Egyptians gathered for thirty (?) days to overthrow their President, Mubarak. And it worked. Mubarak resigned the Presidency, and jubilation swept the country. Their first taste of People Power. What they did in 30 days, we did in about 3.
We also tasted that Power in 1986. I was only 11 years old then. I remember going to EDSA, wearing yellow and having a fun time. I didn’t really appreciate the Power then, but it did change all our lives. It gave us freedom. And gave us a sense of unity among all Filipinos. It made everyone feel better, and know that there was a better future ahead.
That was in 1986. And since then, People Power became an addiction. We did it again in 2001. And, unofficially, again after that.But somehow, the freedom, unity, and better future were all just buzz words. It wasn’t the same as 1986 anymore. We just used the term “People Power” to unseat Presidents. It lost all the idealism behind it.
So, Egypt, celebrate. But don’t lose sight of what you fought for. Don’t forget. Don’t compromise your idealism, and the fire of the people who went out into the streets. You fought for freedom, now continue the fight for change. We, in the Philippines, had our chance in 1986. We fought for freedom, and we got it. But somehow we decided we didn’t want to fight for change. And so now our country is still mired in corruption, graft, lying, stealing, and everything else we accept to be “standard operating procedures”.
People Power to us, is a Holiday. But it should have been so much more. Maybe one day, the “spirit of EDSA” – the Epiphany of all the Saints – will inspire to go out again. And hopefully, we will be able to follow the example of Egypt.