Are we really free?

I’ve encountered some people who claim that with EDSA 1, we recovered democracy but not freedom. I don’t know what their definition of freedom is but here’s what good ol’ Webster says:

Well, what we are currently enjoying in our land sounds like freedom to me.

Let’s look at the internet, the virtual land where freedom may truly exist. Yuxiyou.net published an interesting infographics on censorship on the internet and see how our country is faring.

Yep that is indeed blue which stands for “no censorship.” Do they think that if we didn’t gain freedom 25 years ago we will be enjoying this status? More like we’ll be emo black like China where there is pervasive censorship. Not only do we have freedom online but we are truly free.

We have freedom of speech.

We have freedom of expression.

We have freedom of the press.

And we have freedom to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

All of these we didn’t have before EDSA People Power.

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.

  • On all the memories of Edsa I, Marcos and the convoluted history of the Philippines.

    From a piece done by Bill Moyers. Good piece analogous with ignorance and stupidity in the Philippines. The Philippines remains a “flat earth society”

    Good piece for the Marcos and Cory fan base.

    “George Orwell had warned six decades ago that the corrosion of language goes hand in hand with the corruption of democracy. If he were around today, he would remind us that “like the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket,” this kind of propaganda engenders a “protective stupidity” almost impossible for facts to penetrate.”

    “You will remember that in Orwell’s novel “1984,” Big Brother banishes history to the memory hole, where inconvenient facts simply disappear. Control of the present rests on obliteration of the past. The figure of O’Brien, who is the personification of Big Brother, says to the protagonist, Winston Smith: “We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.” And they do. The bureaucrats in the Ministry of Truth destroy the records of the past and publish new versions. These in turn are superseded by yet more revisions. Why? Because people without memory are at the mercy of the powers that be; there is nothing against which to measure what they are told today. History is obliterated.”

    “The late scholar Cleanth Brooks of Yale thought there were three great enemies of democracy. He called them “The Bastard Muses”: Propaganda, which pleads sometimes unscrupulously, for a special cause at the expense of the total truth; sentimentality, which works up emotional responses unwarranted by, and in excess of, the occasion; and pornography, which focuses upon one powerful human drive at the expense of the total human personality. The poet Czeslaw Milosz identified another enemy of democracy when, upon accepting the Noble Prize for Literature, he said “Our planet that gets smaller every year, with its fantastic proliferation of mass media, is witnessing a process that escapes definition, characterized by a refusal to remember.” Memory is crucial to democracy; historical amnesia, its nemesis.”

    “As Joe Keohane reported last year in The Boston Globe, political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency “deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information.” He was reporting on research at the University of Michigan, which found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in new stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts were not curing misinformation. “Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.” You can read the entire article online.
    I won’t spoil it for you by a lengthy summary here. Suffice it to say that, while “most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence,” the research found that actually “we often base our opinions on our beliefs … and rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions.”

    “These studies help to explain why America seems more and more unable to deal with reality. So many people inhabit a closed belief system on whose door they have hung the “Do Not Disturb” sign, that they pick and choose only those facts that will serve as building blocks for walling them off from uncomfortable truths.”

    • Bert

      “Good piece for the Marcos and Cory fan base.”

      Hehehe, good piece for me, good piece for J_AG too. And most of all, good piece for everyone, :).

  • J_ag

    Barbara Jordan a black woman who became a state legislator in Texas reminded her mentor then President Lyndon B. Johnson that the african Americans were never part of “We the people… mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

    Ms. Ang when you say “we are free” who are you referring to?

    Kindly look at the letters a & b on your definition of freedom.

    Democracy is a political system. Freedom is another thing altogether.

    Edsa I was not a revolution for the fight for natural rights but for civil rights which were curtailed under a dictatorship /King.

    There are freedoms in the Philippines for only those who can afford it. Basic freedoms – from fear and want are severely lacking.

    Mohammed Bouazizi was a fruit vendor in Tunisia whose food cart was confiscated by the police. It was his only means for supporting his family. It was his economic asset.

    The State confiscated his natural right to earn a living. He had no means to seek redress. He burned himself to send a message to the government.

    That initiated a revolution. The same thing happened in Egypt. The natural right to life was threatened by the lack of economic opportunities.

    Please note before the killing of Ninoy the country was plunged into a severe economic crisis. That was the root of Edsa I.

    The proximate cause of the so called revolt was the failed election and the fear of the military that the left was rapidly gaining ground because of the severe economic crunch combined with the weakening of the dictator/king.

    A power vacuum was developing at the top.

    That created the conditions for the assassination of Ninoy earlier. That was Ninoys reason for returning home.

    The Philippines should thank its lucky stars as the forces of the left splintered just as the high tide of discontent was bubbling over.

    Otherwise it would have turned out bloody.

    Are you still in high school?

    • GabbyD

      “Are you still in high school?”

      this made me laugh 🙂

  • UP nn grad

    Karen: A few Pinoys in Pinas are not happy nor celebratory about freedom-press / freedom-expression when from Marcos administration to Cory-years to FVR to Erap to GMA to Noynoy administration, Pilipinas still has significant numbers of desaparecidos. Jonas Burgos, Karen Empeno, Sherlyn Cadapan… many many more names.

    Pilipinas — media people, assasinated.

    • True. The current system isn’t perfect. We have a long way to go. Still, the desaparecidos numbers might be far worse if we’re still under Martial Law.

      • UP nn grad

        Why even bother to guess if the numbers would have been higher or lower? The true question (in my opinion) is whether the current numbers are acceptable to Pinoys-in-Pinas. If the numbers are not acceptable, then tell whoever is sitting in Malacanang that Pinoys are very unhappy. If the numbers are acceptable, then get Malacanang to work on another area (like more jobs for Pinoys in France or jobs for Pinoys in Lebanon).

      • UP nn grad

        remembering anniversaries ….

        http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,686107,00.html

        SuperFerry14.