Over the last two years or so, Heritage Toronto has been organizing guided tours in what is known as Little Manila.
We’ve seen it on Netflix – the wildly popular Stranger Things have characters cross into the “upside down” world where the air is toxic, and the dark cavern is membrane filled. We’ve seen it in the movies too in The Poltergeist where a young girl gets sucked into the “other side” and gets held down by the “Beast” whose ulterior motive was to prevent spirits to follow the real “light.”
Many of us, perhaps in the last year or so, might have turned off the radio or TV, swore off social media or refused to read the news because, in one way or another, our long-held beliefs of what is right and true have been challenged, not just in a sneaky kind of way but outright pronouncements made in public in front of a microphone and a TV camera. At some point during this time, we woke up to that “upside down” or “other side” world.
We have seen the leader of the free world lavish praise on a known despot and dictator. We are witnessing an escalating trade war between Canada and the U.S. – two of the staunchest allies in world history. If you follow Philippine news, government’s information office just created a country called “Norwegia.” And wasn’t there a time when fact-checking was solely an editor’s job?
You think what’s happening is crazy and you feel like laughing but are afraid to do so lest you give it power to become real. But this topsy-turvy world is real.
For those in the Philippines who have experienced marching the streets of Espana towards Mendiola in the noon day heat or been tear-gassed and targeted by water cannons or been thrown into jail for resisting human rights violations and corruption and then witness the same atrocities all over again with a much greater force and with global implications must bring an urge to give up, throw in the towel and hide.
How does one fight lies when it is those that hold power who keep repeating untruths? How do our children make sense of what they see out on the streets when people get arrested simply based on the colour of their skin or the way they’re (half) dressed? Do young people know that to be truly free means to go about their daily lives without fear of being killed?
When the bloodless People Power Revolution took place, not one of those individual participants knew that the outcome was going to be a major turning point in Philippine history. No one knew that being a dot in that mass of people that showed up along EDSA on that fateful few days in February of 1986 would end a decades-long dictatorship.
Major historical events have active players in them who, at the time, did not have a clue of what the outcome would be. To change the course of history is to participate with courage and passion for what is right and just, without knowing what the outcome would be. To resist being pulled into a topsy-turvy world requires that same fiery courage and unbridled passion without knowing whether the battle would be won or lost.
There are several ways to join the resistance. Use the web to fight the web. This means spending a little more time to dig deeper into an issue and find out what facts can be had through reliable sources. Use your right to vote and write to your elected officials. Their wages are being paid for by your taxes and your interests should be at the forefront of their political agenda. Support causes that you believe in whether it be freedom of the press or protecting human rights.
The arena may have changed. Perhaps the battle will not be waged on the streets anymore; perhaps it will be on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. Maybe the rallying cry would be a hashtag, or a movement represented by a colour. No one knows where or how or what the outcome will be but what we do know is that all of us must be active participants in this resistance against lies and untruths.
The world is shrinking, and our lives are too close to each other’s that the proverbial fence is no longer there to sit on.
- By Rachel Ramos-Reid for the Editorial Board of Canadian Filipino Net
Contact us at www.canadianfilipino.ca.