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Philippine Revolution Offers Lessons to Middle East Protest

7 years ago306 views

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As the Philippines celebrates the 25th anniversary of its 1986 people power revolt, it offers both a hopeful and a cautionary example for democratic movements spreading in the Middle East. However, analysts say the revolution is by no means complete.

This week marks the Philippines' 25th anniversary of the people power revolt that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos. It ushered in democratic changes that many say have not been fully realized.

Hundreds joined the celebrations on Friday, with a commemoration led by President Benigno Aquino.

[Benigno Aquino, President of the Philippines]:
"This is the incredible legacy that Filipinos gave to the world -- a peaceful revolution. Our gathering here today is proof that this legacy lives on in each of us. We believe that instead of being divided, we can be united. Instead of cheating, we can be honest in our service. And instead of fearing the government, we can trust it."

Aquino won the vote in last year's polls on a promise to stamp out corruption and his election relived the excitement of the revolution.

The Philippine revolution of 1986, coming before the fall of communism in Europe, was an early example of how non-violent protests could challenge authoritarian rule.

Clarita Carlos, political science professor at the University of the Philippines, says the "people power" protests offer a warning for rulers holding on to power, abusing and repressing their people.

[Clarita Carlos, Political Science Professor]:
"The lessons learned for everybody -- make your institutions work, free your people to express their ideas, give them the right of association, give them a right to compete for public office, don't stay too long in office, don't be there for 40 years, 30 years, 25 years. One of the hallmarks of democracy is you're able to give everyone a chance to be a leader."

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