Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Juan Makabayan's Quandary

Juan Makabayan, home from a rally
Sat down and contemplated on the gash
His forehead suffered, grazed by a shield's edge
The throbbing pain nagged on refusing rest to
A tired body just gone through a day in the streets

Can't even recall what it was they were fighting for today
Yesterday it was Gabriela's cause for battered women
The day before, an agrarian protest for disenfranchised farmers
Was it for the squatters of Tatalon, or was it for estero dwellers?
or anti Cha Cha demonstrations at the Palace perimeter this morning?

Too many causes so little time, so puny the efforts to make them count
What was it that he desired for the Pilipino or for Pilipinas?
Could he wish it to be like before? What was that?
Pilipinas was never great nor noble in the past. It has a history
Of subservience from one tyrannical master to yet another

The time of the maharlikas of early barangays was never a notable one
It even inspired a plot of an erstwhile dictator to make vassals of us all
In a glamorized new society which would enthrone nobility of dubious origins
A devilish scheme to perpetuate rule and reign through countless generations
Making Cha Cha a sophomoric effort and so crassly unimaginative

What could be more ignoble than our lot from our colonizers?
From the Spaniards who brought in more sword than cross
To the unmitigated cruelty of the Japanese governance by samurai
And Americans, not be outdone in craftiness and in feigned altruism
These are histories you wouldn't wish for us to go back to in time

What of our politics? Was there ever a time we can regard as golden?
Quezon wanted governance by Pilipinos though run like hell and they did
Through the worst of times, our leaders were dancing to the piper's music
Except for a few truly dedicated statesmen the best era of our politics were
Besmirched by duplicity, machinations, disunity through regional factionalism

The more immediate past and the grating present has not shown any virtue
Our governance from the time of our independence has been checkered
Rapacity and greed was not exceptional to Marcos as successors learned well,
And abuse by leaders and their cohorts was the hallmark of every administration
Varying only in the magnitude of theft, graft and abuse of the people's money

Even as now the presidential circus has set up their tents in our midst
Self styled nationalists, patriots, men of the poor, media propped personalities
Now scramble to hide their gruesome pasts: convicted criminals, the scandal tainted,
The intelligence and mentally challenged, the sycophants, the power obsessed
Raising millions, nay billions, for the best Makati and New York makeover experts

Juan Makabayan sat up from his uncomfortable makeshift wooden bed
What is it am I fighting for? Was it worth a hundred bruised noggins?
There were so many causes to fight for, all seemingly just and worthy
Yet he could not grasp it in its entirety, what all of it was supposed to do
To the Pilipino, to Pilipinas, for whose sake he protested in all of his young life

Do these protest moves change things? What changes do I want to happen?
Who among the candidates will be the proverbial white knight to make the changes?
He felt the crisp smoothness of a hundred peso bill in his pants’ pocket
A handout for the day’ protest, an allowance from rally organizer
For the first time in all his protesting days he felt uneasy and discomfited

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