The irony of freedom

Reflections on the EDSA revolution and the ramifications of victory, thirty years later
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Photo courtesy of Philippine Daily Inquirer / BOY CABRIDO
Photo courtesy of Philippine Daily Inquirer / BOY CABRIDO

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It’s the sad irony of freedom that those who enjoy it have the full right to spit on it.

If it was within my power, I would happily resurrect Marcos, give him an entire country, and place there anyone and everyone who wants to be ruled by him — on the condition that they can’t leave.

Not even when they realize they should have been more careful of what they wished for.

Because that’s what dictatorship is.

You don’t get to say, “I’ve had enough now; I’d like to opt out.”

You don’t get to say, “I’d like the laws to be enforced but not THAT way.”

You don’t get to say, “You can’t punish that person — he’s innocent!”

You don’t get to say, “Wait a minute, this is getting out of hand.”

You don’t even get to say, “What are you talking about? I have the RIGHT to decide what I get to say.”

No, you DON’T have the right. In a dictatorship, you shut your mouth, keep your head down, and pray to the high heavens that the persons you entrusted with absolute power are not abusing it. And if you notice they are? You still have to shut your mouth and keep your head down — unless you want to join the steadily growing number of people who are taken in the dead of night and not talked about in the light of day.

I am honestly SICK of all the people who talk about the Marcos days like they were some kind of Golden Age of Philippine history.

The fact that you and your family did not personally suffer the atrocities of Macoy and his ass-kissers does not give you the right to deny, belittle, or whitewash the kidnapping, torture, rape, and murder of so many of your own countrymen.

The fact that the Philippines has many problems at present does not give you the right to say to Filipinos who suffered in the past: “I do not believe you.”

The fact that you don’t like the current president does not give you the right to question the heroism of his parents, of Lorenzo Tañada, of Joker Arroyo, of the elderly men who linked arms against the government’s water cannons and tear gas, of the COMELEC tabulators who walked out to protest the cheating in the snap elections, of the young nuns who stood in the front lines of the revolution armed only with flowers and rosaries, of the thousands who decided — those fateful few days in 1986 — that they have had enough of the repression and human rights abuses and were going to do something about it.

You know what DOES give you that right? Freedom. The freedom fought for by the very people whose legacy you are pissing on.

For better or worse, you have that right, and if I could, I would give you what you wish for — a Marcos-style dictatorship — if only to get you out of your YouTube-propaganda-paid-website-induced stupor.

But I can’t. I can only grit my teeth and declare, in the vein of Voltaire: “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Even if you damn well don’t deserve it.



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