Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Next Steps For Dodong

Last week I posted on the retirement of my friend Dodong Nemenzo as President of the University of the Philippines. Despite what must have been an extremely busy schedule he found the time to send me a thank you note. After all the speculation he has now revealed what he plans to do - besides teaching as Professor Emeritus - and that is "to bring together the best brains in UP and in the progressive movement to craft a Blueprint for a Feasible Alternative". Dodong offers this line of impeccable reasoning for someone who has never lost his radical fervour to make a better society:
As a young man filled with revolutionary fervor, I used to enjoy heckling the rich, the high and the mighty. This is all right when the country is doing well and it is necessary to shake people out of complacency. But when the country is in crisis, habitual faultfinding is counterproductive. It promotes cynicism, and there is no greater obstacle to change than cynicism among the people. Cynics do not fight for change, they look for an escape, they emigrate. If we as a people lose faith in our own capacity to create a better future, we can never transcend the current mess. It is time to think of an alternative program, but a feasible one around which the people can rally.
And what about rumours that he might run for public office? The answer is a categorical "no".
I don't have the charm, the money, nor the stomach for electoral politics. Besides, and more importantly, I do not see traditional politics as the path to national salvation.
So the die is cast. The Philippines needs people of Dodong's integrity now more than ever.


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