The revenge of the temperamental brats
Singapore—Recent rallies revealed a force far stronger than historical revisionism: history itself.
It is perfectly logical for the state burial of deposed President Ferdinand Marcos to most greatly anger those who grew up after 1986.
What was Luke Skywalker thinking when he was handed Anakin’s lightsaber? What was Harry Potter thinking when he was told how his parents died? What were students thinking when they stood on the sacred ground where the Marcos dictatorship was peacefully brought down?
Read the witty placards again. We know how to research! Why are we still here protesting, we thought our parents defeated Marcos? “We might not have been alive during that time but we are very much alive now.”
The latest Harry Potter movie, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” was released the day Marcos was buried. A key plot element was how American wizards would “obliviate” or erase the memories of witnesses to magic use. The original films emphasized less how the Ministry of Magic had a department of professional Obliviators, and Hermione Granger bewitched her own parents to save them from a Death Eater.
The placard “You can never Obliviate us” protested that if erasing old tweets is a major social sin, rewriting history is Voldemort’s handiwork.
I teased a campus writer whether she actually knew the lyrics to “Bayan Ko.” With the now familiar matter-of-fact,
I-know-how-to-research tone, she replied that she discovered it in theater and researched it on YouTube.
If the pride of Ateneo college basketball remains how Sen. Raul Manglapus wrote the “Blue Eagle, The King” cheer in 1938 and Sen. Richard Gordon still leads cheers, surely singing “Bayan Ko” in 2016 is like activating Anakin’s lightsaber.
But the rallies’ perspective was unmistakably 2016s. Look at deeply thought-out statements from individual student organizations.
The Ateneo Celadon, for example, cited the Chinese-Filipino community’s “unique perspective.” It acknowledged “Presidential Decree No. 1379, which permitted older generations of Chinese immigrants to gain citizenship through naturalization,” but stressed that “the organization, however, cannot ignore nor disregard the blatant violence, human rights violations and corruption.”
So wrote the 20-year-old traitors that national artist F. Sionil Jose´ publicly told to go back to China.
The Laban sign and color yellow disappeared. Instead of a Corazon Aquino, a Fidel Ramos or a Jaime Cardinal Sin, the 2016 crowd cheered educators: the University of the Philippines’ Michael Tan, Ateneo’s Fr. Jett
Villarin, and De La Salle’s Br. Jose Mari Jimenez. Youth criticized how Edsa became politicized, so they made it about injustice, history and ordinary heroes again.
We must empower our students to wield the full force of history. The Ateneo Rizal Library released an electronic copy of Primitivo Mijares’ “The Conjugal Dictatorship” last May, after student Pei Pica tagged it for help in a Twitter spat with President Marcos’ grandson Sandro.
Imagine if Ateneo republished Benjamin Pimentel’s “U.G.: An Underground Tale,” the biography of Edgar Jopson, Ateneo BS Management Engineering 1970, the student leader who infuriated Marcos by asking him to put in writing that he would not run for a third term.
If The GUIDON, Ateneo’s college paper, which reported live from the 2016 rallies, uploaded to the internet its student-written articles of the 1960s, depicting Jopson and a country descending into martial law.
If, in response to the idea that there were no movies about martial law, the Loyola Film Circle can show any film on its list, from Mike de Leon’s “Batch ’81” to Peque Gallaga’s “Oro Plata Mata.”
“Temperamental brats” has become the rallying cry “Ninoy, hindi ka nag-iisa (Ninoy, you are not alone)” once was. They researched how Marcos stole billions of pesos and the best of a generation, such as Jopson and UP’s Lean Alejandro. They now saw how he stole the Libingan ng mga Bayani. They have resolved that he cannot steal history as well.
React: [email protected], Twitter @oscarfbtan, facebook.com/OscarFranklinTan.
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