SABBATICAL NOTES. 15 JULY 2014. TUESDAY. N1.
Do not tie a yellow ribbon.
Do not tie a yellow ribbon.
THE PROMISE OF redemption had its text in an encrypted line of a song that many people burdened with the weight of the conjugal dictatorship understood, the same people who had some sense of what was happening in the Philippines during the dark days of Martial Law that promised nothing but greatness in that slogan called 'New Society.'
That was, of course, a New Society for the oligarch, for the plutocrats.
By the end of those 'days of disquiet' and 'nights of rage' (to borrow from Pete Lacaba), many understood what was hidden beneath those words, the song with its baritone of regret and bossa nova beat resembling the pleadings of fly-by-night missionaries converting us to become God's children, the drama of the Holy Spirit coming down upon us happening in theatres, public plazas, street corners, buses, and jeepneys.
The fly-by-night missioners were better believers than us, their voice certain and confident of the coming of the redeemer, their singing and shouting rising above what we can sing and shout.
There is veiled vainglory in their repetition of 'Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!'
And then, of course, was the response of the herd who could not think why the oppressor has become like him, one who looks like him, one whose skin color is the same as his.
The soldiers stopped soldiering for the people: they soldiered for their big bosses, the presently imprisoned Enrile included.
That was a resistance song, this 'So tie a yellow ribbon down the old oak tree, if you still want me...'
And we would sing this, in rallies and in other clandestine gatherings, in public places and in private ones, the private ones tucked away from the intelligence gathering power of the new graduates of the Philippine Military Academy.
And even if my dean at that time, Dr Carmen Kanapi (the sister of a Kanapi general from Cagayan), echoing my rector's admonition, Father Norberto Castillo, yes, the Dominican from that same town where the First Lady came from) forbade us from joining the 'resistance' at the EDSA, we went there nevertheless.
We marched with a number of activists, some of them naturalized Filipino Dominicans the likes of Father Fausto Gomez (formerly a Spaniard) and former rector Father Frederik Fermin (a former Dutch citizen and an ambassador).
So tie a yellow ribbon, said the father who would be assassinated at the tarmac, and we did not have any other options except to tie yellow ribbons.
At his death in 1983, we thought salvation would come. I am referring to Ninoy.
But five presidents after, we still have the same problems as before, and our life has not changed a bit.
At a dialogue in Malacañan to follow the script of a PR agency tasked to make the president smelling like Lysol again, the president of PMAP asked: What do you want us to do to help you?
P-Noy replied: “Perhaps wearing our yellow ribbons, amongst other things, just to demonstrate exactly in a quick manner where the sentiments of our people lie.”
Do not tie yellow ribbons so this president will come to know that his presidency is in the abyss of uselessness and that he has not served his 'bosses' and that the only thing he has done so far is flatter the poor, flatter the miserable, flatter the wretched.
His request is void of historical reference, has no allusion to anything grand, has no connection to the dream of freedom of the peoples of the Philippines.
That ribbon will only mean saving his own thick Aquino skin.