, in this Age of Obama, no moment is too far off. In our nation’s collective memories we can find hope and inspiration. All we need to do is channel the spirit of our own moment and recall those who have gone before us. Our generation may not be able to own EDSA as those who have stood there twenty-three years ago can easily do. And yet, it is through our search for inspiration that their stories live on.
Here are some older, related posts:
- The Science of People Power: Lessons from Arabia
- Truth and Consequences: The High Price of People Power
- Battle of the Righteous: People Power in an Age of Ambiguity
- An Unending Revolution? Some thoughts on teaching Philippine history for the 21st century