Today, I woke up with the same horribly ugly feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had since yesterday, one of the darkest hours in Philippine history. I can’t shake it off – the disbelief, disgust, disappointment, despair. I can’t close my eyes and go about the day’s necessities silent. Even if I’m in another country where I can easily sweep it under the rug, forget and let it be, I cannot. We fought for democracy as a people. We stumbled through the years after and continued to put questionable people in power as if we could not, could never learn our lesson, as if each election trapped us in a comic time loop.
The Supreme Court decision hurts the core of our being. I am not speaking for all but I speak for many. There are some who can go about their lives because it doesn’t matter that we have rewritten history. They may have their own reasons and should be respected even though I cannot understand how healing and moving on can start with an abominable act. I cannot expect one person to undo damage with a damaged mind but I expected more from nine people to see the light. It’s still too much to expect. Should we have rallied at each of their doorsteps begging for justice that belonged not to one person but to an entire population?
Some weeks ago, I was trying to organize a seminar on democratic education together with my Chinese friend. The plan came after attending the Asia Pacific Democratic Education Conference in Taiwan where after meeting like-minded people who have dedicated their lives to self-directed learning, my friends and I were encouraged to set up a school someday in the future. However, if we were to promote this sort of education in the Philippines, it was wiser not to use the word democratic. The word “democracy” is a corrupted term associated with meaningless politics and our debauched form of governance so the word does not connote the sense of empowerment that it should. Across the ocean where my partner in this dream comes from, in mainland China, democracy is also a tricky word that can’t be used casually as it raises alarm bells among the sensitive. What’s in a word anyway if a rose by any name is still a rose. We decided to go around semantics and use the much clearer, apolitical and neutral term, self-directed.
Yesterday further proves the futility and hollowness of the D word.
Where do we go from here as a country? We are honoring a man, his family, his name with a burial alongside heroes. We have already allowed the return of his family to power. We almost voted his son to the second highest position in the land so we might as well bury the father as promised by a president who obviously values personal ties over anything. Right? There are no words to describe how trampled people feel but images of vomiting would suffice.
Listing the crimes, offenses, names of people killed, loot plundered does not seem enough to raise an eyebrow nowadays for some people. Maybe there are those who have become immune to the litany of abuses because many others come and continue to rape the country and its coffers. Maybe because there are people who rise against the wrong who are mired deep in the dark side themselves. I am desperately trying to understand where the silent are coming from. I am trying to grapple with how this could have happened.
Not all, but many weep.
I want to understand how you cannot weep for this.