Oath of Plataea

The rise to the presidency of Benigno Aquino III excites some uncertain future for the country. For the many who are suspicious of him, the future is a bit blight. For the majority who trust him, the future is a hopeful one. It is now up to President Aquino to steer the country's future to the right path, as his Inauguration Address underscored. It is up to him to drive this country out of the mess, as brought about by the past administration.

No matter where the country is going, it always starts from where it is. While the present greatly shapes the future, it is a lot constrained by the past. Moving on means resolving - and not forgetting - past actions, especially past wrongdoings.

The country is like a turtle. Those who want reform are like the turtle's head wanting to forge ahead, but is however strained and held back by its heavy shell of many unresolved scandals.

As President Aquino always reiterated - "there can be no reconciliation without justice... Sa paglimot ng pagkakasala, sinisigurado mong mauulit muli ang mga pagkakasalang ito!"

And he is correct in this exhortation. How can the country move on and face the future if it has unresolved past? The present juncture is a make or break for the country.

We should never forget. NBN-ZTE Broadband Scandal. Fertilizer Fund Scam. Euro Generals. Hello Garci. Lamppost Overpricing. 12-0 Scandal. Maguindanao Massacre. Jose Pidal Account. Cash Gift Scandal. Midnight Deals. Midnight Appointees. Even the Manila Hostage Taking is a consequence of unresolved past. These are some, and many more to come. This is the reason why we should never forget the past, for us to learn our painful lessons. The past should remind us, and hurt us, to move us!

In the Ancient Greek City of Plataea, when the Plataeans fought with the Athenians to win the battle against the invading Persians in 479 BC, they decided to preserve the ruins of the war, subscribing to an oath not to rebuild the sanctuaries destroyed by the invaders. The ruins would remind them of their struggles and pains as a people. The ruins allowed them to remember and learn of their past. The ruins strengthened the Plataeans as they shaped their strong future.

This became part of the Oath of Plataea - remembering the painful past for the future to learn.

Reconciliation without resolution, forgiveness without fairness, judgment without sense of justice are sure formula for committing the same past mistakes.

We need the Oath of Plataea in the Philippines!