How to move on
I still remember that time back in high school when I first read about martial law and the Marcos regime. I stumbled upon articles on disappearances, forced entry by military men, and the violence, abuse and inhumane punishments. I felt a pinch in my gut while reading those stories of injustice. I knew for sure that the Marcos era was not a good time for us. Well, at least for some of us.
Ferdinand Marcos’ burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani last November sparked protest rallies across the nation. Activists, students and members of institutions and reform groups took to the streets to express dismay at the burial and the Supreme Court decision allowing it. The youth became the key actors in the protest actions. Through the solid foundation of groups and the power of social media, the millennials proved that fighting for what is true has no age limit.
But ignorance knows no age and apologists tell, even force, us to move on. The thousands of lives sacrificed for the freedoms we are enjoying now have been summed up into those two words. But how can you move on? How can you forgive when there is no apology or any admission of guilt from the Marcos family? How can you move on when justice has yet to be served?
Now go and tell all those who suffered under Marcos rule to move on, to get on with their lives, for our country to heal. Tell them to forgive the persons who have yet to acknowledge their sins or prove their innocence. Go ahead and tell us lies about our country’s morbid past, because we will prove you all wrong.
We choose to speak out and be heard, not because we know better, but because we know the truth. We are standing up for all those who have been denied the justice they fought for, or are still fighting for. We believe in the principles of democracy and we are exercising the freedom for which our brothers and sisters died. Because that’s how democracy works—not for only a chosen few, but for the whole.
Now we tell you this: Moving on from the tragedy of martial law is not as easy as moving on from your ex. It’s more than a broken relationship or a petty quarrel. Blood was shed for our country to be freed of the false poet that all these apologists continue to admire and worship. We value heroism and we will not praise a dictator—the antagonist in every martial law story.
Hope is alive for all of us and we will continue to fight this great injustice. No hatchet will ever be buried between Filipinos and the dictator’s family as long as his remains are buried in the grounds decreed for heroes.
We will move on from this ignorance and stand up for the truth. That is how we will move on.
Matthew James D. Derramas, 21, is a political science graduate of West Visayas State University.
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