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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Remembering the Martial Law Years

My parents and most of our neighbors in my hometown didn’t seem to find anything wrong with the Martial Law era, so I grew up thinking that Ferdinand Marcos’ iron rule spelled only greatness for our country: Marcos built our extensive irrigation systems and flood-control structures; Marcos made concrete highways that lasted for years; Marcos ensured the rule of law and struck fear in the hearts of cattle rustlers and other criminal elements; Marcos made the Philippines glamorous on the world stage of politics and the arts; Marcos…

After high school, I was to see the dark side of the Marcos years primarily through my readings of the horrifying accounts of abduction, torture, murder, and other forms of repression during that period.  And I began to notice the cracks on Apo Makoy’s hallowed statue that had long cast a great shadow over Ilokandia.  The rays of truth about desaparecidos and glossy propaganda in an autocratic state shot through the cracks and an epiphany of some sorts finally dawned on me.  And so mine became another coming-of-age mini-story.

No, this doesn't mean that I have to totally demonize Marcos and everything that has come to represent him.  It just means that when Imelda says she doesn't have anything to regret about Martial Law or when she talks about beauty and truth and God, I want to puke.


The books were all ears, as were students poring over research materials, and the lower floor of our school library temporarily suspended its “Shhh!” policy.   The impassioned readings about harrowing stories of repression and abuse were too electrifying to miss:

♣ “Sa Panahon ni Hitler (Bangungot)” ni Luchie Maranan (read by the author herself)

"Martial Law (sa pananaw ng hindi ipinanganak ng panahong ito)," blog post ni "annemarxze" (binasa ni Christian Fajardo)

"Para Kay James Balao" ni Priscilla Supnet Macansantos (binasa ni Shekinah Queri)

♣ Kabanata 26 ng Etsa–Puwera ni Jun Cruz Reyes (binasa ni Abigail Torreliza)

♣ Mula sa "Tutubi, Tutubi, Huwag Kang Papahuli sa Mamang Salbahe" ni Jun Cruz Reyes (binasa ni Faye Abalos)

Of course, my favorite reading was that of Professor Abalos whose vocal manipulation of the text can melt a metallic heart (at boses pa lang yun ha hehe... ).

May we not forget these and other mini–stories of anguish so that we can, in times of merriment, remember that we can now freely chat and laugh because brave souls in the past were willing to be gagged and silenced for our sake.


kcjacinto89 said...

Hi Sir. Marcos is my favorite President. He did so many good things for the country and YES, also so many bad things. But he could stand on his own, he can make things happen, and he is such a strong and influential leader. There is just something that is wrong with his leadership which led the people to start a revolution.

And Yes, Me too, I puke whenever Mrs. Imelda flashes on the screen and say "ang gusto ko lang naman ay makilala ang Pilipinas dahil sa kagandahan" (puke!). She is such a drama queen.

scott saboy said...

that's why the media still finds her still appealing di ba hehe. good to hear from you again KC. ingatz lagi :)

dina said...

yeah....the good and the bad as you said....marcos is my favorite president because of his firm decision and yes i agree many was hurt but i still like his rule (minus the martial law, but not the martial law itself, the leaders who abused it. with the kind of government we have we need iron hands from a good leader, maybe)... and i hate noynoy aquino for saying that marcos is not qualified to be buried at the libingan ng mga bayani...he has all the right...he was a president, he was a soldier and he fought for spratley islands...i will believe aquino's words "hindi ako magnanakaw" if he'll promise a better future for the workers of hacienda luisita and a just right for the land they are tilling......edsa 1 is worthless becuase the aquinos made it their business, as if it's all about two families only: the aquinos and the marcoses....peace....

scott saboy said...

wen met a kabsat. ket musta ngayen jay lakay dita? Ni ngay paborito ta nga estudyakes hehe?