Today (more like yesterday, given the time difference) in the Philippines, it is the 20th anniversary of the ousting of dictator Ferdinand Marcos by the EDSA People Power Revolution. Sadly, the celebration has been marred, not only by the attempts at a military coup, not only by the draconian measures taken by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to quell dissent and rebellion, and not only by Cory Aquino’s own alliances with forces very like those she helped to displace in 1986; but by the simple fact that EDSA has shown itself wasted. The democratic institutions it established have failed, the people it freed are still beset by poverty and ignorance, and the process repeats itself again and again every time this failure manifests itself in the form of the nation’s own poor leadership.
This is not a new opinion for me; the seeds of it formed even while I watched Gloria sworn in at the EDSA shrine, and I realized, while violence raged in the streets three months later, that the common Filipino’s liberation at EDSA had not resulted in the common Filipino’s liberation from himself.
Ah, but that’s the cynical reality of life and politics for you, in the Philippines and just about anywhere else in the world.
More links and commentary:
- Philippine Daily Inquirer: “It reinforces public perception that the Arroyo administration is prepared to sacrifice democratic principles on the altar of political survival.”
- From Time Asia: People Power, 20 years later, and a Time reporter witnesses the coup conspirators.
- EDSA Mo Mukha Mo.
- Salamangkiero has commentary on People Power and the shedding of blood, Cory Aquino’s shameful political stance, and the invasion of the Tribune. (As for the Tribune, I believe in a free press, and they should not be padlocked, yet at the same time I cannot help but feel some “BEH BUTI NGA” schadenfraude at seeing this blatant pro-Erap/Marcos organ reap the consequences of its spite.)
- Sassy Lawyer and UnLawyer on the “State of National Emergency,” which, with the arrests and media clampdowns, looks more like a thinly veiled declaration of martial law.
- MLQ3: “Bastusan na.” (He does invoke Godwin towards the end, though.) Update: Also see Pro, Anti, Indifferent.
- Jove Francisco covers the State of Emergency.
- PCIJ reports that ex-President Ramos calls the declaration “overkill.” Ramos was himself one of the key rebel leaders of the original EDSA.