Desecrating history by legislation
“One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation” (Thomas B. Reed, speech, 1886). To declare Sept. 11 as “President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day” in Ilocos Norte to commemorate the birth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos is to desecrate history by legislation. It’s a shameful attempt at historical revisionism.
We have not learned from the lessons of Marcos’ martial rule sufficiently, which the Inquirer rightly described as “an exemplar [of] the culture of plunder, repression, impunity, and state violence that was the hallmark of the Marcos conjugal dictatorship” (Editorial, “Desecrating history,” 9/6/20). It’s like rubbing salt into the wounds of the survivors of martial law and their succeeding generation.
While it has been conveniently rationalized by its proponents and no less than Senate President Tito Sotto as one of local application, the impending law (the bill breezed through the House of Representatives on third reading) has national as well as international ramifications. Notably, Marcos was a national, not merely a local, persona; and therefore his shadow is cast not only over Ilocos Norte but across the nation and the international sphere. As Solita Collas-Monsod, an Ilocano herself, effectively and tersely put it in her column (“An insult to Ilocanos,” 9/5/20), let us think and act as Filipinos first before being Ilocanos.
It’s another big joke that the monolithic house of Congress has visited upon the Filipino people. It’s a joke that’s not even funny to the Ilocanos in general, and makes the Filipinos a laughingstock in the world which held them in high regard when they overthrew the dictatorship in an unprecedented peaceful people power revolt in 1986.
The recently passed House bill is also a portrayal of our misfortune — that of having a bunch of robotic and dumb legislators.
To paraphrase Georges Braque’s “Pensées sur l’art,” truth exists even if falsehood has to be invented.
DIOSDADO V. CALONGE
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