Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Postscripts To A Fiesta

Revelers we were. 

We have gathered at the Luneta to be seen and heard; to show our numbers, and with one voice howl to the heavens how our hard-earned cash in the form of taxes go to waste. Our hearts were full of angst; our eyes, with disgust. Yet, that overcast Monday morning we were in awe. Nobody thought the Million People March would have real people - in large numbers - sashaying in the streets.

I went there not to raise my fist and shake it in the air. Instead, I would like to look around and spot celebrities who would be coming to the event. There was Gang Badoy, whose group perched a First Aid tent beside the Museo Pambata. Dong Abay of Yano showed up to pay a visit to the Rock Ed educator. At the muddy grounds where humanity converged, I shook hands with the Inquirer columnist Randy David. I would have searched for other luminaries like Conrado De Quiros and Juana Change, but they were nowhere to be found.

Not within my vicinity.

There was no dominant voice at the Grandstand. The Left marched in, gave a thousand and one litanies about the sins of the government, and left to storm the Malacanang. Not a single moderate soul was swayed by the fiery speeches. Meanwhile, the moneyed ones held picnics and outdoor breakfasts; the kids took selfies and posted them on Instagram; and the rest came and left like curiousers queuing to see sideshows. The social progressives and religious had their separate activities. One was doing a signature drive to scrap Pork Barrel. The other was praying the rosary. Another group was shedding off fats by doing Zumba, while Rizalistas occupied a patch of soft earth and exhorted the national hero's undying virtues.

To be there felt like going to a funfair, where bizarre and amusing attractions compete for attention. Artists sang, walked around in their porcine costumes, did poetry reading beside colorful effigies. Ambulant vendors sold food and souvenirs, while park attendants roamed to pick garbage, which on that march did not even touch the ground. Hare Krishna devotees wandered while chanting prayers, a group of slender, Muslim women held placards condemning the misuse of the PDAF, and away from the crowd, law enforcers sat by the curb. Some policemen huddled at the middle of the boulevard while eager passersby stopped and posed for pictures with them.

I would like to believe that the Million People March was a spontaneous gathering, snowballed into a national event that was recognized and respected even by the highest leaders of the government. It wasn't meant to topple order, alter the social fabric or bring down the administration, but to push for reform, and remind those in power of their accountability to the public. It was also a testament to the power of social media, and that netizens don't only retweet or share memes, people actually are capable of going out in the streets - to demand change. For this reason, I went home assured that I did the nation a favor, and the scandal, despite being buried under heaps of other issues would still be in the headlines a month after the Heroes' Day protest took place.

And now that another rally is in the works - dubbed "Edsa Tayo" by its conveners - I don't think it will have the same sparkle of the Luneta march. Gone are the diversity and creativity seen at the Grandstand, and so are the social advocate leaders who urged the public to join. Those behind "Edsa" simply don't have the appeal and the goodwill, and with their dubious intentions persistently questioned even by those who lead the Left, I am most certain only few will show up.

Not even me would come.


Geosef Garcia said...

Thank you for your informative take on what occurred during the Million People March. I was looking for an accurate and complete description of this event, but to no avail. I was wondering for weeks now. I wasn't able to attend because I decided to spend the long weekend in the province.

Is 'EDSA Tayo' the one on September 11?

JM said...


You're welcome. A disclaimer: I've seen what my eyes have seen. Nothing more. Hehe.

Yup. tomorrow is Edsa tayo, and I always fart every time I think of the people who invite others to join.

Geosef Garcia said...

*hahaha!* Well, that stinks for sure!

I heard EDSA Tayo has a hidden agenda. It is orchestrated by ABS-CBN and the Aquino family for God knows what reason. Yun ang kumakalat sa iba't ibang social media.

JM said...

One of my favorite Columnist, Conrado de Quiros has an interesting take on the Edsa Tayo event:


Geosef Garcia said...

Thanks JM! :)