Wayfinding and Celebrating the Power of the People

Wayfinding — it’s seeing where you are going in your mind; 
 Knowing where you are, by knowing where you’ve been
– Maui,in the movie Moana

Around four years ago, I was able to encounter the philosopher Paul Ricoeur through a reading that talked about narratives — the need to continuously remember and re-tell one’s personal narrative. It was a comforting end to my PH 101 journey.

Imagine an angsty student, troubled by his personal problems, concerns, and woes, and appalled by the state of the country’s politics and development (I just newly shifted into the development studies program where my eyes were opened to the depth of the social realities in the Philippines). I often went through class with a heavy heart, depressed at my own weaknesses and shortcomings in life, and often thinking I was inadequate in the things that I did.

I remember that one class, towards the end of the semester, where my professor told us to be kinder to ourselves — to not beat ourselves up for the mistakes that we make but instead, to embrace these events and accept them as part of one’s own personal narrative.

We take comfort in the fact that we are unfinished products, a culmination of experiences and life events, and that we are still on our way to become who we are meant to be. When we look back and try to connect these events in our lives as if through a thread, where meanings are constructed and reconstructed, we form a personal narrative. When one views life as a narrative, it begins to makes sense.

In knowing what we’ve gone through, we know better how we got to where we are, and hopefully in knowing that, we would have a better idea of what to do in moving forward.

When we drown in the midst of today, it is always a good idea to step back and understand what we went through, to make sense of everything, and in making sense, we discern the ways we move forward. I believe that is the value of commemorating the People Power Revolution on February 25 and that is why instead of “quietening down” the celebration, we should make it louder, and get more people to be part of the narrative.

Critics of the People Power commemoration tell people to “move on” but we say no. It’s not about moving on. It is never about moving on, but about remembering and acknowledging the past, that which is part of our collective history as a nation.

We commemorate February 25 to remind ourselves of the narrative of our country’s development — how in the midst of building our democracy, we lost it to a dictator who deceptively orchestrated the declaration of Martial law and centralized all power to himself and his cronies.

We commemorate February 25 to remind ourselves of the many lives that were lost during the dictatorship, of the countless and nameless heroes who fought, and the painful path we had to walk before reaching freedom.

We commemorate February 25 to remind ourselves of how the people rose in courage, when we said no more to the abuses and corruption, when we marched outside to dream of a better future for ourselves, our families and our nation and how we successfully toppled down a dictatorship in a non-violent way.

We commemorate February 25, to remind ourselves of the promises of the People Power revolution — the promise of freedom, of genuine democracy and ensuring greater inclusion of the people and of social justice and ensuring a more equal society.

We commemorate February 25, to remind ourselves of the struggles of rebuilding Philippine society and our democracy, and in humility, acknowledge our shortcomings in achieving the promises even after 31 years.

We commemorate February 25, to remind ourselves, that there is much to be done and we hold on to the spirit, essence and promises of the people power revolution.

As long as the promises have not been fulfilled, we are challenged to continue moving forward. This is the essence of the People Power Revolution for a young millennial like me.

So in solidarity with everyone who holds dear the spirit and essence of the people power revolution,

Let’s go out and remember,
Let’s go out and celebrate,
Let’s go out and believe.

*This in my small way will hopefully encourage more people to go out on the streets on February 25 to join the mobilization at the People Power Monument, 4pm onwards. I encourage you also to join the mass organized at La Salle Greenhills from 1.30 pm onwards. I would have loved to join the celebrations at the PPM but I won’t be around. We are in solidarity with everyone, all the way from here in Zamboanga City :)

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