I was a freshman in college at University of Santo Tomas at the time that Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino was gunned down at the tarmac of then-called Manila International Airport. It was an image that played over and over again on television sets all over the world. An image that sparked a revolution that would come and topple the dictatorial reign of President Ferdinand Marcos.
I had no interest in politics then. I had no idea what injustices there are that existed around me. I found no abuse in human rights even with the poverty I see everywhere. I thought that it’s a way of life. That is simply how the world worked. There’s the rich, the middle-class and the poor.
That grainy image of a man lying on the tarmac with blood spilling over his head and the video that captured almost nothing which was played in our university auditorium for us to see is something that I will never forget. It is the catalyst that helped me realize that the world I live in isn’t how it should be. That there is good and there is evil. That I have to do something about it or else.
That’s when I became active in politics. I started joining candle light vigils. I listened to every point and every explanation of both sides. I started watching political films and listening to Radio Veritas.
In short, it was the moment I realized that I can do something about it.
That was 30 years ago today – August 21, 1983. For some, it is simply a memory. For others, they cannot even comprehend the importance of that time in history. Yet, I remember.
For every Moveon.org petition that I sign. For every vote that I cast each election time, I remember this moment. Because it reminds me that I can make a difference. That “inaction is worst than fear of assassination”. That’s what I learned.
So, if any of you are proud that the Philippines has its freedom today, you must thank Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. for it.
Here’s the video that got me all fired up: