Monday, February 23, 2009

TO DEFY: Recalling EDSA People Power I

I’ve spent the last night cranking my brain to finish that automation system program exercise yet it seemed always expected that I should find my own excuses for doing something else (hehe). And so I left it staring ominously on my monitor and immersed myself against to a collection of short stories.

And so finally I’ve got the chance to pour over that ‘Defying Gravity’ story that caught my attention as I poked through the book during our physical chemistry class (yeah, it was more comfortable to read stuff in an air-conditioned room that to sip in my mind those weird diagrams for solution, liquid, vapors, etc, etc, etc, hehe) simply because it recalled physics to my mind.

The story is about the coming of age of a certain girl named Lucy and how her stay with a famed writer named Maxine hastened her maturity towards things she thought she was completely ignorant of. For me, the story proceeded as a quest for her to understand why it took 17 years before Maxine was able to write about what she saw on her visit to some of gas chambers, ovens, and concentrating camps in Europe. Lucy struggled with this question but her talks with Maxine gave light to the reasons behind it.

Maxine reasoned that there were “no words for it”. But she proceeded anyway and she saw it as one of the ways how life distracts you. Yet Lucy still failed to see how it fitted to the seeming cold-heartedness of Maxine as she narrated some of the notes she gathered from those who survived the Holocaust.
But Maxine is bound to have surgery soon and so Lucy was promptly discharged from her job as her secretary but not before receiving the bunch of notebooks containing the notes of Maxine’s visit to Europe. On her way home, Lucy finally realizes the peculiar attitude of Maxine about her work and her experience –

“…without the benefit of wine, understood that counting up the horrors was both participation and protest.”

Maxine participated in sharing the horrors and yet her work served as the protest at the same time for those heinous acts, however gross her rendition might have been in her book.//

This gave me platform to talk about the commemoration of the first (relatively?) peaceful revolution in the country more than twenty years ago and witnessed from all over the world – the EDSA People Power Revolution. I have always dreaded the coming of abstraction (in the context of Camus’ definition of the word) on such occasions but am nevertheless calmed by the fact that many of us still understand the spirit of the event.
I do not want to look like a hypocrite but I believe I fairly I understand the events leading to the now-revered historical event. The point to be made here is that, like in the story, we are bound to keep the spirit of EDSA Revolution alive (this sounds quit off-mark but I hope you get I what I mean, chance reader) as it is important for the next generation to fully understand the relevance of that ‘bloodless’ revolution.
Talking about it, writing about it, discussing subjects related to it are some of the forms by which we could participate in keeping it alive. And by these acts also we show our protest to the underlying reasons for the revolution, the events of which most of us would not want to experience again (the Martial Law of course).
It would not be relegated to shame if I talk about the tale that my father and his friends were allegedly paid by some people here in our city just to join the rallying people at EDSA back in the ’86. It would not be relegated to hypocrisy if we, the children of the post-EDSA revolution, would talk of the contrasting life we have now to the kind of life lived by those who found themselves under the martial rule. These, I believe, are important in their own respect as they expand our learning of the consequences of the EDSA Revolution, far beyond those which are recorded monotonously in our history books.

Recall the EDSA Revolution back in ’86…

(Tss, whatever. High lang ulet, hehe.)

Quotations from Carol K. Howell, “Defying Gravity” in American Fiction Volume 7: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers, New Rivers Press, 1995.

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