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A salute to our EDSA heroes from a Timor Leste hero

ROSES & THORNS - Alejandro R. Roces () - August 12, 2008 - 12:00am

The state visit of H.E. Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Laureate for Peace and President  of the Republic Timor Leste auspiciously occurs on the 25th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, for the Celebration of Peace and Freedom Week. Presi-dent’s Horta’s significant gesture of paying his respects by offering a wreath at the statue of Ninoy Aquino and visiting the tomb of His Eminence, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin at the Manila Cathedral is an excellent gesture of deepening friendship and kinship between our peoples, the 2 Catholic countries whose liberation are rooted in faith and the will for self-reliance.

Horta had his acquaintance of Ninoy when he was in exile. The work of the Filipino exiles contributing to the restoration of democracy can best be understood with this special cognizance of the effort of Ninoy who joined the cadre of freedom fighters led by Heherson Alvarez and the late Raul Manglapus  in America. The exiles impacted successfully on the US Congress and the international community, raising wide consciousness about violations of human rights to cut support for the dictatorship. This added to the pressure for Marcos to call for a snap election that led to Ninoy’s widow Cory to be pitted against the dictator.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through the EDSA Commission co-chaired by Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Chris Carrion organized the event with the Ninoy Aquino Movement coordinated through Estonia Consul Fernando Peña and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts headed by Dr. Vilma Labrador as Chairman and Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez. There is a nationwide competition of essay writing/text tula/ painting/ declamation and editorial cartoon to nourish the memory of the young and link the relevance of Ninoy’s heroism to the collective action necessary to confront the current global crisis. There are of course bilateral agreements in education, economy, in health yet this exceptional vivid symbol of appreciation and esteem by President Horta will go a long way in recharging the memory of the nation and concienticizing us to pursue the protection of the legacy of our heroes.

Horta is the well known international spokesperson of the resistance movement against Indonesian rule that was led by Xanana Gusmao and had the support of Bishop Felipe Ximenez Belo, a fellow co-winner of the Nobel Prize. Horta served as a journalist and is a distinguished writer. Among his works  are: The Unfinished Saga of East Timor, Timor Amanha em Dili. Don Quixote, OST Timor.

Watch a special interview of President Jose Ramos-Horta to be aired Aug. 13, 2008 at 9:00 p.m. on NBN 4 to have a closer look on his leadership and courage. It is hosted by another patriot/environmentalist former Senator Heherson T. Alvarez who joined the group of parliamentarians in solidarity and affirming support for East Timor’s struggle for democracy amidst the burning and bombing that preceded the victory.

Ninoy Aquino was brutally assassinated at the Tarmac. We lost him but his sacrifice remains a beacon of light as we pursue the vision of EDSA. The world is lucky President Horta survived the assassination attempt on his life to continue bearing the torch for freedom, justice and democracy. We look forward to the entry of Timor Leste into the ASEAN Family which just celebrated its 41st Anniversary. All nations should converge and synergize to build a caring and sharing community for peace and sustainable development in the region. May peace prevail on earth.

ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARTYRDOM OF BENIGNO BISHOP FELIPE XIMENEZ BELO CELEBRATION OF PEACE AND FREEDOM WEEK CHAIRMAN AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CECILE GUIDOTE-ALVAREZ CULTURE AND THE ARTS HORTA NINOY NINOY AQUINO PRESIDENT HORTA
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