The truths about Marcos martial law

BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) - February 27, 2016 - 9:00am

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, and in the final act, by determination and faith.”

When Bongbong Marcos said: “ I am ready to say sorry if I knew what I have to be sorry for,” he is telling us that he believes that his father – Ferdinand Marcos – was right when he declared martial law. He is telling us that there is no need to apologize for the 14 years of suppression of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. He is telling us that there is no need to apologize for the 14 years when persons were  imprisoned without any chance to defend themselves and many others who simply disappeared. He is telling us there is no need to apologize for the rampant corruption and crony capitalism that turned the Philippines from the second richest nation in Asia to the acknowledged “sick man of Asia.”

Those who engage in the attempt to revise the truth about those 14 dark years are avoiding the use of terms that describe the Marcos regime – martial law, dictatorship, crony capitalism. Their real purpose is an attempt to revise the truth through clever deception and lies.

Those in media who are trying to convince us that the martial law years did not really happen  should remember that  prominent members of media were among the first victims of martial law. They were imprisoned simply because they were members of a free press – Chino Roces, Teodoro Locsin, Jose Mari Velez, Max Soliven, Nap Rama, Geny Lopez and many others.

In his EDSA 30 speech, President Aquino quoted a famous line from a movie: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.” This is what the martial law apologists are trying to do to convince us – that martial law did not really happen. This is the same attempt by neo-Nazis who are trying to convince the world that the Holocaust – the murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis – did not really happen.

When the Marcos apologists tell us that it is “time to move on” and that remembering the Marcos martial law years is “politics of division,” their underlying theme is that they want the Filipino people to forget about those brutal years. But it is true that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

This is the reason that in Germany there are museums to remind the German people about the brutalities of their past history under Hitler and Nazi Germany. The leaders of modern Germany believe that it is important to keep reminding their people about the dark days of Nazism in order to ensure that it never happens again.

The Japanese royal family and its leaders have had the courage to apologize for the abuses committed by the Japanese military regime during the Second World War. These apologies are acts of courage which the perpetrators of the Marcos martial law years seem unable to emulate.

In the ongoing battle between the truths of the martial law regime and the attempts to revise history, the People Power Experiential Museum is a brilliant and emotion filled journey back to the martial law years.

It is like no other museum I have ever seen. It combines theater (with real live actors), cinema, photography and other forms of performing arts. It recreates stories of martial law and the bloodless revolution that finally restored democracy.

It reinforces the story that the four days at EDSA in February 1986 was just the culmination of a long journey that begun on the first day of martial law – Sept. 21, 1972. There are Nine Halls, each one representing a period of the Marcos dictatorship years and a specific theme

The Hall of the Restless Sleep features bound people with videos of Marcos declaring martial law. It represents a nation lulled to sleep and the suppression of all freedoms. The Hall of Hidden Truths is filled with photos of slums and beggars and peepholes showing a masquerade ball with Marcos cronies partying. The background music is Imelda’s favorite song “Dahil Sa ’yo.” The Hall of Orphans features child actors portraying children looking for parents abducted, tortured and disappeared during martial law. The Hall of the Lost shows photos of missing activists and sculptures of their families. The Hall of Maze shows videos about people who were abducted during the Marcos years.

The Hall of Pain shows various torture methods with actors pretending it is a carnival show. The hall of Forgotten Martyrs depicts the lives of four persons – Jopson, Macli-ing, Barros and Evelio Javier – and how they were assassinated by government forces. The Hall of Awakening shows the video featuring the arrival, arrest and assassination of Ninoy Aquino. Then it shows a Marine armored personnel carrier depicting the role of the military in the EDSA revolt. The Hall of Action displays memorabilia and scenes from the EDSA People Power revolt including the nuns standing firmly in front of the tanks.

P-Noy ended his EDSA 30 message to the millennial generation: “You will benefit the most if we are able to protect our freedom, and God willing, you understand the responsibility you bear. God willing, we will all do our part so that darkness will never consume the Philippines once more...the freedom we so long dreamed of will never ever be taken away from us once more.”

Creative writing class for kids and teens

On Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at 5 p.m., there will be book signing open to the public by co- authors of The Aquino Legacy – Neni Sta. Romana Cruz and Elfren Sicangco Cruz – in Fully Booked  Bonifacio High Street.

Young Writers’ Hangout on March 5, 2016 (1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.) at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street.  For registration and fee details, 0917-6240196/writethingsph@gmail.com.

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Email: elfrencruz@gmail.com

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