COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
Ten years after the transition from dictatorship to democracy, we still expect things to be done to us. We even expect the Edsa Revolt to automatically change our lives anew.
For a trying decade now, each year has been a constant battle whether the spirit of Edsa has remained alive or not. For a trying decade now, each year has been a constant battle whether the spirit of freedom and democracy is here or not.
There is no spirit in Edsa. There is no spirit in freedom and democracy. There is only the spirit of the Filipino people which made the Edsa Revolt possible in order for freedom and democracy to be attainable.
When we chose not to continue living under Marcos, we chose not to continue living under those symbols he represented – of tyranny, of dictatorship, of a police state, of a highly centralized power in government.
We clamored for freedom and democracy so freedom and democracy we must learn to live with. It means charting our destiny as a nation and not let those people in government lead us to perdition. It means taking responsibility of our lives and for us not to wait for “trickle down effects” that do not materialize. It simply means thinking for ourselves and not let the government does all the thinking that all we have to do is bow and toe the line. Democracy still means of the people, for the people, and by the people.
Edsa taught us power. It revealed to us that we can redirect our course through People Power. But it did not tell us to relinquish that power after the revolt. Since we decided for freedom and democracy, we need to uphold that power in the exercise of independence and social responsibility built within these ideals. While under tyranny and dictatorship, we merely depended on our erstwhile rulers to direct our lives as a people and our destiny as a nation.
Edsa paved the way for renewal; not of tyrants but of slaves. It paved the way for the restoration of a people’s sense of identity, pride, and humanity. It paved the way for our own healing the wounds of trampled human rights and human dignity.
Edsa is not a reference point, where each step we take towards renewal we refer to it to check if we are on the right path towards freedom and democracy. If Edsa symbolizes anything, it symbolizes a dot on a previous statement in our history.
For Edsa did not represent freedom and democracy. It merely signaled an end to an authoritarian rule. And if the Filipino people choose to remain in a state of dependency even after that rule, then Edsa only serve as an interval for another form of authoritarianism that can prevail.
Indeed, Edsa is not an end to be contested, for it happened not by way of planning, cunning, or might. It simply manifested as the triumph of the spirit of a people that refuses to die.