The Inquirer and Independence Day
The front page of today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer Inquirer is first off-putting, then poignant.
It’s a startling thing to see, especially first thing in the morning with sleep clouding both eyes and judgment. It made me tilt my head and pick it up. It rained heavily in the wee hours of the morning, and the paper absorbed some of the humidity; it felt slightly most, and thus, eerily authentic.
It’s an anachronistic front page with headlines from all over Philippine history.
Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero, was shot dead in Bagumbayan Field on December 30 1896, for his rave exposition of the ills of the Spanish Clergy through his novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.
The Bataan Death March, a week-long 65-mile march in April 1942, saw at least 20,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war dead due to starvation, illness, and murder.
Antonio Luna, Eduardo de Lete, and Marcelo H. del Pilar, members of the Propaganda movement.
The brave soldiers of the Katipunan — Andres Bonifacio’s comrades in protecting our identity.
THE MARTYR. Former Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr., dictator Marcos’ political archrival, lies in a cruciform at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport after he was killed on August 21, 1983. His assassination sparked an explosion of sustained outrage culminating in the 4-day EDSA People Power Revolt in February 1986 that restored freedom to the Filipinos.
I’ve probably seen this iconic image hundreds of times, but takes special meaning for me today. Hello to the people of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation and the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Center for Leadership who gave me an amazing weekend to remember forever. I’ll write about that some other time.
The People, The Heroes. Without firing a single shot, the EDSA I People Power Revolt dismantled the Marcos dictatorship and became a model to people everywhere yearning to be free. Nelson Mandela, no less, said so.
My nitpicking over the way certain lines are phrased aside, this is an excellent commemoration. I’m going to put this aside, I’m actually really impressed with it. Good job, Inquirer! It’s artistically and effectively rendered, inspiring a suspension of disbelief. It’s a good and unavoidable reminder of the bloodshed that built this nation.
With so many people willing to die for the country, you’d think there’d be as many people willing to live for it too.
That famous Ninoy Aquino quote goes, “The Filipino is worth dying for.” Does that still apply to the Filipinos of today? I mean, am I still worth dying for? Man, I don’t know. All I know is that someone died for freedom; the task to make the most of it is now left to me.