27 Years After February 25

24 February 2013

During my tour of duty in Berlin, I visited the Gropius Museum in 1999 which featured monumental events leading to the Next Millennium. There was Neil Armstrong's landing on the moon, Tianamen Square, etc., etc. I was distraught to find that for the exhibit curator, the most significant event in 1986 was Stefi Graf winning the Wimbeldon.

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Somehow, those with short memory forgot that in 1986, in an archipelago 10,000 miles away, a housewife named Cory Aquino brought down a strongman with EDSA People Power. Somehow, they forgot what Vaclav Havel remembered - that EDSA People Power was an inspiration to Prague's Velvet Revolution... which was an inspiration to the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

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A small consolation: At the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, EDSA and Cory Aquino were a small footnote.

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Consumed with the purpose of rectifying this political amnesia, we worked ohne hast, aber ohne rast. To cut the chase, Consul General Joselito Jimeno finally confirmed with the Berlin deputy chief of protocol our lien on one of last four pieces of Berlin Wall; and Consul Lito Ausan ''x''ed the piece reserved for the Philippines.

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The mechanics were readied. Logistical support and donors were prepared to arrange shipment of the 2.8-ton gift (DM4,200 CIF Manila or about EU2,100 then). The scenario was for Mayor Wolfgang Wolwereit to present the gift to then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. But 9-11 intervened; and the Philippine President cancelled the European trip, including the Berlin visit.

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See the bright side of it: Perhaps it is ordained that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III would sometime in the near future receive the gift on behalf of his mother and in memory of his father.

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MORE MUSINGS OF A RETIRED DIPLOMAT. It may be no one's fault, but the farther we are from EDSA February 25, 1986, the more strained the event seems. If there appears to be more commemoration and less dedication, could it be because there are less witnesses?

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There was a time (not during this administration) when the main attraction to engage the public at EDSA Day was RJ and the Riots.

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Differently, the Czech Velvet Revolution is remembered with quiet dignity. No sonorous speeches or wreaths from politicians; but those who were there when it happened bring flowers for those who sacrificed. And newlyweds too young for the experience are grateful to have their photograph by the memorial.

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Our acronyms are no helpful mnemonic. How many Filipinos know EDSA for Epifanio de los Santos?

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Do our young recognize NAIA for Ninoy Aquino (International Airport)... which at sometime in the past was planned to be overtaken at some future time by DMIA (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport)?

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HOT AIR, THE KIND WE LIKE. When 7 international flights were diverted from NAIA to DMIA last Friday, hopefully more international visitors also stopped over to join last weekend's 18th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

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Gary Lising says it isn't true that the Philippine Air Force didn't participate this year because its Polish helicopters' cockpit rotated, instead. FEEDBACK: jaz_aide@yahoo.com