Thursday, August 6, 2009

Apropos Activism

apropos Activism

1986 seems a long time ago but some memories run deep. Till then, I never thought of myself as an activist. Maybe it's the Jesuit education I was getting at uni at the time (Liberation Theology). Maybe it's the risk-taking behaviour of teens. Maybe the cause was right - People Power at EDSA.

Personal reasons varied but as wikipedia mentions, 1-3 million people were there. As part of the uni contingent, I went and stayed for hours, even at night, handing out food to the masses - pizzas, burgers, and sardines. Lots. Between midnight and dawn was the hardest - surely there were less than a million there and, peaceful or not, there was a sense that death was not unlikely or improbable; I still remember who I was with and snippets of conversations. During the day, however, fighter planes looked awesome not ominous. Later reports revealed, of course, that these planes were just a word away from firing at everyone. These memories were recently stirred by the death of Cory Aquino. She was a housewife turned activist, as a matter of consequence (her husband Ninoy was assassinated and people rallied behind her) and choice (she chose to be the beacon of hope, a head figure of the masses).

What turns a passive bystander to an activist? Everyone has his/her own reason. Ultimately, one cannot act and not be moved or changed.

This singular event in my life has highlighted a very personal reality - a very strong aversion against apathy. I am not a "tree-hugger" and probably never will be but I respect these people who make a peaceful stand (for the most part. I know there are 'altercations').

Not everything is worth fighting for but when it is, one must.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Malyn, I remember we were taking up Theology of Liberation ( I was in Fr. Balchand's class). You stayed in the dorm, right? I was with my family at QC, and we were in Channel 4 (now ABS-CBN, near our house). It didn't seem scary at first because of the festive atmosphere. But when someone informed us that a tanker was headed to Channel 4, it became more serious. But my mother and my older sisters were there -- and no one seemed scared to rush back home. My dad was at home together with my sister who just gave birth (her baby is now 22 years old). Both really wanted to be there with us -- but we had an infant to take care of.

    I wished I was less apathetic then -- and seeing some of our batchmates then still continuing the fight, I salute them.

    Here's to Tita Cory!