So exactly a week ago, last Friday, I scheduled my fistula operation. After my first failed fistula operation early this year, I was planning to go overboard with protecting my arm to ensure that this fistula would mature. I was planning on not moving around for two weeks to guarantee that nothing would go wrong.
The first few days meant watching a lot of bad television on Netflix and stayed in my room and ate my meals there. When the anesthesia wore off, the pain hit but I didn’t take any of the pain medication I was given, having read that pain medication is difficult for the kidneys to process. Even if my doctors had given the go signal for these meds, I decided to suck it up and put as little damage to my kidneys. The long term is more important than the short-term.
I saw my doctor the other day and he told me I was doing just fine and he didn’t say it but he implied I was being too cautious about my recovery. I could move around. I can bend my arm and lift light objects with it. I kept it completely inactive because I wanted the damn thing to mature. But with his go signal and this horrendous frustration of not being able to do simple things, I decided it is time to get my quality of life back.
And I certainly needed it.
Because on the day I was to have my surgery, while I was at the waiting room, my Twitter feed exploded with news that the family of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos secretly pushed for his much-contested burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery for Heroes).
This former dictator, during his presidency, declared Martial Law, stole billions of pesos under a corrupt government, and was the cause for the death of thousands of activists and rebels, and jailed dissidents from artists, journalists, students, and more. He did so much more than that and he has no right to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
It is historical revisionism at work (I don’t know if I’m using that word correctly) and at the waiting room of the hospital, waiting to get my operation done, I was so filled with anger and frustration. I kept reading all he news as people I respect and admire, from people I follow on social media to family and friends, were making their voices heard and gathering together to protest in the streets.
I wanted to be there. This is the country my parents fought for when they participated in the first EDSA People Power Revolution in the 80s that destroyed the Marcos regime and freed our country from his dictatorship. I couldn’t be there for health reasons or geography. I’m here in Bacolod, after all. But I wanted my voice heard. And after my operation, as the protests reached fever pitch, I was stuck at home reading the news one-handed in bed struggling with the pain.
All I could do was retweet news and photos that other people were sharing. It took me twenty minutes to type a really short tweet about how I wanted to be there.
The timing couldn’t have been more awful for me. Like in many countries all over the world, this is a battle of numbers. Reason is not enough for us all to get our countries back from this wave of populism and the moneyed corrupt families who really run everything. We need the numbers. We need to be heard and we need to be consistent and tireless. Because they can afford to bide their time and they can afford to be cautious and slow. They’ve been working at this for years now in the shadows and we were so unprepared for their return.
They somehow knew that the atmosphere would be different and ripe to make a power grab over a period of time. The people have forgotten and they’ve forgotten to teach the younger generations about history. Secretly, I believe they might have something to do with it. I don’t know.
All I know is that these were true. My parents lived through it. Their friends lived through it. And they told stories and I listened. Not as intently as I should have, maybe, but I heard them and I knew it and believed it.
And now it has come back to haunt us.
It is scary times we live in. But I believe in my generation and the generations that follow me. There are leaders there and there is intelligence and there is understanding. Hope resides still and they just need support to bring the balance that’s needed.
I don’t want the world to go back to the way it was. It was broken, which is why we got here in the first place. I want the world to change but for the better.
From here? I can only write. Writers have helped revolutions in the past through inspiration and providing insight. I am going to have be more aware than I’ve ever been now. I have to be more empathic than I could ever even imagine a person to be if I want to be able to help, somehow, with the thing I feel most comfortable and most secure about. I’m a writer. I have to be a strong and influential one if I want to help make this world a better place.