Because I was there  

Posted by Laya in

Sometimes I think of myself as one of the Epigoni. The After-Born, as they were called, were the children of the Seven Against Thebes, the seven Greek chieftains who marched against the City of Thebes to help Oedipus' son Polyneices regain his right to the throne. The people of Thebes had, after all, decided that he and his brother Eteocles would rule Thebes in alternate years after their father died, but Eteocles wanted to rule alone and kicked his brother out. To make the long story short, the seven marched against Thebes and waged a long war, but ultimately lost. Their sons were called the After-Born because they were considered to be born too late to participate in their fathers' deeds of glory.

I sometimes feel that like them, I was born too late to be part of anything worthwhile. I wasn't at Ninoy's funeral in 1983 nor at EDSA in 1986. Events after EDSA are well, anti-climactic, and most of them fizzed out anyway. Nothing had quite as much or as lasting an effect as that first People Power.

Yet I go to rallies, anyway, as much as I am able. Not so much to say that I was there, or to feel that I was part of something greater than I was, but to give my small contribution to a group effort. I want to add my small voice to make a greater voice that could be heard, much as I am doing by writing this blog. I want to be part of a movement that could change things for the better. Of course, I do not go to just any rally; I only lend my voice to something that I myself believe in. Otherwise I would just be a voice without a message.

I went to pay my last respects to Cory Aquino at La Salle Greenhills not because I wanted to be a part of a historic event, not because I wanted to say I was there, but because I wanted to bid my last farewell to a woman I had always looked up to, not so much because she was President but because she was one of the staunchest defenders of democracy, because she was a model of integrity, a virtue that is now all but nonexistent in this country with her passing. Were I not needed at work, I would have been one of those lining the roads as her funeral procession passed. Were I not needed at work tomorrow, I would be one of those following her remains to Manila Memorial Park.

I could very well sit at home and plurk or tweet inanities and idiotic comments, or troll forums to stir people up, or play games, or go out and indulge in shallow flirtations and wonder about nothing more than how many men might be interested in me or whether my new dress was the top of fashion, as I have given up watching Wowowee because green jokes and inane contests and commentaries bore me. But that is not what I want to do with my life. As Cory herself once said, it is better to die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life. A long time ago, when I was still a believer, I always hoped that when I died, when I was asked whether I had done anything good in my life, I would be able to give an answer. An answer that my life now would reflect.

After all, the Epigoni were Epigoni only in name. The rest of their story goes on to say that when they grew up they stormed Thebes and succeeded where their fathers failed. Maybe, so too can we succeed in doing the things our forebears have not done. But only if we go out and do something.

So yes, in all the events I have been to, I was there not because someone had told me to, not because I wanted to be part of something great happening. I was there because I hoped that something great would succeed in happening because I was there.

This entry was posted at Tuesday, August 04, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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