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“The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky
Historical negationism isn’t new, and I would soon find out that even in the education sector, there are teachers, intellectuals, and professors who are trying to re-calibrate the discussion of Martial Law (ML).
One of their arguments was that ML should be taught ‘objectively.’
And this goes without saying to teach the history of ML while highlighting its pros and cons.
To withhold judgment until the “benefits” were also discussed.
I mean, seriously?
Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator who enforced kidnapping, torture, rape, massacres, and tons of human rights abuses, and you still give him the benefit of the doubt to consider the “good things” he did for the country?
For one, what do these academicians mean by good?
The good in which the country benefited or the good in which the dictator and people who supported him helped themselves with?
Also, does doing something “good” exonerate Ferdinand Marcos from all the crimes he committed?
The answer is NO, so what gives?
It’s just like saying Ted Bundy was a good and diligent employee despite kidnapping and murdering women. Thus, in telling his story, these things must be highlighted to promote “objectivity.”
There is an excellent reason why people never use that argument for Hitler, Stalin & Mao.
Them who, out of a whim, wiped out millions of their own.
Ferdinand Marcos wiped out thousands of Filipinos too, so why can’t he belong among those people considered as bastions of dictatorship?
Is there a quota before he becomes ‘admissible’ within this blood-thirsty club?
The thing is, it was only back in 2017 that the world bank exposed its findings in Mindanao under the time of Martial Law.
There were at least 5 million Muslims who disappeared after Martial Law.
The world bank suspects a genocide happened as they can’t figure out where the 5 million Muslims went in that period. Martial Law was implemented.
While listening to a webinar on how to teach about Martial Law in High Schools, I chanced upon hearing a participant, a High School teacher, and he sounded very disappointed and almost desperate.
You can literally feel the frustration, that his voice cracked every once in a while asking this question.
The teacher said that it is hard to teach Martial Law to students because: “Nothing has changed”.
“The Philippines, is still poor and the students base it on the infrastructures built under Marcos therefore the country enjoyed a Golden Age.”
“How can we teach Martial Law if this is the reality that our students see?”
While this statement might sound true because a lot of buildings built under Marcos still stands today, the information also unconsciously implies three points that need to be addressed:
1. It implies that the blame for the downfall of this “Golden Age” rests on the people who fought Marcos, and get this… the people who fought for our Democracy and Human Rights made people poor.
2. It implies that this “Golden Age” is without corruption or any form of human rights violations or any wrongdoing.
3. It also implies that the poverty that existed before and after Marcos in our country is not related to the amount of money plundered by Marcos.
I could reach out to the teacher and perhaps give him five questions he could’ve asked and discussed with his students regarding their “reality.”
This is the Rotary Club’s Four-Way Test:
- Is it the TRUTH? (Are their beliefs true? Is history just a subjective point of view, or are there ways to approach history objectively?)
- Is it FAIR to all concerned? (What does it mean to be fair? How do we know something is reasonable?)
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? (to all the victims of Martial Law and to those who benefitted from Martial Law)
- Will it be Beneficial to all concerned? (in this case, the current situation and Filipinos who inherited the debts accrued under Martial Law)
And lastly (and this is the cherry on top):
- What are the lessons we should learn as human beings about the Nuremberg Trials?
A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open. – Frank Zappa