Thursday, September 3, 2009

Defy Destiny

Becoming President is Noynoy’s destiny, we are told and there have been various attempts to describe 'destiny', both in religious and secular terms. When people talk of destiny, I start to get uncomfortable. Women, after all, have been ‘destined’ to be oppressed for several thousand years now – our biology, we have been told for several thousand years, is our 'destiny'.

As a young feminist discovering ‘herstory’ and trying to demystify the layers and layers of oppression that surrounded my life, I was quick to learn that ‘destiny’ was a mystification for the underlying patriarchal power relations which controlled my life. By mystifying these power relations, 'destiny' in fact, justified them and kept them in place. The only way to struggle for liberation was and is to challenge our ‘destiny’, which meant challenging the underlying power relations.

Anyone born into a powerful political clan in the Philippines is ‘destined’ to rule. That’s the class system of power relations in this country. Why Noynoy and not Mar? That can be put down to what I call the ‘accidental’ factors in life. Mar, however, is still ‘destined’ to be President, by virtue of his belonging to a family with wealth and therefore power and privilege. He could still fulfill his ‘destiny’ in 2016.

I will stick to the lessons I learned hard as a socialist-feminist. We, the oppressed and under-privileged, must challenge ‘our destiny’, or more accurately the 'destiny' that the system of elite rule imposes on us and in doing so challenge the privileged ‘destiny’ of the sons and daughters of the elite political clans.

I am waiting for a poor, Muslim woman, to challenge and defy her destiny and be a potential winner in a Presidential election. Then we know that change is nigh and that the masa are prepared to challenge and defy their destiny.

‘Defy your destiny’, should be our slogan for the day. And in so doing, we make it our own and collectively reshape it.