Editorial: Truer ‘Never again!’ vow-A A +A
Saturday, September 22, 2012
IN THE 1980s, students of a school in Cebu City fought hard to widen the democratic space in the campus, shedding sweat and blood for the purpose. They were rewarded with an independent student council and a campus publication worthy of being called a student paper.
Fast forward more than a couple of decades later and the independence of the school’s student council has already been compromised. The campus publication is once again being controlled by the school administration.
Identities don’t matter in this narrative, what is important is what happened. Those who think that tyranny can’t make a comeback if we become complacent should better look at this example.
Forty years ago yesterday, then president Ferdinand Marcos placed the country under Martial Law and instituted a dictatorial rule that lasted for years. In February of 1986 the dictatorship was toppled and the dictator fled into exile. End of story?
Fast forward more than two decades later. While Marcos died in exile the other members of his family, including the other half of the so-called conjugal dictatorship, have been, slowly but surely, wiggling themselves back into relevance.
That could be capped by a presidential run for Marcos’s son and namesake in the 2016 elections. The Marcos family are obviously preparing for that “battle,” where the validity of the 1986 revolt and the causes that it represented will be put to a test and whose outcome could determine the manner Sept. 21, 1972 will be interpreted or reinterpreted.
In a way, the Filipino people’s complacency can be blamed for this. While they were busy attending to their daily existence, the remnants of the dictatorship were busy regaining power and influence and peddling a revisionist view of the Martial Law years and the dictatorship.
It’s good that there seems to be building up a renewed sense of purpose among those who have experienced what it was like to live under tyrannical rule and fought to end it. The reminiscing is stronger this year than in the past, and that is a good indication.
Those who forget the mistakes of the past are bound to repeat them. That is why the mantra, “Never again!” should be stronger now and in the coming years. “Never again!” should no longer sound hollow.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 22, 2012.