In 2014, Angela and I were asked to write an essay each for the anthology Remembering / Rethinking EDSA (Anvil Publishing, 2015). We have since published those two essays as a zine for #BLTX, and to celebrate the EDSA Revolution of 1986 this year, we’re posting our essays in parts on our blogs, to commemorate the four days of EDSA, now on its 31st Anniversary. Her blog is at stuartsantiago.com. :)
When I was invited to write a piece for this anthology, my first reaction was: are you guys sure?
I was only half-kidding. On the one hand, what of an anthology that has both Angela and me in its pages, when we might represent the most anti-social of writers who consciously and consistently refuse the trappings of the literary and academic establishment. On the other, EDSA 1986 was always my mother’s thing, which is to say it is her life’s work, the kind of work that few would know like the back of their hands, and then like the lines on their palms.
One of many things that have always been clear to me is that there is not much I can write that my mother hasn’t written before. And I say that with nary a touch of insecurity, as it is just a matter of grounding: where do I stand separate from where she does?
And on EDSA 1986, I stand very clearly where she does, though it did take a while for me to reconcile what she believed in with what my life in the academe was telling me about EDSA. It took a while because it took forever for me to become disillusioned with the academe – including the activism that was there, the historiography, the literary establishment – and it was only when I had liberated myself that it became clear what EDSA 1986 meant.
Freedom is far from simple. And living it up with a sense of what EDSA 1986 stood for? That is more difficult than we care to admit. ***