A couple of days ago, I forced a group of Grade 11 kids to interview me for their research on Martial Law. I felt it was my social responsibility to, since the people they were interviewing at the office – born in Marcos’ Martial Law – happen to be Ilocanos who, of course, have only positive things to say about the dawn of darkness in the Philippines. Hearing how they blame the people who fought the regime for their own deaths, rapes, and tortures was appalling.
I told them, no, I wasn’t even born yet during Martial Law – something that isn’t my fault. All I know and feel about it I based from books, movies, documentaries, talks, studies, and other sources, primary, secondary, or tertiary. The kids were supposed to interview those who had personally experienced Martial Law… but this is North Luzon, hello? Good thing the kids got excited for [maybe finally] finding one person who has a differing opinion.
Anyway, as I always say, just because the Martial Law abuses and atrocities didn’t happen to you or your family or your friends doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.
What surprised me was my answer.
For some reason, I found myself not angry anymore, compared to the state of my heart since the late dictator was buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani last November, and I realized I hadn’t been angry for some time. I hadn’t been reacting or commenting to actually anything related to it. I had been avoiding conversations about it. And I had changed my Facebook profile picture from black to my son’s selfie.
And for some reason, I’m not angry at myself for not being angry anymore. Thinking about it, is it because of the catechisms I’ve been hearing at Church lately? Or maybe I got affected by the Fathers’ homilies about peace. (This is to you, Mr. Duterte, for all your disrespectful speeches about the Catholic Church: peace be with you.)
This doesn’t mean I approve of Marcos, of Marcos’ burial, or Marcos’ Martial Law, or Duterte, or Duterte’s creeping Martial Law. I told the kids, no, I don’t and won’t ever want Martial Law. But the answer to the why was something I didn’t see coming.
Declaring Martial Law is laziness. It means the government is too lazy to exert effort to educate and instill good values in its citizenry. If a government pushes for better education and values formation, love for his country and love for his countrymen will naturally emerge… because humans are, by nature, good.
And this I didn’t get to tell the kids because I hadn’t thought of it during the interview: declaring Martial Law means the government has lost hope in the inherent goodness of people.
I actually felt I answered like a Miss Universe.