Ever since the beginning of the democratic rebellion over the sham election in Iran, with the simple and effective green color association, I've thought of the newly deceased Corazon Aquino, Cory to her people, who by some historical accident ended up leading the "people power" overthrow of dictator Ferdinand Marco in the Philippines in 1986, and her trademark yellow dress:
Cory Aquino, who survived six coup attempts during as many years in office, may not have been a perfect President of the country but she was what was needed to vanquish Marcos, who's name goes down in history as a crazy egomaniac asshole. Her reputation as a good leader is secure, and it shows how wise, compelling leadership can arise from where least expected.
Mrs. Aquino played the dutiful wife as her husband’s political star rose. In less than 20 years he became the country’s youngest elected mayor, governor and senator, emerging as one of the chief potential rivals of Mr. Marcos, who was then president.
When Mr. Marcos declared martial law in 1972, extending his presidency beyond its two-term limit, Mr. Aquino was arrested and charged with subversion and illegal possession of firearms. He spent the next seven years behind bars. During that time, Mrs. Aquino’s political education began in earnest. As her husband’s only link to the world outside, she memorized his messages and statements and passed them on to the press.
In 1980, Mr. Marcos allowed Mr. Aquino to go to the United States for a triple-bypass heart operation. Mr. Aquino accepted academic posts at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the family settled in Newton, a suburb of Boston, for what Mrs. Aquino later recalled as the happiest three years of her life.
But despite warnings from Mr. Marcos’s powerful and eccentric wife, Imelda, Mr. Aquino pursued a sense of mission and returned to the Philippines on Aug. 21, 1983. He was escorted from his airplane by two soldiers, who gunned him down on a side stairway leading to the tarmac.
Mr. Marcos was widely blamed for the assassination, although no proof has emerged, and a huge antigovernment protest took place at Mr. Aquino’s funeral.
It was at his funeral, dressed in black and standing beside his open coffin, that Mrs. Aquino became a national symbol, showing the dignity and composure that would characterize her most difficult moments as president. Her popularity reached its peak during her presidential campaign against Mr. Marcos in January 1986, when she was surrounded by enthusiastic crowds chanting, “Cory! Cory! Cory!”
With the traditionally commemorated 40th day after Neda's slaughter by Iranian basiji or Revolutionary Guard having turned into a police riot at her funeral this week, the eyes of the world are once again turned towards the movement there, if more fleetingly this time than last. There need to be some high-level army defectors as there were for Cory, but these people are not giving up in their quest for a fair democracy, even if they risk their lives:
Power to the people.