New takes on commemorating Edsa People Power Revolt ‘86

New takes on commemorating Edsa People Power Revolt ‘86

Has the memory of a united people who stopped tanks on a historic highway to oust the dictator faded into the recesses of the collective consciousness? Many Filipinos think not, although the annual commemoration of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolt has largely been marked by rallies of dwindling numbers. 

On its 38th anniversary, various organizations are fanning the embers to bring back the flame. That the dictator’s son and namesake is now president is sufficient trigger for them to strive to keep the spirit of Edsa alive. 

Organizers have apparently realized that protest marches and demonstrations are not enough to keep the people coming, and that placards with angry slogans no longer serve to deliver the message. They think it’s time to hold less grim-and-determined forms of mass actions, and come up with new expressions.  

There will be no single huge mobilization; in its place, there will be different activities in different places. The theme, after all, is “Edsa Kahit Saan” (“Edsa Anywhere”).

There is the “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Tiktok Challenge,” a competition for the young on who can best do a Tiktok dance interpretation of the song made especially popular during opposition leader Ninoy Aquino’s anticipated arrival from exile on Aug. 21,1983. (He was assassinated upon landing at the then Manila International Airport.)

Those wishing to compete need to use Tiktok as a platform to showcase their dance and share on Facebook using the hashtag #TiktokDanceChallenge #BuhayAangEDSA #EDSA38 #RibbonRhythm. 

Entries will be judged based on choreography (30%), creativity (30%), and engagement/reactions (40%). There are cash gifts for the first-, second-, and third-prize winners: P15,000, P10,000 and P5,000. 

On Feb. 21 at 5 and 7 p.m., Akbayan is sponsoring a public screening of the documentary “11.103” at the Sine Pop in Cubao, Quezon City. The documentary is a collection of stories of survivors of state-sponsored violence during martial law. It will also be screened at the Western Mindanao State University on Feb. 27 at 1 p.m.

On Feb. 24, Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City will host a storytelling session, with a twist, titled “Forget Me Not.” Instead of the audience sitting and listening to stories, “Forget Me Not” will have volunteer actors with nameplates of heroes and martyrs approaching individuals in the audience and asking, “Kilala mo ba ako?” (Do you know me?).  The actor will then tell the story of the martyr/hero whose name he/she is bearing at that moment. One on one, or with a small group. (One hopes actor and audience member can share a kwek-kwek or banana cue for better bonding. 

On D-Day, Feb. 25, an interim group called Barangay Artists4Edsa, with the support of Tindig Pilipinas and its allies, will hold a concert at the People Power Monument on Edsa.  Earlier, there will be a Tumbang Isyu,” a game inspired by tumbang-preso in which anyone in attendance can use a slipper to hit a can with a label of today’s burning issue (Charter change, corruption, confidential funds, political dynasty, Red-tagging). Organizers see it as a fun stress-relieving activity in recognizing and battling today’s social ills. 

The concert will feature Bituin Escalante, Bayang Barrios,  Noel Cabangon, Nica del Rosario, Bullet Dumas, Celeste Legaspi, Mitch Valdes, Leo Martinez, The Company, Magalong Brothers, the improv group SPIT, and the youth theater group Teatro Tao sa Tao, among many others.  It will start at 7 p.m., and will have a countdown to 9:05 p.m, the exact time the dictator and his family fled the presidential palace.

There are other activities planned, including forums and Masses, to be held in different places—relatively new forms of expression that give more meaning to an old activist adage: A luta continua. The struggle continues.

Read more: ‘Relive Edsa, Junk Cha-cha’ is the rallying cry

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