On a fiery noontime, after I finished my dessert, puto, a famous delicacy here in the Philippines, I switched the channel to a local news station and with horror, I saw flashed on the screen zoomed in footages of the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.
Marcos, the dictator, the human rights’ violator, the thief, and the President I wish the Philippines never had was given a hero’s burial by the nation whom he put in grave distress. Gun salutes honored him, the same that he used to shoot our fellow Filipinos. His body was finally laid to rest, even though thousands of families are still hoping to see their loved ones’ bodies after the bloody tortures. He was buried beside former heroes, such a disgrace to them who were worth honoring.
We cannot remove him there anymore. His marble gravestone with his intricately engraved silverplated name and signature now stands gloriously as quick as a blink of an eye in the heroes’ cemetery. But, we can instead be more vigilant. We should not allow this country to lose its freedom again for many had shed their blood to obtain it.
Never did I advocate forgiving the Marcoses for their debts because they never even asked this nation for forgiveness. Until this very second, they are still enjoying the fruits of the history they are trying to hammer down to be forgotten.
The young Marcoses are enjoying lavish dinners, music festivals, and boarding school education while majority of the Filipinos could not even eat three times a day, wear decent clothes, and go to school with proper ventilation and not be divided into batches because public schools could not accommodate all enrollees if they would follow a regular class schedule.
The immediate family of the dictator is still in public office, most likely with dreams of holding the highest position in the country once more.
It is saddening that many refuse to read, watch, or even listen. Martial Law is not just a “thingy.” It happened with chills and horrors one could get in a suspense-thriller movie. It is not a joke for many to say that it is okay if it happens again today.
Let us not walk with shutters and blinders because we were not the people who were tortured and killed. Let us not walk like we cannot stand for something just because we were not the people whose rights to speech were suppressed.
One heartbreak is a mistake, but allowing your heart to be broken once more by the same agent is your fault. Let us not allow ourselves to be blamed. Let us never forget. Let us not wait for the day that the only moment we open our eyes is when all of the freedom we enjoy now will be taken away and we allow fear to reign like a never-ending tale as old as time.