Sunday, August 2, 2009

One for the ages

Corazon Aquino, the widow who toppled a dictator, became the first woman president of the Philippines, and eventually restored democracy, has died. The nation mourns her demise.

So much has been said about her that this blog entry is but a speck in a blogosphere teeming with paeans in her honor. And no one should be surprised, for hers was a life well lived, a life that has been shared with many nameless and faceless people who saw in her what goodness and integrity can and should do for the republic.

Cory may not be the holiest of saints. Nor may she be the best leader the Philippines would ever get. She never claimed so anyway. Cory Aquino understood well the part she had to play in the history of this country, a part that many people would readily assume if only to have the fame and fortune that goes with it. And she took on the challenge in the same way she would cede her post years later: unassumingly, quietly, without any pomp and pageantry. In a country whose citizens usually equate "government service" with "celebrity," in a country where everyone hogs the limelight in each action he does, in a country where all people want to be stars, what Cory did was an act of heroism in itself. She knew that everything will soon end and thus it is best to end it on a high note.

We now look back to what she did with pride and thanksgiving.

True, Cory Aquino may not have moved mountains, but she gave later generations of Filipinos a better shot at it. Her example taught us that principles coupled with faith can, in fact, change lives and effect changes. She taught us that tyrants are not toppled with tyranny, but rather with integrity and selflessness.

True, there are things that could've been done better and there might have been certain decisions that should not have been taken. (I've just read some critique on Cory's part in "eradicating" the Spanish language in the country, her wishy-washy attitude toward decision-making, her weak agrarian reform program...) But an individual's worth is never measured by these little things taken separately. The mere fact that people could critique a president of the country who has recently passed on is an indelible legacy Corazon Aquino has left the Philippines.

And even on her last days, when the tides of life were slowly ebbing away, Cory Aquino stayed true to how she chose to live her life and proved to people how a nation so oblivious as the Philippines could be shaken out of stupor and act as one.

Corazon Aquino, the widow who toppled a dictator, became the first woman president of the Philippines, and eventually restored democracy to the country, is dead. The nation mourns her demise. The nation marks the end of an era.

No comments: