By MARY LOU O. MARIGZA
Here is my take on the events the past months: The youth provided the driving force and warm bodies to topple dictators and despots from Tunisia to Egypt and are still at the forefront in the political tsunami that is encompassing the Middle East. The young people used all means available at their command to flood the streets in their numbers, encourage others to civil disobedience, prod the women to leave the comforts of home to spark the flames of the battles and manufactured the weapons to be used against the machines of the state however crude and single-shots these weapons proved against the technology of the police and army instruments.
Who would have thought that these young people who have been so enamored with their cellphones, computers and the apps they provided would use these same gadgets to call to arms their compatriots? Who would have thought YouTube, Twitter and cyberspace would be the “tambuli” of their revolutions? Who would have thought they could force the issue and create political upheavals in countries awash with oil and propped by imperialists’ business greed? Who would have dreamed they would rage against the regimes as one magazine called it?
These young people have known no other ruler than those they toppled. These young people have known no other government than the repressive and coercive ones they overthrew. These young people were given no hope and no security while their rulers lived in ostentatious filthy display of ill-gotten wealth. These young people saw their dire poverty and lack of employment while their rulers amassed mansions, jewelry and expensive cars then raged and stormed the centers of power. It did not matter to them that they faced the full force of the military might of the autocrats, they have awakened and are ready to make their stand.
Egypt has a history of fervent nationalism. It was this nationalism that propelled it to be a power-broker in the Middle East years earlier which was also fueled by the idealism of their young leaders. It is this nationalism that propelled their youth to rise up and overthrow the usurper of nationalism, Husni Mubarak.
It is Les Miserables over and over again. “Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people, Who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart, Echoes the beating of the drums, There is a life about to start, When tomorrow comes! Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me? Beyond the barricade, Is there a world you long to see? Then join in the fight, That will give you the right to be free!”
Even here at home, our experiences with political upheavals were fueled by the youth. The heroic Filipino-Spanish war was led by our youthful heroes and martyrs. Wasn’t our own General Gregorio del Pilar a 24-year old “veteran” of battles? Wasn’t Macario Sakay, a bearded young man who defied American domination? The Filipino-American war was fueled by young generals and soldiers and young Muslims who valiantly made sacrifices to regain freedom. The First Quarter Storm of the ‘70s was a youth revolt joined by the urban poor and labor. The historic Diliman Commune pitted the idealist activists of UP and other university students against the METROCOM of Marcos. They might have been defeated in this battle but they eventually won the war when most of these activists joined the People Power to topple the Marcos dictatorship later.
The prisons of Marcos were filled with young people, student leaders and organizers, labor union members, women activists. The victims of Marcos’ death squads were largely young people. Those who remain missing to this date are men and women who were at the prime of their life when they were abducted.
Again and again, the young people joined the working class, the urban poor, the marginalized, the women and the Filipino masses in the overthrow of despots and instituting political change. These young people are continuing the tradition of their heroes, to fight for justice, freedom and democracy even at the cost of their own future and life.
In these days of the Great Recession and economic uncertainty, it will be the youth who will take on the burden of the next decade. The crunching crisis their parents are experiencing will be their cross to take and hopefully take it with the optimism and hope that started their revolutions and change their lot for the better.
If their elders are so corrupt and have held on to power like it was theirs for life, we have hopes our young people will rise up, make their stand and hold these lamentable elders accountable. Sadly our generation has failed to provide them with models they could emulate. Horror of horrors, they have heard investigation after investigation of corruption, and not one was convicted and jailed and made to pay for their rapacity. Sadly, these rulers have even returned to new positions claiming the country had been prosperous during their watch. What a sorrowful state we have bequethed to them. We sorely need raging against the machines of greed and corporate interests.
I have every hope in our youth. # nordis.net