Thursday, February 25, 2010

Historia-Coma


No amount of opinions written for the reading public can satisfactorily fill in for the almost-perennial issue of how much of the EDSA People Power of 1986 sprit is still alive today. And noises made by angry youth voices in protest and cannot fully answer the questions of why the present administration seems to ignore, in every possible way they can, the commemoration of what could be one of the most important events in our recent history.

The Philippines does not lack the mechanisms to make the Filipinos every year aware of the historical events that need commemoration and recollection. It’s such that the people themselves undergo their own “historia-coma”, embracing lame excuses as work and multitude of activities in skipping to remember, even mentioning historical evens, at least in passing.

Of course I am entrenched right now in the realm of pessimism. For having immersed myself is the past few months in digging in Philippine history from the late 50’s up to the EDSA Revolution of ’86, I cannot help but have this feeling of regret for two reasons. One, because so much of what is being taught in the basic education (and I am talking of what I have experienced as a student) cannot fitfully serve as strong foundations for giving the students a context to hold-on regarding the nation’s history. Yes, lame, and certainly inadequate. Do we have to wait until the kids of the present generation reach young adult age to understand the beginnings of the communist insurgency in the country and the constellation reasons for declaring martial law and the dark times that went with it? Practically, we cannot really earn money just by knowing something about history. But man, how can you call yourself fit and healthy when, despite having money in your pockets, you know nothing about our local history? It’s the same with being a gastador – a spendthrift – for we have not invested out time very well.

For the second point of regret: that personally I am lagging behind in terms of the understanding of our history. I do not, in any way, disown my stay as an applied physics students; it has taught me so many things that I cannot imagine to learn anywhere else. But that excitement upon seeing the connections about this certain published historical event to the other moves me into digging more on them. In a way, I am self-publicizing on the possibility that some institution or organization can sponsor a budding history buff like me to pursue a history-related degree. But what’s this rant all about anyway?

EDSA, of course.

For it is so easy to say that ‘yeah, we join the people in celebrating EDSA I’. It’s like a birthday party. Practically anyone can go there, join in the celebration, eat the food there, but not really understand the reason for the celebration.

If we are to just spend every February 22-25 in passive acknowledgement of the EDSA People Power, we would only be breeding a later generation of ignorant children, totally uninterested in the details of its own country’s past.

Malalim ang pinag-ugatan ng EDSA I; ang pagkakapaslang kay Ninoy ay isa lamang malaking paggising sa mga Pilipino na tuluyan nang nawalan ng kumpyansa sa rehimeng naghahari noon, rehimeng may kaniya ring malalalim na mga aspeto at katangian sa pagtatakbo ng bansa. At marami pang bagay tayong malalaman, mga kaganapang mas maaga pa sa Agosto 21, 1983 na malaki ang maitutulong para bigyang larawan ang mga nangyari bago at habang nakababa ang batas militar sa Pilipinas.

I do not say that we spend our lives in seclusion in the libraries. Books are one of course, for they have the almost permanent status of detailing to us the part of history that we want to understand.

Next to it, I believe in discussions, discussions with people of older generation, of the same generation, to whom we could share our thoughts, insights, and experiences, and gain in return their own thoughts, insights, and experiences. With this, I believe, we could nourish our arsenal of Philippine history knowledge. It’s sad to say that I really long to have those discussions with people. Crippled temporarily by present activities I have to finish, I wish to see myself touring the country in search of people to talk with, be it with tribe people sharing their myths and legends, to the elders about their World War II experiences.

In the end, dear chance reader, do forgive me for having this form of thoughts. Do not take this as arrogance or anything. I only wish to stir the minds of those who would chance to read this and perhaps plant in them that germ of conviction to participate actively in cultivating a vibrant history-oriented attitude among the Filipinos.

[This entry appears also at ‘Back Trails’, pransisempilipinas.blogspot.com]

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