Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ninoy: the Man and the Myth

It is undeniable the he is the man – the man, so to speak, during the dark days of the martial law regime. As for the myth, well, it is something that is personal in nature.

For an event, I believe, tends to be obscured by its distance from the present, along with all the mixture of news and stories about it, rendering that event as a hazy object in the mind. I do not know how many of the post-EDSA I children could genuinely relate to the fight that Ninoy waged during martial rule. But I do wish to “de-myth-tize” myself from the clouds that the years have put on the man that was Ninoy.

He was a fighter, not just a man who passes his day pensively on our 500-peso bills. It was a big chunk of history that he made which landed him on one of our local bills. He fought against an appointed leader stretching his power beyond its limits through his strategic position as a public servant. He was a fearless speaker who thought it best to inform the public of the dark activities going on behind the seemingly tranquil walls of Malacañang. For that he paid the ultimate price for such a dangerous, yet praiseworthy endeavor… – his life.

It seems familiar; these heroic acts (recall Rizal et al). But let us note, we post-EDSA I children in particular, that this is at least the closest point that we have in encountering a hero in his own rights. And so this should not be the case for “de-myth-tization” after all. The magnitude of his work to stand face to face with an enemy hungry for power cannot possibly leave us out of its illuminating power. In fact we are in the midst of a time that we cannot possibly miss out the true man that was Ninoy. It is up to us to inform ourselves of how well he stood for the Filipinos being trampled upon during the martial rule and how to continue that stand, to fight for the Filipinos, no matter how ungrateful and passive they are today.

We should not get discouraged by the lack of enthusiasm of many Filipinos to tackle the problems facing us as a nation everyday. For action should not depend solely on outside events. It has ‘choice’ as its fuel. For Ninoy, it was the choice to stand for the Constitution and laws that put him in the battlefields. And risk his life in the end. But of course we all know that all his works have not been in vain.

Now in the face of a government who prefers to consume exorbitant dinners while the Filipinos suffer from hunger each day, we cannot afford to let Ninoy be just a myth. We take him as fuel and inspiration. There is nothing silly and corny about getting inspiration. We take our place from where he and his wife Cory left off. Because for as long as there are beggars on the streets, garbage scavengers, unrest in Mindanao, outstanding foreign debts, prostitution, drugs, graft and corruption, among other, we cannot possibly leave our posts as vigilant citizens. We cannot afford to lose our identity to these present leaders who dare insult the Filipinos right in the face. And it’s not just about the issues of freedom and identity. I believe that there was more that Ninoy could have fought for. But he is gone and we are not. And thus we go make our respective moves to contribute in making the country livable.
Let us remember the brutal murder of Ninoy this August 21 and renew our resolve to be more real Filipinos in the present.

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