Carrying on the fight for truth: What students can do this summer

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales is, as usual, insulting our collective intelligence when he says that “the worst is over” while other apologists and spin doctors of the administration are so happy because students are leaving school for summer.

There’s a kernel of truth about their statements, simply because students won’t be as easily mobilized for demonstrations at this time of the year. But that doesn’t mean that they will also be leaving behind their convictions and beliefs. I am sure the activist groups and the broad coalition Youth Act Now! are prepping the young people for a socially-committed summer this 2008.

Which is why I am posting this entry that outlines what youth and student organizations, barkadas ang individuals can do to maximize summer for patriotic and progressive ends. Below are my suggestions:

1. Make and/or wear political t-shirts and pins  especially when going to resorts, tournaments and other events to remind people of our own unfinished business. There are plenty of people selling shirts that say “moderate their greed”, “bubukol po”, “Secc, may 200 ka dito”. Wear them with pride.

2. Transform summer events into protest events. For example, beach volleyball tournaments. Instead of using a simple beach volleyball, why not ask artists to paint it with the face of the President or the First Gentleman? I am sure that will add more fun and vigor to your serves.

3. This Holy Week, offer masses for truth. This can be done, with the help of bishops and priests outside the Diocese of Malacanang. Perhaps the last masses to be said this week (Holy Thursday, I think), may be offered by young people for truth and accountability.

4. Use and pass on protest ringtones, videos and emails.

5. Bring your favorite rally photos with you. I’m sure many of you joined the Ayala rallies last Feb. 15 and 29, and the Liwasang Bonifacio rally last March 14. Show off the pictures to your friends and family in the provinces and tell them they should have their own rallies too in their places.

6. Go to immersion and integration activities. Church-based, activist groups and even some socially-conscientious corporations have these summer-time events where anyone will have a chance to live with the urban poor, farmers and workers. It is such an antidote to apathy and indifference, and opens our eyes to social realities we rarely see and which the government wishes us to forget. Better than a volunteer program, immersions and integrations make us one with our poor people, allow us to share our knowledge and skills with them, and give us a chance to learn from their daily struggles to live.

7. Compose and forward anti-GMA text messages.

8. Organize events like essay-writing, poster-making, song-writing and even beauty contests, as well as clean-up drives, revolving around the themes “truth and accountability”, “clean and good governance”, “youth as the nation’s hope”, and “changing society for the better”.

9. Join national youth and student organizations. You may be a student council officer, or a campus journalist, or a simple/ordinary student who just wishes to take an active part in nation-building. I am sure there are plenty of organizations that you may choose from: the broad Youth Act Now! alliance; the National Union of Students of the Philippines; the College Editors Guild of the Philippines; the League of Filipino Students; Student Christian Movement; and Anakbayan. There’s also the Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan or Karatula. Get in touch with them and join their summer activities.

10. Prepare, yes, prepare for the next big rally and ensure you’re part of it. Because your non-attendance and non-participation in the next rallies is what Arroyo is counting on. She and her cabal want you to forget. They want you to be selfish, self-centered and feel nothing about community and nation. Keep updated and the moment the next rally is announced, reserve the date and ask you friends and family to do the same.

11. Go start a blog. Establish your presence in cyberspace by starting your own blog. Blog about the things you do, the sights you see and your dreams for country. Express your hopes and frustrations, your favorites and pet peeves. Be your own favorite opinion columnist but be sure to champion the Pinoy youth’s great tradition of serving our country and people.  (Tip: Easy and absolutely free to start a blog at wordpress.com and blogger.com or go to Bloggers Kapihan for help.)

Indeed, summer offers the young people a good opportunity to fan out to all parts of the country, to bring the message of change to people who long to hear them, and to do great things.

The mafia government will only succeed if students and young people will spend their summer in a very anti-social and apathetic way.

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