Exposing the Lie: The Battle for a Nation's Soul

by Joshua Santiago
Guerilla Information Network
29 April 2001

It is said that there is only one way to expose a lie: to tell the truth. The truth is more difficult to tell though because it is sometimes painful and may promise even further pain. But the difference is this: the pain that the truth inflicts leads to healing and freedom.

We now have "EDSA III". And whether we like it or not, those who were at EDSA I and II cannot claim ownership over the term "taombayan." That is the first truth we must tell. So much anger and insult has been dealt our less privileged countrymen by those who feel that they own or deserve exclusive rights to the title. Simply being born in this beautiful albeit misguided country gives you all the rights to claim that title.

Lie number two: Erap is the "bad guy", those standing against him are the "good guys". The taxi driver I interviewed this morning was furious when he said that if Erap was arrested, why wasn't Singson? Often we love to stereotype: the oppresive biyena the kotong cops, and the api hero who eventually comes out victorious. We fail to realize that there were bad guys even among us in EDSA II who were nothing more than opportunists and publicity hungry trapos. Not all of them mind you, but unless we acknowledge that the line is not simply "them" and "us", we will never get past this successfully. The overlooked truth: we are ALL Filipinos.

Lie number three: He who has more in life also has more in law, more say in history, and consequently, more importance than others. To say that these people in EDSA III are idiots and unschooled and gangsters and squatters means that we look down not only on their views... but on them as well. If their opinions are uninformed, if their sense of right and wrong is somewhat askew, then we all must owe up to the fault for letting them stay that way. Unless we acknowledge that the poor have been neglected for the longest time, unless we acknowledge that the poor have been lied to, stolen from, and used and abused by the very people who claim to have fought for them in EDSA II --u s, we will stay divided. One side indignant of the justice of their cause, the other adamant their champion is about to be martyred. The truth: we have failed the poor and this we must humbly acknowledge and rectify immediately.

These are the lies we "heroes" of EDSA I and EDSA II might be telling ourselves. We must face the truth. Then and only then will we be able to lead others to the truth as well. Once a genuine concern for the less privileged are expressed, then maybe we can start talking to each other. When a true spirit of nationhood, of compassion, of helping each other out is displayed, then maybe we can start listening to each other. Then, after working out our differences and saying sorry to each other, maybe, just maybe, we won't even have to talk about Erap anymore. [end]

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