Let us paint the homeland in another light: the haven of a hydra.
Ancient literature tells us of a terrifying multi-headed-monster, its body that of a serpent. Its mother was a half-maiden, half-serpent; its father has 100 heads. By the law of biological inheritance, the hydra is pure terror.
The hydra, the many versions of the story tell us, has between five and 100 heads. Some say that the hydra has nine heads and one of them could not be harmed by any of the better weapons known at the time of the ancient people. If one warrior would be able to cut one head, another or two would grow on its place—and thus the hydra would become more powerful, ravaging the communities and cattle, and the people and their faith in themselves and their ability to totally destroy it.
With the beso-beso season of the political elites inaugurated after the constant flagging of the presidency has died down a bit, the hydra is reborn, resurrected, reinvigorated. It is dancing time again—and the time of the fiesta that knows no end, the fiesta of thieves and hustlers and opportunists.
With the opposition not being able to present its case with credibility because of its character flaws, their kind of social play and gaming cannot give a kick. Its argument has lost steam and the praise releases from the regime and the balimbings have begun to sing alleluia to the kings and queens and princelings of the monarchic and medieval country.
In pun, Erap Estrada the deposed president has been said of snubbing the fresh call to reconciliation by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
In an interview, he even said that the sitting president would not last, that she would go the way of Marcos and him—driven out of the Palace by the dirty Pasig, Marcos on a chartered plane to Hawaii, and him on a boat to somewhere else.
The former president said that President Arroyo would be driven away from the Palace as well but this time she would go on a stroller—not on a chartered plane, not on a boat to escape the wrath of the angry mob by the Mendiola or the enclave’s narrow streets and alleyways.
So the President Arroyo is extending her hand to reach out to all her opponents.
If this act is to cauterize the chopped head of the hydra wreaking havoc on our life as a people, this is what we need to drive that hydra away from this land, pulverize it and mix it with all the typhoons that lose their destructive force on the waters surrounding the islands.
It this act is to finally cut that head of the hydra that cannot be harmed and, like Heracles, club it until it is crushed, then that is going to spell salvation to our people and to our homeland.
But when reconciliation is meant to appease the forces of evil that can afford to author destabilization and other political plots to wrest power as if these questionable acts were a screenplay to be acted on by B-class actors of heroes and pretenders, then the hydra will not die, not yet, but it will live long enough still to torment us—all of us, people in the country and people who have chosen exile as an honorable, less courageous option.
The only real and genuine reconciliation that is meant to finish off the residency of the hydra in the country’s swamplands in the corridors of power is to go to the bottom of things, crush that core problem, diagnose the disease, and say the final, definitive word—one that is sacred because it is meant for healing, one that is sanctified because it is meant for the ultimate act of redeeming the land and our people: social justice.
Social justice demands that the institutions of social life are to be arranged such that the basic demands for a full life are met: land and liberty—and food and freedom. Include here the need to account the excesses of politicians and infantile leaders—the meting of punishment for abuse of power.
For the hydra feeds on social injustice—and the hydra is none other but the people who are supposed to be our rulers, protectors, leaders.
If reconciliation does not ground itself on social justice, then, the homeland continues to be the haven of the hydra and it will continue to torment us yet in the years to come.
Inquirer, Aug 26/05