Rotten, But Still Sweet: A Slices of Life Martial Law Special

Would this have been possible?

I probably wouldn’t have had a computer and a keyboard, but a typewriter and paper. It would be what it was– a much simpler time devoid of technology.

Would I be this willing to speak? To mention names and grievances so freely? I don’t really know if my opinion would have mattered back then, but was it the sole concept of having an opinion against the government that served as basis for the atrocities that happened?

These were just some of the thoughts that were running through my mind (and are still doing so), as I read through articles that commemorated the proclamation of Martial Law. I admit that it isn’t a date in our history that sticks to me as well as June 12, and so I have social media to thank for reminding me about this pivotal point in our history (forgive me for this!!!).

The commemoration of the proclamation of Martial Law feels extremely timely, especially in the wake of a supposed Binay- Marcos tandem come 2016. When asked whether he would apologize for his father’s mistakes during Martial Law, this was Bongbong’s response:

“Will I say sorry for the thousands and thousands of kilometers [of roads] that were built? Will I say sorry for the agricultural policy that brought us to self-sufficiency in rice? Will I say sorry for the power generation? Will I say sorry for the highest literacy rate in Asia? What am I to say sorry about?””

One wonders whether he was simply ignorant of the things that happened, or he simply refused to acknowledge them. We can only hope that this won’t be a ‘like father, like son’ instance.

Beyond the economic progress and educational reform was the price of free speech, of media. Individuals that had years to go and a life ahead of them were traumatized and oftentimes killed all because they weren’t afraid to speak their minds.

This is definitely a stark contrast to the life led by the youth today– us.

The advent of technology and the freedom of speaking out have made the concept of opinions and thoughts seem almost useless. We hide behind pseudonyms and IP addresses and the comfort of knowing that we’ll never get caught.

This results in opinions for opinion’s sake. (I have been guilty of this numerous times– this blog is a testament to that).

I’m not saying it’s wrong to exercise this freedom, but there are times when speaking your mind should be done with a certain positive aim in mind: one that leads to action. Why should we limit ourselves to being the nameless sect of ‘netizens’ that bash politicians when the things we talk about on social media platforms can be discussions that encourage us to make the move?

Instead of hating on Binay for his skin color (which is underhanded even for someone like Binay), why not make the move to register and actually vote come 2016? In the mean time, why not make it a point to educate people on candidates, their policies and their past? Educate people to make the right choice.Propose solutions for everyday issues like traffic and BEEP cards instead of being complainers. Write rationally, post politely.

Better yet, use social mediums to instigate positive change.

The youth needs to know about these stories– about the atrocities, the deaths and the trauma that probably still lingers today. Perhaps it is awareness of what these activists, writers etc. went through that will truly open the eyes of those who still seem to not see the bigger picture.

Here’s to hoping that once awareness kicks in, appreciation for the freedom to speak out will follow, and along with this: the responsible use of extensive mediums like social media.

Today is not a happy day. #NeverAgain

Postscript: Jerrold Tarog’s got an extensive trilogy of period films to work on, so I’m calling on the future Brilliante Mendozas of this country– make a film about Martial Law. I’ve heard of the movie Dekada 70 (Vilma Santos, Luis Manzano..?) but haven’t seen works about it since. Consider it, please!!!!


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