From EDSA to EDCA: Are We Correctly Valuing the Lessons of History?
- Aileen S.P. Baviera
Catharsis. Emotional release, relief, venting. Purging, purification, cleansing. Renewal. The Filipino drama.
February 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the so-called EDSA Revolution, the overthrow of the authoritarian rule of Ferdinand Marcos. He was president from 1965 until 1986, altogether 21 years. Before Marcos, 21 years would have meant five presidents governing. After Marcos, it would have meant three and a half presidents, except that Gloria Arroyo had all the luck, and Erap Estrada none.
Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister for 22 years. Lee Kwan Yew had 31 years; Suharto as well, 31. This year, Hun Sen of Cambodia will beat the record and become the longest serving leader in our part of the world, save for the imperial dynasties perhaps. Even Mao Zedong only had about 27 years to shape “new China”.
So of course, good things happened during those 21 years under Marcos. But horrible things happened in the last 14 of those years, since the imposition of Martial Law in 1972. So horrible that the Filipino people decided 30 years ago that they had had enough. The numbers of insurgents and secessionist movements had swelled. There were so many excesses and abuses that even elements of the military and the elite turned against the regime. Therefore, EDSA. Therefore, catharsis.