In a fitting tribute to GMA-7’s 50 years of excellent journalism, the network put together a montage featuring members of the media and stories of life in the Philippines over the past 5 decades. My mom and I chanced upon it this evening while channel-surfing and I couldn’t help but get emotional. I know that news is “just news” to many people and often, given the sorry state of our country, we’d rather tune out the news and distribute worry to those aspects of our lives we can control. I can understand people who feel this way because in the past five years or so, I’ve felt the same about the media in general. You lose hope easily in these times when the truth seems less black or white. Mostly gray isn’t good for one’s disposition and when truth can’t be determined, it’s easy to point a finger at those whose job it is to reveal it. In most cases though, I really just despise the people who conceal it because we’ve come to a point where it’s a little to obvious when people lie or cheat. The disillusionment gets compounded further when you realize that nothing can be done about these people or about the dogged search for the elusive Truth.
Yet, as I continued to watch that documentary, all the feelings that disillusionment erased came back in an eruption of recognition. I remember now why we marched in Edsa Dos. I remember the pride I felt watching Sandra Aguinaldo telling Sen. Legarda that she wouldn’t apologize to FPJ. For shame, I thought. Of all people to urge Aguinaldo, it had to be Legarda–this lady whom I idolized in my grade school days for being, what I thought, a great journalist. Perhaps she really was but as a legislator, I’m not so sure.
But the thing that really struck me was what Mike Enriquez said. It’s especially relevant to me because yesterday, I re-read my copy of F. Sionil Jose’s collection of essays entitled, “This I Believe: Gleanings From a Life in Literature”. Here he reminds us not to forget. And in the documentary, Enriquez emphasizes the need to be aware:
Sa panahong ito maslalong mahalaga ang maging mulat nang sa gayun hindi tayo naloloko.
Bagay kasi talaga. The words of Enriquez mixed with the writings of Sionil Jose really go well together. One invites us to remember our history, that gem that exists to constantly remind us of who we are and what we stand for, while the other calls us to open our eyes to our present situation so that we might be discerning in our actions and avoid being pawns of people who aren’t interested in our well-being.
I welcome these words despite the guilt I feel for not having done all that I can to be true to them. At least they still manage to awaken me from my stupor and thank God it finally reached this point! Justice is slowly becoming erased from our vocabulary as a people and if we can’t recognize that, I don’t know how else we’ll manage to pull ourselves out of this gutter were in.
Despite what everyone says about today’s news and the way its delivered, I still believe in the efforts of many to tell the truth. Both networks alike work tirelessly to bring us our news. I also trust that viewers and readers aren’t sheep who easily accept what comes with a “Bahala na si Batman” (trans. Leave it to Batman) attitude.
I only wish we remember our own history and the things we fight for so that we never have to fall into this trap of despair again. We are a heroic people, so says Mr. Jose. But only if we remember who we are.