History, as they say, is written by the victors.
Thirty-one years ago, Filipinos gathered on a street called EDSA to protect a couple of coup plotters and their men from the then president of the Republic of the Philippines and his army. They came in response to a call from the then Archbishop of Manila called Cardinal Sin if you can believe it. The rest as they say is history.
Of course, things could have been very different. The order to attack could have been given. An itchy finger could have sparked a firefight. The armored personnel carriers could have breached the thin hollowblock walls of Camp Aguinaldo, and helicopters could have fired upon the people gathered in the streets. Instead, a thin line of rosaries and flowers held back an unstoppable force. Believe what you will but that street is called Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (epifany of the saints) and it was a moment you can describe as a modern day miracle. You can say it was a moment touched by God.
That moment was not about a dead former senator, or his widow. It was not about their family against another. It was about a dictator and his ouster from power. The revolution itself was unintended. It all started with a coup d’etat that never got off, for intentions we will never know. Then the power of the people took over, and the dictator left or was taken out of the country. Make no mistake, the revolution succeeded. The dictator was gone.
After the victory, when the euphoria has been spent, we realize that we have changed little from where we were 31 years ago and ask, has God abandoned us? The truth is that while God can help us along the way, much of getting where we want to go depends on the decisions we make in every single moment of every single day.
Fast forward to 2017 and, horror of horrors, we find that the wheel has turned 360-degrees. Sitting as president is one who identifies closely with the former president ousted from power 31 years ago. The dictator has been buried in a place for men of honor and honored men. Blood runs in the streets. Policemen are abusing their power, and the government’s critics are being hunted. If history is written by the victors, then the victor in the last presidential election has decided to turn things on its head and rewrite history. There’s anger in the streets, and celebrating the victory that was the EDSA Revolution has taken on a new importance. It has become an inspiration.
True, there is a new victor in the seat of power but history is continuously being written, and if the people persists in the struggle, then perhaps victory can once again be achieved. However the struggle ends, history itself will roll on. What will be written, however, is largely up to us…