Looking around in my old files I found a filk song which I composed while out on the street during People Power II in early 2001. I wrote it down in a file after I (finally) went home and forgot about it, until recently. It's basically a filk on Don McLean's American Pie, and just as he has a fair number of obscure references to American postwar popular culture in it, this filk features a lot of references to Philippine politics and recent history that should be familiar to any non-expatriate Filipino born before or during the Martial Law period (i.e. 1972 to 1986). I've made a few pipelinks throughout to allow those less familiar with my nation's sad history to understand at least a little of it. I can only hope that noders out there like Langdon and flyingroc have noded the links thoroughly enough, lest this be just as obscure as the original American Pie...

A long, long time ago
I could still remember when freedom was within our hands.
And I knew that if I was strong
I could make right what was wrong
And maybe we'd have freedom in our land
But September now, that didn't thrill me
The new decree it really chilled me.
Martial law was declared
Everyone was running scared.
I can't remember if I cried
When I heard all of those lies
But something touched me deep inside
The day democracy died.


Cry, cry, for our nation will die
Maybe later, new dictator
It's just a matter of time
But someday we'll stop buying into their lies
And then our lowly nation will rise
Our lowly nation will rise

Did you write the little red book
And do you know just what it took
To have a revolutionary mind?
Or did you leave when you had the chance
To a country free of this devil's dance
Away from the lies and chains that bind?
Or did you struggle without a choice,
In a nation that had no voice,
We were plundered, raped, and burned
Yet still we do not learn.
But as for me, I was born too late
Yet did not escape this tragic fate
And yes, indeed I could relate
To the day democracy died.
So now I'm singing...

Helter skelter in election swelter
The dictator came out of shelter
To prove that he was in control.
But there we were out in the streets
When we knew that he would cheat
And to win at all cost was his goal.
There was a call out to crusade
To build a human barricade
The army was out in force
But we didn't swerve our course.
So the dictator turned away and fled
A few years later he was dead
So we thought the long night would end
Of the day democracy died.
And we were singin'...

And for twelve years we were on our own
And thought ourselves free of the heavy stone
But that's not how it really was.
For they put our country up for sale
To any enterprise of the right scale
Development was the reason they gave us.
They sold our blood, sweat, and our tears
And our wealth suddenly disappears.
But that was just the thing:
Another nation was our king.
And as imperialists tried to take our fields
The farmers they refused to yield
For they knew just what was revealed
The day democracy died.
And they were singin'...

And there we were out of our place
A nation that had lost its face
With no time left to start again.
So an actor ran, and an actor won,
An actor became our number one,
Because we thought he might be the poor man's friend.
But when his corruption I could gauge
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
We all felt betrayed.
A reckoning would be paid!
So into the streets again we came
As we heaped curses upon his name
For everything was just the same
As the day democracy died.
And we were singin'...

So we took a small girl up to the seat
And gave her our hopes as we left the streets
But she just smiled and turned away.
So I went to where the monument stands
To the hero of all our land
And asked if we'd be truly free someday.
He said what we needed was to learn
To love our country and to turn
Away from ignorance and fear
To hold right and justice dear.
And the hero I admire most
Who told me to tell this to every coast
They shot him and he became a ghost
The day democracy died.
And he was singin'...

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