Seares: Aquinos helped devalue ‘yellow’

THE color yellow was clearly banished from this year’s celebration of the 1986 Edsa Revolution.

Organizers saw to it that red, white and blue -- the flag colors -- dominated last Sunday’s scene on that strip of land in Manila where the uprising against Marcos rule was staged 32 years ago.

Removal of yellow, color code of past celebrations, is being criticized for “revisionism”: history is being changed. When people massed against tanks and guns of the dictatorship, it was yellow that lent color to their courage.

Does it make a difference to history when motif becomes something else? It would if records in text and photos would say that yellow had nothing to do with the spirit of dissent on Feb. 25, 1986.

When it began

Erosion of yellow’s value began when the color was used in political fights after the Edsa revolt. It was probably justified when employed in her campaign against Marcos as the revolt erupted, and even during her term (1996-1992). Who else should’ve profited from it, not just for herself but to survive the coup attempts against her?

Any other politician would’ve done the same. The color rallied people to the cause that Edsa signifies: a people unified in combating one-man rule.

When Cory died in 2009, the sea of yellow was seen across the nation again as tribute to her contribution to the return of democracy in the country.

To justify blunders

Noynoy Aquino, the son, might have contributed to yellow’s slow death when he used it, along with the memory of his mother, to win the 2010 presidency. And, may be worse: it was a kind of prop, the yellow ribbon prominently displayed on his chest, in defending his dubious decisions, notably, the alleged misuse of pork barrel and the death of police troops in Mamasapano.

His enemies themselves politicized the color by using it to brand opposition followers as “yellowtards,” a rejected flock against the ruling party’s “Dutertards.”

The sense of one nation and patriotism ceased to flow a color associated with Noynoy politics in an era marked by upsurge of Duterte’s popularity.

Own symbols

Yellow is associated with freshness and joy, energy and hope, honor and loyalty. But it can also be associated with cowardice, deceit and selfishness. Some child psychologists say babies cry more when their room is painted yellow. And yellow journalism sucks.

Yellow was first used to hype the return from U.S. exile by Noynoy’s dad Ninoy in 1983. The yellow ribbon tied to oak trees we don’t grow electrified the nation and soon became the rallying color of dissent after the opposition leader’s murder at the airport.

Not likely that its value would return if, say, there’s any move to topple the administration. Yellow seems to be a spent color, a franchise to bankrupted business. if applied to partisan interests.

Besides, each revolt, they say, would have its own actors, symbols and color. Maybe even pink.
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