Writing this, will generate the ire of my family but I think it behooves me to share my story as I think that many young people would benefit from this (I hope)
(Note: Image from Inquirer)
For starters I did not experience the atrocities of martial law, In fact, I was not yet born at the time.
I was born in 1980 in a family hailing from the north (Echague, Isabela), one that can talk in Ilocano, Ibanag, and Yogad.
Needless to say, I grew up in a family that benefited from martial law.
Some of our relatives worked under the offices of the government at that time and provided food for our table. One can say that the milk I was given was supplied for by the government so one can only imagine how grateful my family was towards Marcos.
I was indoctrinated from a very young age that Marcos was the real hero of EDSA, that martial law was heaven for the country, that Cory and Ninoy were not good people.
If I ask why, they would answer- it was because Marcos said so, and THEY said so, and that's the end of it.
You see, in our family you never question authority, everything they said is the law. That was how they were brought up back in the province.
I would go to school shouting “Marcos, Marcos, Marcos Pa Rin!” complete with the V sign and the red shirt that I was so proud to wear.
I shun the color yellow and would look down on it every chance I get.
So for years I glorified Marcos and would always defend his legacy, always using the same arguments of Marcos Loyalists like:
- Marcos built this and built that…
- It was Imelda's fault and not Marcos on why there are problems at that time…
- Marcos made the country rich…
- Marcos made the country peaceful…
- Marcos stopped communists from overrunning the country…
- Marcos cleaned everything… from trash to squatters…
- Marcos is the most intelligent and most able President ever and he was also a war hero…
- EDSA revolution happened but look at what it made the country into a total mess, compared to Marcos‘ Philippine heaven.
- All of our politicians steal from the country at least Marcos did something out of it…
- The country was the tiger of Asia at the time of Marcos, but look at it now we are swimming in poverty…
(This list I would later see when Facebook came to light, being spread around and random people just sharing it)
I even met the late President Cory Aquino, but I just looked at her and thought she corrupted the country. (Until now I am regretting that episode of my life)
Now how did I become a non-believer of martial law?
How could an ardent, well-trained from birth Marcos lover become one of those people standing up on FB whenever people are spreading the legacy of Marcos?
What triggered my conversion?
To tell you the truth it wasn't easy, I mean it entails thinking over a lot of things and swallowing my pride.
And that is harder than most things to accept.
To admit and recognize that there is a problem with what I believe.
You see, I can be a believer of martial law but by doing so would also mean I would have to deny the atrocities and injustices that happened back then.
Consequently, it would also mean being a believer of martial law and not denying all the atrocities and injustices that happened back then while looking at it as “necessary.”
And that makes it a moral dilemma.
I have to ask myself:
- Did these things (incarceration, tortures, disappearances, murders) happen? If so why?
- Why was martial law proclaimed in the first place?
- Who benefited from martial law?
- Why was there an EDSA revolution?
- Was EDSA revolution necessary?
- Who were Ninoy Aquino and his wife?
- Who were the people who suffered under martial law and what were their stories?
- Why did people hate Marcos at that time?
- What was the state of the country at that time?
- If Marcos was so good why can't he control Imelda?
- If Marcos was so good, why did these things (incarceration, tortures, disappearances, salvaging, murders) happen under his watch?
- What was Marcos‘ reason for declaring martial law and why?
- Did Marcos steal money from the country? If yes how much?
- If I was one of the victims of the abuses of Martial law what would I feel?
- If one of my loved ones was a victim of Martial law what would I feel?
- If a family of mine got tortured, disappeared and murdered by Martial law would I still continue to support it?
“WHY DO I BELIEVE WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT MARTIAL LAW?”
I realize that I have to ask these questions and look at the evidence and go to where it leads me.
I would have to look at facts and evidence from outside of the country, from people and organizations that are not influenced by the political forces of the government.
I realize that I cannot just justify Martial Law based on my opinion, because even though I may have the right to do so I cannot have the right to have my own facts.
People say (people I engage in FB on martial law) that I am waxing emotional on how I approach Martial law.
They say that Martial law also did something good for the country despite its shortcomings.
The thing is I cannot agree to that statement.
Because it is short as saying that an abusive husband is still a moral person as long as he provides for the family.
I believed that statement back then, and for the life of me will do anything in my capacity to stop the future generations in doing so.