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tony mercado peña
tony mercado peña FIRST CAME the tanks, slowly piercing through the heavy traffic of a human highway. Then came the choppers, buzzing over the sea of humanity below. A picture of steel WARmaments on a coup de grâce mission, men against their own kind. The prodigal few in contest with the undivided many. Obviously, the protagonists were all men wielding the fatal steel. The only line demarcating them was the burning passion from one side to preserve the status quo, the other side, vice versa.

It was in this February 25, 1986 EDSA arena where history witnessed and asked why men who wear the same uniform, who are the vanguards of life itself, who belong to the same race, and who kneel in prayer before the same God confronted each other by way of an almost fratricidal campaign.

Like in any other human theater, when the contending parties become obsessed with the bestial impulse of annihilating each other, a deus ex machina scene is a welcome interjection! The inundating prayers from the mass of humanity before the factioned combatants awakened them to forego the unwanted bloodbath. The thought of sacrificing the innocent lives of their own sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, was in itself already suicidal. Isn't it that the first law of life is self-preservation? Why, the human congress, in and out the highway, is unmistakably of their own! Those men in uniform, undeniably after all, were still gentle husbands and loving fathers of a civilized community.

A clear historical antecedent to man's quest for survival was his conquest against his lesser being---the lowly beast. Man's victory over the beast is now a mere trophy enthroned in museums, where the dinosaur is but a precious relic. To date, the conquest is man against man! For centuries man himself has drenched his own earth with his own blood. Self-annihilation has been a futile attempt to cultivate the finer seeds of civilization. Violent instruments of war: the bow and arrow, the gunpowder, the atom bomb, never raised man to greater human beingness. All these are but manufactured weapons of man terrifying and terrorizing man. When a prayer, however, as a weapon handed down to man, is to be used contra himself, this weapon transcends all what is bestial in him, elevating himself to mature civility.

The February 25, 1986 EDSA People Power was, in itself, a revolution of man waged against himself. It was a revolution centered on humanity where the cathartic change did not course itself via violent means. This utopian dream was realized in the Philippines, a geographical dot in the civilized world, a struggling Third World nation, but that championed the long lost cause of man prevailing over himself.

The parochial prayers of the Filipino people proved effectively as a silent shout to the whole world that the civility in man stood supreme over his ignobleness. That the godness (goodness spelled with a single "o") in the Filipino prevailed over his malevolence---a Gandhian triumph over Machiavellian ambitions!

Genuine heroism in the February 25, 1986 People Power throbbed in the powerful and encompassing pellet of peace triggered from the inner sanctum of every Filipino---the President, the Soldier, the Priest, and the common Tao from all over the four quarters of the Archipelago.

(First Prize winning essay out of 54 entries, Bicol regionwide, in 1987. Also published in the Philnabank News, the corporate magazine of PNB.)


[About the author. Tony Mercado Peña is a bilingual writer, in English and in Kapampangan. He hails from Sasmuan, Pampanga. He has been accorded various literary awards such as First Place in the Tagisan King Poesia hosted by Gawad Komisyon 2007, Republika Ng Pilipinas at the Bayview Park Hotel, Roxas Boulevard, Manila, where he introduced a couple of poetic genres, tanka and haiku, in the vernacular literature. He was also bestowed the Most Outstanding Kapampangan Award 2007 (MOKA) in Culture at the Arts at City of San Fernando, Pampanga. He charges his pen with the redeeming literary significance to resuscitate his dying language back to life. His "K" poetry is a galvanizing medium, a mighty weapon battling the lingual windmills that overwhelm the Kapampangan nation.]

-Posted: 12:10 PM 2/19/10 | More of this author on eK!
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