The title of this should be “Impossible Yet True!” I am talking about events that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. These events are historical in nature and have had or continue to have a continuing significant impact in the world.
1) The Collapse of the USSR
I was born 1951 into a world that was divided between the USA and her allies on the one hand and Soviet Union and her satellites on the other. Since the Philippines was aligned with America, the USSR was necessarily the evil one in my map of the cold war world. At that time, the USSR seemed invincible and monolithic. I remember my religious Catholic mother praying every night for the poor souls in purgatory and for the conversion of Russia. For years and years, I dismissed her prayers as the exercise of her generation’s naive, misguided, though benign faith.
Until the day the Berlin Wall fell.
Since then, I have never again mocked or underestimated the power of invocation and prayer!
2) The Re-election of George Bush
There are political upsets and THERE ARE POLITICAL UPSETS!. Early November 3, I could not believe that the trend was going towards a Dubya victory. How could it when this man is probably the most hated leader in the world and one who lied and cheated his own people just to justify his war.
But the biggest bombshell about this election was the coming out of so many believers in the red states— fundamentalist Christians, conservatives who voted by the numbers to reject a man who understood the world more, and whose policies were more for the middle class and poor instead of the filthy rich of America, and all because they saw in Bush someone who had “family values” and the one who could protect them from terrorist attack. Overnight, the world woke up to two Americas with the fundamentalist face being the dominant one. The other image of America–the one the world was familiar with–America as the shining beacon of freedom, reason, liberty and the center of enlightened thinking had morphed into something that shocked the rest of the world.
(An item in today’s Inquirer–In the news today, the New Zealand immigration people reported that Americans were inquiring into immigrating there by the thousands. They said that their usual internet traffic of less than 2000 hits a day now hit an average 10,000 hits daily —all from the US. They used to get 6 calls a day but now it’s 200+ and increasing. And it started 11PM of November 2, when it became evident that Bush was winning!
An interesting sign of the times.)
3) People Power 1
It seemed like Marcos was going to live and rule forever. And then, things started to move so quickly after the ’86 elections and soon after, there were millions of people marching and defying the dictator’s forces in numbers the world had never seen. As a testimony to our people power experience, an American reporter covering the Tienanmen uprising in China years later narrated to me how much the Chinese had emulated our revolution so much so that they had the pages of our People Power books pasted on walls for inspiration. Many people believe that EDSA 1 influenced directly the democratization of the Eastern block states and the eventual fall of the USSR.
For one brief shining moment, the Philippines was united and was a nation of heroes. And when we do, we do affect the world in a big way.
4) The Greenhouse Effect
For decades since it was first hypothesized, a great number of scientists had doubts that the emissions released into the atmosphere would actually cause the earth to become a hot greenhouse, burn the oceans, alter the weather and melt the polar caps. Not anymore. According to many prominent scientists now, the North and South Pole icebergs are melting and will completely vanish by the year 2100. And when that happens, oceans will rise at least 1 meter everywhere, and too bad for places like Manila, Bangkok, Vanuatu, Indonesia, and all of Bangladesh.
The tragedy in all this is the Bush administration still refuses to recognize this imminent meltdown as a scientific fact and so will not sign the Kyoto Protocol that mandates every country to limit their gas emissions to 1990 levels. But every environmentalist knows that the reason why the US refuses to sign it is not because of the soundness of the policy but because it will cost US Big Business a lot money to retool industries to make emissions cleaner.
5) The Fall of the Twin Towers and 911
Who would have thought that an attack, more so of this magnitude, could happen to the world’s greatest superpower?
The 70’s invented the defiant cry “Make Love Not War”, and other sexy soundbites like “Save Water. Shower With A Friend!”. So-called “free love” and “open relationships” were real options then. Sex at that time seemed so innocent and fun. While it may send you to hell (if you believed the Catholic priests and nuns) or cause unwanted pregnancy, it was not going kill you. One could get a few nasty itches and they could be anywhere from irritating to dangerous but not life-threatening. Now whole continents of people are dying of AIDS because of” unprotected sex”.
My God, what have we humans done to something so beautiful?
7) Pedophilia in the Church
As if it was not enough that the Church laity were thinning out, the shocking exposure of widespread pedophilia reverberates to this day all over the world. The Church will have to change and rethink itself drasticaly if it is to continue its mission.
The seemingly simple past is now just a distant, romantic memory. The human race is driving towards the future without a rear view mirror. We are racing into the unknown. All the events above were totally unforeseen, or even if they were, they just seemed too wild to take seriously. We are now at the tipping point where we can completely alter nature’s and man’s evolution. We can literallly perish unless we all come together and solve the problems as mankind.
Who knows what can and will happen? Right now, nothing is too wild to predict.
That being the case, I am putting on my manghuhula turban and will make the following predictions for the next 10 years:
I predict that China will be more influential in Southeast Asia than the US in the same amount of time. The Chinese navy is almost as big as the US navy now!
Japan will militarize once more.
A wave of religious conservatism will plague the US and Christian fundamentalism will be more dominant than ever in its history. Thus it will become even more parochial and intolerant of the rest of the world. This will probably last about ten years before the fever wears off.
Islam and the west will see more violent clashes. (Duh! Obvious ba?) Iraq will remain a quagmire for the next 5 years at least.
Lastly, I predict that Jasmine Trias, the Star Circle, the Viva Hot Babes, the Sex Bomb dancers and all the other irritating people in media will be 10 years older and hopefully gone and forgotten completely.
Next time you hear from me, I will be in Europe. I predict it will be vvvverrry ccccold!!!