Time has once again paid tribute to Cory and the Filipino people with their 17 August 2009 special issue. I doubt if there is any Filipino who would still be dry–eyed after reading through the three articles in this "Special Report," who would not feel blessed by the character and acts of this "Saint of Democracy," who would not acknowledge the positive influence religion can effect on our society even with all the sectarianism and hypocrisy we see in both Catholicism and Protestantism (including those who claim to be "non/undenominational"), who would not hope for better things to come for our country despite all the signs of desperation around us, and who would not make a recommitment to the fine qualities of a Filipino.
In 1986, a housewife from the Philippines whose given name meant "heart" have lifeblood to her wounded nation. The only weapon she possessed was moral courage. But with it she discovered a groundbreaking truth: that a populace holding nothing more than candles and rosary beads could face a cavalcade of tanks, topple a dictator, and most improbable of all, usher in democracy....
Within a few years of People Power in the Philippines, it was hard to keep up with all the peaceful uprisings that were sweeping aside authoritarian regimes across the globe: Solidarity in Poland, the Velvet REvolution in Czechoslovakia, the anti–apartheid movement in South AFrica, the end of dictatorships in South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan. Even the extinguished idealism or student protesteres in Tianenmen or the monks in Burma drew succor from the example of a certain Filipino homemakers's bravery –– a woman who herself almost inadvertently assumed the mantle of Mohandas Gandhi after the assassination of her political–dissident husband in 198. "Cory Aquino's struggle for and success at fortifying constitutional democracy in the Philippines," says Anwar Ibrahim, the Malaysian opposition leader, "was one of the signal battles in the last quarer of the 20th century."
Today, the surge of political change during that momentous era, from Eastern Europe to Eastern Asia, seems like an inevitability. Back then, it felt like an impossiblity. No one was more surprised than the bespectacled widon who admitted that she didn't even like politics and might just as easily have ended up spending her days pruning her beloved bonsai. Nevertheless, in 1986 Aquino made People Power –– and People Power made the world we now inhabit a freer place... to a planet conditioned by colonialism or Confucianism or tyranny to think that the people's obligation is to followk not lead, Aquino's inspiration was truly transformative.
♥ Hannah Beech, "The Saint of Democracy," Time 174 (August 2009) 6: 14.
The arc of Corazon Aquino's life lent itself to maxims, but two hard–nosed ones seem particularly worth pionting out. First, political sainthood is a gift from heaven with a Cinderella deadline –– once past midnight, you are a pumpkin. Second, personal virtues are never a guarantee of effective or successful governance. What was truly shocking about Aquino's tumultuous six–year term as President of the PHilippines was that shoe maxims proved untrue. Midnight always threatened Aquino was never struck; and she was a good woman whose goodness alone, at the very end, was what proved enough, if only by an iota, to save her country.
♥ Howard Chua–Eoan, "A Miracle Worker in a Plain Yellow Dress," TIME 174 (August 2009) 6: 16.
The improbable became the impossible. Marcos' tanks rolled toward the crowds, only to be stopped by nuns kneeling in their path, saying the rosary. Old women went up to gun–toting marines and disarmed them with motherly hugs. Little girls offered their flowers to hardened combat veterans. In the face of such quiet heroism, thousands of Marcos loyalists defected; many simply broke down in tears.
♥ TIME, 05Jan1987, quoted in Eoan, 19.
On Feb. 22, 1986, Enrile resigned from the government and announced that he was joining the opposition forces. Early in the morning of Feb. 24, a crowd of Marcos supporters armed with batons and tear gas moved toward Camp Crame, where the reformers were gathered. Over transistor radios, Marcos was heard vowing "We'll wipe them out. It is obvious they are committing a rebellion." And over Radio Veritas came Enrile's reply: "I am not going to surrender."
♥ Sandra Burton, Johanna McGreary and William Stewart, "'I Am Not Going to Surrender,'" TIME 174 (August 2009) 6: 20–21.