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Friday, February 17, 2006

EDSA

EDSA is a long stretch of pavement that happens to be the main artery of Metro Manila. Metro Manila for the uninitiated is an association of seventeen cities that include Manila, Quezon City, Makati among others.

EDSA is a line that separates two armed camps--- one that is headquarters of the national police and the other, headquarters of the armed forces of the philippines.

EDSA was where people gathered in 1986 to remove a sitting president who history remembers as a dictator. some say it was through divine intervention, some say because of the combination of military and civilian camps. irregardless what one believes, a revolution happened those days in 1986 and changed the Philippines.

EDSA is far different today than it was all those years ago. less traffic lights, and more flyovers. Yet, EDSA in spite of it being an imporant piece of road is filled with potholes and broken stretches.

Perhaps EDSA represents the state of the Philippines.

these days, people remember that EDSA in 1986. An EDSA where a middle class filled with hopes and promises joined a coup attempt and revolted. And here we are today. Revolutions have a way of destroying themselves and their initiators. And after twenty years, people left and right are asking where was that promise of a better tomorrow?

I was 7 the day EDSA happened. It was the saturday after my birthday and my parents threw a party for me at our house in Quezon City that day as General Ramos and Secretary Enrile started to lock themselves up in Camp Aguinaldo. My mother would fondly recall years later that relatives and friends where puzzled as to what was happening as they headed home, passing through EDSA. I remember jokingly that the planes flying in the sky where for me, that people in the streets were out to celebrate. what foolish things we imagine at age seven. While in University I took time out to read about EDSA and how that day happened. What forced Enrile and Ramos, who were by those books' accounting, ready to die that day.

History is also best remembered by the victors may be because the victorious tell the stories of how they won the day. The defeated rarely if ever get their chance. I don't remember Marcos was he good, was he bad. I don't know anything about the attrocities I've only experienced reading books about that time in this country's history, only because it was required reading in school and I happily have forgotten them. I do know that my parents where able to buy our house much quicker because the Peso was weaker than the dollar at that time in 1983 and my father, a doctor was abroad. I do know that my family's fortunes rose far quicker because the economy here was doing badly.

My father once told me that life is like a wheel--- sometimes you're up and sometimes you're at the bottom. My grandfather and grandmother were well off but after they died, my father and his siblings had a tough time going through life. They worked hard, studied hard. They slaved and raised their fortunes.

What has this got to do with EDSA?

People dream of accomplishing many things in life. They want the best for their children, good education, a roof to live in, financial security. Its the same if you're an American, a European, a Chinese, brown, white, black, yellow or however you want to color people. we all pay bills. we also know of rags to riches stories and they happen all the time.

Things were going for people, we were happy--- lights blazed in Makati during Christmas time as opposed to recent Christmas Then here we are, the bad times. When we look back at the numbers, our population has bloated, and the number of people in poverty is high. We ask where was EDSA and its promise of a future?

Life is like a wheel, my father said. i look at his life, i look at the lives of many people who struggle everyday. when you're down, you also never stop struggling. when you're up, you never stop struggling for what you want.

EDSA may be a promise of a better future, but life doesn't have a magic fair dust that sweeps away all the bad things and just makes things better. life is messy. as much as we want everyone to have a place to eat, a place to live, a place to be educated, its also a struggle in an ever changing, dynamic world. life is messy. our people are tired of struggling. they need hope, they need a spark of inspiration to pick themselves up and move on.

democracy is like life, its not perfect. its messy. what better example than Hitler, who came to power from a democracy and killed all those Jews and made hell on Earth? democracy like life, you perfect it everyday, even when it can never be perfected.

hope dies when you give up, like life, like democracy. yet it is an eternal spring when you will it to come, it comes from deep inside and grows stronger with every heavy, painful step forward.

EDSA was a shot across the bow and a symbol of how people can want for something. it lives as long as people struggle to make life better for themselves, working hard in our own way. EDSA is hope that we can be a self-made people.

It is everyday we find Opportunity and more so to transcend who we are in a time of darkness. We just need to struggle.

The ideal of those days of EDSA applies today, tomorrow, if we want it. EDSA is about People wanting a better world and they struggled for it. What happened? like a runner in a long distance race, strength is nearly gone but find that core deep within one's self and catch that second wind. Every age, has something special. 20 years of EDSA may be gone yet its lessons and ideal are still there because it is timeless. Our people can find the greatest treasure is still yet to be mined, if we struggle for it.

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