The 31st anniversary of EDSA 1986 was marked — the government didn’t exactly celebrate it — with both chaos and indifference. The disorder was evident in the differences in the various groups’ and even the government’s separate and conflicting activities to observe it. Apathy was the usual response of much of the populace to an event whose significance has continued to elude them in the same way that they can’t tell what happened in much of Philippine history, thanks to what we laughingly call the educational system.
DESPITE its failure to deliver on its promises, some Filipinos still hail the 1986 EDSA uprising as a model of how peacefully change can be achieved.
The shift in Thailand from military rule to democracy in 1992, and the fall from power of Indonesia’s Suharto in 1998, for example, were supposedly among the political upheavals the event inspired. Changes in other parts of Asia and in Eastern Europe have similarly been credited to the demonstration effect of Philippine People Power, or EDSA 1986.
THE claim that the world needs the US to oust dictators and promote democracy has never been quite accurate, or even honest. George W. Bush maintained that both were his administration’s goals in Iraq, but never once mentioned that Iraqi oil reserves were at that time estimated at 112 billion barrels, but could be as much as 350 billion barrels. If promoting democracy in Iraq meant re-opening its oil resources to Western oil companies, the US did promote democracy — and Chevron’s interests — there.
As for ousting dictators, numerous countries had done that long before it occurred to Bush Jr. and his predecessors that the US has the divine right to make the world safe for US corporate interests. The Haitians ousted Francois Duvalier in 1971; Indonesia’s Suharto, in power for 32 years, was ousted in 1998 — and the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown by the EDSA mutiny in 1986.