A Thousand Myles
Many of us are lucky enough to grow up clothed, sheltered, and fed, provided by fathers and nagged at in worried voices by mothers (“Where’s your assignment for school tomorrow?!”).
We go to good schools and get an education and are taught that this is the only means to survive in the world. And that’s true.
We enter college in the hopes of providing for our future, learn a thing or two about struggle and struggling in 4 or 5 years, graduate maybe with honors, get a high-paying job, live our lives… All the luxuries in the world and all the opportunities you can ever have to push yourself forward in this predator-eats-prey world sitting right in the palm of your hands and all you need to do is to close that fist.
That’s the life Myles Albasin was brought into the world with.
Here we have a woman whose life was probably already written out and planned out for her, just waiting for her to step her feet into.
Someone who’s laughed and smiled with family, ate outside at a KFC or at high-end restaurants with friends, cried over small heartbreaks, and held broken hearts where they shouldn’t be.
Here is a woman who lived all this and loved this life and everyone around her with so much fervor and passion, it seeped into particular crevices of her existence, waiting for ignition.
Myles Albasin found herself loving life so much, she had to extend this love to other people and it was in no other form than service to them.
This staunch and passionate student leader and activist found herself in countless immersions with farmers, Lumads, the urban poor, workers, senior citizens, women, and many others who are among the most oppressed and marginalized of this nation.
She found herself among the ranks of multiple sectors of the basic masses as they formed mobilizations and marched down the streets of Osmeña Boulevard with their calls that have been echoing for decades now.
By the time groups reach Colon St., she would be there on that platform, microphone in hand, raised fist in the air, declaring, “Ang tao, ang bayan!” to which hordes of people would respond with, “Ngayon ay lumalaban!”
More than these mobilizations, Myles found herself among students and the youth as well, passionately explaining to many of them and teaching them the importance of the youth in nation-building, in militantly advancing the democratic rights of students, and in being more than just students enclosed in the four walls of a classroom. Going to a good school was not the only means for an education for someone like Myles.
There was learning that can only be taught in school but there was also learning that needed to be applied outside of it and it was far greater and far more important. And Myles knew and saw this.
Myles saw the people. Myles saw how the masses suffered at the hands of a society that was still semi-feudal and semi-colonial even now in the 21st century.
In her many immersions, Myles saw how land-grabbing kills farmers, how land equates to life for the Lumad, and the different faces of poverty that many of us only mock and ridicule.
She saw how the workers struggle to earn meager wages just to live for the next day and how women are oppressed and victimized through it all.
She saw the Filipino people and redefined what “struggle” meant.
It was not to struggle 4 or 5 years in college to graduate with honors and get a high-paying job, but rather it was to struggle with and for the oppressed and toiling masses, to strip herself of her luxuries and her opportunities and find her feet planted in the ground where many others before her have stood—among the people.
She had many opportunities, many among them others would want more than anything, but the feeling of the soil under her feet filled with the life and hope of a new nation must have been the one opportunity she wanted the most.
She closed in on it and embraced it.
No one has the right to judge her for the path she took after graduating. She was there to see it all. She has immersed and found herself serving the people and marching alongside them, and this has given her the resolve to continue the struggle—theirs and now hers.
But she is not the first. She will certainly not be the last. There are plenty others like her, those who chose to forego their luxurious and privileged lives in pursuit of liberation.
Soon, there will be many others like her as well, staunch and militant in serving the people, because for as long as the Filipino people remain oppressed, for as long as hunger prevails and exploitation remains at large, there can be no freedom for any of us.
The youth will make the ground shake and it will force the ruling elite who have amassed the people’s wealth all these centuries to think twice of themselves. Dictators will tremble and traditional politicians will start to feel fear trickle in their veins.
The youth, with the same blood of vigor, fervor, and passion that runs in Myles Albasin, will inevitably rise anew.
Ang tanong: Ano ang masasabi natin sa adhikain sa mga katulad ni Myles Albasin sa ating bansa?