Philippine People Power: A Cautionary Tale and Lessons for the Ages

Homage to Mad Men - MarcosImage by smallislander via FlickrLike Ambrose Bierce says “God alone knows the future, but only an historian can alter the past.” Historians or whoever is left in power. 

Today, the Philippines celebrated the 25th anniversary of its People Power revolution which toppled Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.  The son of the woman in a yellow dress who is now President of the Philippines, in news account reportedly said that it was interesting to note that the celebration of 25 years of People Power in the country “coincides with the wave of democracy now sweeping parts of the Arab world.” 

“Even by just watching on TV, the emotion in Egypt and Tunisia was so palpable that it brought back memories of our own experience in 1986. While ours was less violent, the similarities between EDSA and Tahrir Square are uncanny,” President Noynoy Aquino said.

In the aftermath of the People Power in the Philippines, Corazon Aquino faced seven coup attempts. The Philippines with a population currently estimated at 92 million continues to be mired in poverty and corruption and afflicted with brain drain.  The Marcoses – well, much reviled in the 1980’s, are now slowly coming back to power. Former First Lady Imelda Marcos won in the 2010 election and succeeded her son as a Member of the House of Representatives of the Philippine. Her son, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., now a Senator and daughter Imee were both previously elected to the same house seat. Imee Marcos is now a Governor. It is conceivable that even if Gaddafi leaves Libya, one of his sons will come back to power one day. The more things changed, the more they stay the same.  

It seems to be that the Philippine lessons for the ages are:  democracy is messy, change is slow, the voting public has a short memory, and there is always a second chance unless you die first.        

Via Al Jazeera: