To make our young feel martial law horrors
Sadly, A huge number of Filipinos have a distorted view of martial law. I realized this while reading the many social media comments on the tight race for the vice presidency between the late dictator’s son and the widow from Bicol.
I feel sorry for those who have been brainwashed into believing that a grim period in Philippine history was a “golden era,” that martial law was good for the nation. The fact is, during the dark days of dictatorship, many were imprisoned, tortured, even raped and killed just for being vocal with their dissenting political views!
Which brings me to another point: It is understandable that Filipinos were disappointed when the Cory Aquino administration, which succeeded the Marcos dictatorship, failed to dramatically turn the country around as they had hoped for and expected. But it disturbs me that supposedly schooled and thinking Filipinos are peddling the idea that Cory Aquino’s failure to live up to the people’s great expectations has made martial law palatable and preferable.
All the abuses perpetrated against countless civilians by the regime can never be justified! All the extrajudicial killings done to prop up the dictatorship are unpardonable!
The inability to feel with the victims and survivors of human rights violations committed by the Marcos regime is a form of affliction. To feel pain from those atrocities, one need not go through the experience; all he has to have is a sense of humanity.
I therefore join the call to make our young today more aware of the martial law abuses and terror. And in this light, I would like to share some suggestions that I came across online these past few weeks:
- Build a martial law museum. It’s high time we had this!
- Include in all Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies) and Philippine History textbooks to be used in schools a section on martial law, how it took away our freedom and rights and stunted the country’s development.
- Have students write and perform skits or plays about the massive corruption in the martial law years.
- Gather the survivors of martial law abuses and engage them to share their personal experiences during martial law with students in school tours.
- For broadcast media, theater groups, film producers and writers, produce documentaries, plays and movies about martial law.
Here’s praying that these ideas (and other good ones out there) will be realized soon enough for and through all generations.
Let’s hope that when presented with the truth, the Filipino youth will become more discerning when they vote in future elections.
—CLAUDE LUCAS C. DESPABILADERAS
English teacher, JASMS-QC
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