Friday, August 07, 2009


By now, everyone should have watched or read Conrado de Quiros' beautiful elegy for Cory, and if you haven't, go read it here. His column the next day went into further detail about his conversation with Cory at his mother's wake, and is just as good a read.

But I finally found his column from last November, I guess even before he and Cory became friends. It was just after the election of Obama, and he wrote:

Can we produce our own Obama?

Well, I do not share the pessimism of those who say none of the “presidential aspirants,” remotely carries the spark. That is looking at the wrong place. We did have a Cory Aquino long before the US had an Obama, and she did not come from the ranks of the “presidential aspirants,” or “Ferdinand Marcos’ successors” as they were called then. She came from far afield, “an ordinary housewife,” as Marcos derisively called her, a “walang alam” [ignoramus] in contrast to his being a man of experience, just as McCain tried to belittle Obama as someone without experience. Well, having no experience in wreaking evil, or being party to it, is the best qualification there is in a situation like that. Cory became the symbol of someone who quested for justice, who longed for an end to the oppression. Just like all of us. “Hindi siya nag-iisa.” [She was not alone.]

I don’t know that we can have another Obama or Cory. I do not discount the possibility; darkness has a way of compelling light by the sheer need for it, though as Obama, Cory and “Lord of the Rings” show, light has a way of coming from the most unlikely places. Abominations are not ended by kings and elves and wizards, they are ended by lowly Hobbits, who are least impervious to the temptations of power.

In any case, “Obama” doesn’t have to take the form of one particular face or person. It can always be an idea. The only thing to thank people like George W and Gloria for, if you can thank them for anything, is that they make you want change, even so radical a change as driving you back to your fundamental roots or condition as a human being. If Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has done us a service, it is to show us a tyranny that can make us shout, “Never again!” and truly mean it. It is to make us crave the kind of “radical reforms” Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and several other bishops were calling for last week, the kind that “conquers complacency, cynicism and apathy.” It is to make us see the face of utter evil and rediscover the need for unrelenting good.

Darkness does make light bright.



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