When I was a kid, I was among the many admirers of Ninoy. I voraciously his written works and published articles about him. I even collected the Mr. and Ms. special editions that devoted precious print space for the coverage of the investigations that followed his murder.
What I liked about Ninoy Aquino was his ultimate personal sacrifice.
By walking into the lion’s den, he showed the entire world that Filipinos are a respectable people who would stand up to a dictatorship and would even offer their lives for freedom and democracy. He set aside personal comfort when he rejected offers of plum positions and some peace and quiet if and when he would embrace the dictatorship. He taught us to look back at our history and rediscover the pantheon of heroes and martyrs, and urged us in no small way to follow their fine example.
Ninoy and the many other heroes and martyrs provide us a beacon light amid a status quo specializing in lies and deception. If we only look back at the sacrifices of our forebears and everyone who struggled before us, we would be more than aware, we would be pushed by our conscience to continue their unfinished business.
It is truly sad that many think that the sacrifices of Ninoy and our other heroes and martyrs were all in vain. But we should be critical as to where this pessimistic idea is coming from — where else but Malacanang and the bastions of reaction. These malignant anti-change forces and institutions berate the memories of Ninoy and our revolutionary past and wrongfully pin on them the blame for sad situation we all face today.
Our heroes and martyrs fought and died for freedom, democracy and all good things. They wanted to have an authentic democratic and free government that will provide our people the opportunities to maximize our self-worth as individuals and as a people. They fought to the death for the defeat of malevolent forces such as liars, corrupt public officials, plunderers, foreign oppressors, those who poison our minds with colonial and defeatist ideas, those who equate peace with the silence of the murdered and disappeared dissenters, those who brand activists as terrorists as if that would legitimize their mass murder.
Today, we face the challenge of removing Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who, like Marcos, stole the elections, plundered the coffers, presided over syndicates and sold our national interests in the altar of alien gods. While already caught red-handed stealing the people’s sovereign will, this president has made it a point to lie and to lie repeatedly, in what should be viewed as a continuing crime that should be stopped.
We owe it to Ninoy and our other heroes and martyrs to oust Arroyo and institute meaningful changes and radical reforms for the benefit of the democratic majority.
More importantly, we owe it to ourselves, our nation and our future to whom our pantheon of greats offered their lives.