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The Learning curve

Dear Millennials

/ 02:11 AM December 03, 2016

Did you know that in 1733, Samuel Madden wrote “Memoirs of the Twentieth Century”? It’s the first known work of fiction that uses time travel to drive the narrative. It predates the more popular HG Wells novel, “The Time Machine,” by 162 years.

“Memoirs” is actually a satirical social commentary of 18th-century Great Britain and Europe, delivered through a succession of cleverly crafted “Letters of State … received and revealed in the Year 1728” supposedly written two centuries later, in 1998 and 1999. Madden imagines “the most Important Events in Great Britain and Europe , as to  Church and State, Arts and Sciences, Trade, Taxes, and Treaties, Peace, and War, and Characters of the Greatest Persons … from the Middle of the Eighteenth, to the end of the Twentieth Century, and the WORLD.”

If your schools and teachers had Madden’s creativity or HG Wells’ time machine, they could actually take you to witness major historical events as they transpire or see what the distant future looks like. History would be your most favorite subject in school twice over. The truth, however, is that many of you probably didn’t appreciate Hekasi or Araling Panlipunan that much because all your teachers asked you to do was memorize names, dates and places from dull and boring textbooks.

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If only you could change the past, but even Hollywood and television’s Sci-Fi creators concede that you can’t do that because if you did, the present timelines would be altered in dramatically unpredictable ways, even just in screenplays.

But this is exactly what the Marcos political machinery is trying to do. After decades of lying in wait, its movers and minions finally found a way to surreptitiously bury the remains of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Nine Supreme Court justices said, “Notwithstanding the call of human rights advocates, the Court must uphold what is legal and just. And that is not to deny Marcos his rightful place at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. For even the Framers of our Constitution intend that full respect for human rights is available at any stage of a person’s development, from the time he or she becomes a person to the time he or she leaves this earth.” The remaining five, including Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno herself, strongly disagreed and they said so in no uncertain terms.

With that, our contemporary history is being reshaped to suit the Marcos narrative.

Dear Millennials, you have now stood up and declared as clearly as you can—in the most delightfully creative ways—that you will not be party to such blatant historical revisionism.

As Maria Serena “Maris” Diokno, the eminent historian and recently resigned chair of the National Historical Commission, said, “At this moment in our history, every voice counts, and I wish to place mine on the side of History: not the history that the Duterte government ignores, but the History that beckons our people to demand justice that even the highest court of the land will not bestow. The burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is wrong; it denies our History, erases the memory of the lives lost and destroyed, mocks the collective action we took to oust the dictator, and denigrates the value of our struggle for freedom.

“But the multitude of especially young Filipinos who have come out in defense of History and are prepared to co-author it for their generation and the future point to one clear realization: they, we all, will guard our history.”

Some who are older and are supposed to know better have chosen to insult you by belittling your courage, intellect and forthrightness. How could you know what martial law was? they ask. You’re too young, you weren’t there. Just shut up and go back to school where you belong, they say.

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Well, I’m older than you, I was there, and I say they are wrong. Yours is a proud tradition. Throughout history, young men and women exactly like yourselves have fought for what is right. So stand your ground, and we’re honored to stand with you.

Butch Hernandez (butchhernandez@gmail.com) is the executive director of the Eggie Apostol Foundation.

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TAGS: “Memoirs of the Twentieth Century”?, “The Time Machine”, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, fiction, HG Wells, Maria Serena “Maris” Diokno, memoirs, national historical commission, Novel, Samuel Madden
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