November 8, 2016

How Quickly We Forget

History, as most dictionaries would put it, it is the study of the past. It is a collection of facts that is studied so that we may learn from the mistakes and be able to forge a better future and not go back to the dark past.

"The study of History is the beginning of wisdom." - Jean Bodin (1530 - 1596), French economist

I believe that studying the past is the stepping stone of understanding ourselves as human beings. The tremendous effort scientists have put into knowing our origin as humans and the earth we live in is a testament of its importance, or else why would they even have interest in it in the first place?

Historians sum the history of the culture in the Philippines as '300 years in the convent and 50 years in Hollywood.' - Now that would be one way of saying it, but as a people we are more than that. History shows that we have historical evidence of different Kingdoms led by Datu and Rajah as early as 900AD. The Spanish did not come to the Philippines until 1521, and did not conquer Manila until 1571. We already had our system of Government even before the Spanish came, but we had several governments controlling their own Kingdom, we were not a Nation.

Today we call our country The Philippines, and our citizens Filipino. But are we a nation?

Photo Credit: Official Gazette of the Philippines

The Marcos Burial

November 8, 2016 - The Supreme Court of the Philippines allowed the Burial of Former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani (Rough Translation: Cemetery/Grave of the Heroes)

He is known in our history as the Dictator of the Philippines who reigned for 21 years, his long record of corruption and atrocities suffered by the Filipinos from 1965-1986 led the past generation to take the streets and throw him out of the country. 

Well that is the history we've all known, and also that's how the world would put it. But just today, with the decision made by the Supreme Court, the country is put in a historical dilemma, not to mention that a lot rejoiced of the decision, these however are the loyalist who shouts 'Marcos Pa Rin!' 

The Supreme Court defended that they had made the decision based on 5 main reasons. I now lifted the following text in RED from CNN Philippines (Link of Article:

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — It's decided: Former President Ferdinand Marcos can be buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (LNMB), the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.
Voting 9-5, Supreme Court spokesperson Ted Te said the high court dismissed all the petitions challenging the proposed burial of the former strongman Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery.
He said the Supreme Court dismissed the petitions based on five main reasons:
  1. There was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of President Rodrigo Duterte in ordering the burial of Marcos at LNMB because it was done in the exercise of his mandate. There is also no law that prohibits the burial of Marcos' remains at the LNMB
  2. President Duterte has the power to reserve for public use and for specific public purposes, any of the lands under public domain.
  3. Marcos' remains, under regulations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, can be interred at LNMB because he was a former president, commander-in-chief, soldier, medal of valor awardee, and legislator.
  4. The Supreme Court disagreed Marcos was "dishonorably discharged," saying the disqualification only pertains to the military
  5. Marcos cannot be disqualified from burial at LNMB because he was not convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude.
So who were the judges who voted against and for the burial of Ferdinand Marcos?

Photo Credit: CNN Philippines
Based on the decision of the Supreme Court, Marcos passed all 'legal obstacles'. This was the moment when I realized how faulty the justice system is, or at least in making this decision. I thought that if technicalities is all that is to be decided, he's qualified. But it failed to decide whether it was ethical to let him be buried with 'Heroes'. 

The Supreme Court failed to judge the person by his overall morality. Morality, I believe is the foundation of humanity, it is the universal truth and applies to all nations. The Supreme Court lost their credibility and spat directly on the face of Lady Justice.

"When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness" - Alexis de Tocqueville

Think of this: Adolf Hitler - The head of the Nazi Regime, also a military man. He mobilized the killing of 6 million Jews, he invaded countries. Now if the Supreme Court of the Philippines would decide if he has the right to be buried among the sacred resting grounds of heroes basing only in the legal technicalities of the constitution (That he is a head of state, and a military personnel), I'm sure he is qualified. But what about the murder of 6 million Jews? What about the victims of his crimes? Is it moral to call Adolf Hitler a hero? Even Germany does not think so.

What are we as a nation if our Justice System is not rooted in Morality? 

With this decision, does this discredit all his crimes? Does it mean that the history we knew is flawed and distorted? Is this the moral decision?

Was Martial Law and the 1986 People Power Revolution a figment of our imagination?
I have to ask my parents and my grandmother if these events really happened, because I am caught in a historical dilemma. History presents me data that prove that Marcos was indeed a plunderer, a dictator, and a human rights violator. But the Supreme Court decision qualifies him to be buried where heroes are laid to rest. Heroes. Again, Heroes.

I haven't heard or read anything about a criminal being hailed as a Hero. By allowing a criminal to be buried among heroes, doesn't that present a dilemma? Especially for the place where it says "Here lay heroes", it does not say "Here lay heroes, and a dictator."

Allowing a former President who is not worthy of emulation promotes impunity to history.

"Salvaged Memories" Mural by Randalf Dilla
This presents a grave threat to our identity nation because the decision attempts to erase a part of our history that defined us. This is almost erasing the fact that we were colonized by Spain for 300 years, that General Douglas MacArthur never returned to the Philippines, that the Atom Bomb was never dropped.

So is the Supreme Court decision telling us that these following photos never happened?

'To be ignorant of the past is to remain a child'. - paraphrase from an observation by Cicero

'The supreme purpose of history is a better world'. - Herbert Hoover

Why is history it important to building a nation?

Because history helps us understand change and how we came to be today. It is our footprint to the world, our history is inescapable, and if one understands his national history, it gives him an identity, to which for us, we call ourselves Filipino.

History is a sheer reminder of the wrong decisions of the past that haunt us today. A perfect example is Ferdinand Marcos stealing billions and billions of our country's wealth through kickbacks and projects. Yes, he did build a lot of infrastructure that the country uses until today, but isn't that the rightful job of the President? To lead us into prosperity. But what he did was build his fortune. And today the Supreme Court, who Marcos closed when he declared Martial Law, approves his burial.

Filipinos lack the understanding of the importance of history
A lot of Filipinos are lost because they do not know their past. Why did we call ourselves "Filipino". They often dismiss history as a mere past that does not affect their present. Filipinos are very shallow when it comes to identity and that is why they have forgotten the crimes Ferdinand Marcos has done his country (But is it still "his" country if he betrayed the trust given to him?)

And what of this Pinoy Pride? Pride is shallow, and a nuisance. Honor, Filipinos should strive for honor, because honor is pure and true.

We are in a continuous loop of political dilemma
Corruption is imbibed so deep in Filipino culture that everything we do is based on which benefits only the individual and not the common good.

"My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins." - Manuel L. Quezon

Filipinos are loyal not to the flag but to the politician
It's not about Yellow, it's not about Red, hell it's not about orange! It's about the 3 stars and the mighty Sun! Filipinos have a wrong sense of Nationalism, we should always swear allegiance to the flag, not to the president, not to the senator, not to the barangay official who gives you pancit every now and then. 

Our democracy hangs in danger because we have failed our duties as citizens to study our past, we have failed to check corruption, we have let crocodiles infest the congress, we have left the fighting to the poor. Our country is again in danger of losing its identity as a nation because we are scared to answer the call to uphold freedom and democracy. 

Where are the Rizals, the Bonifacios, the Lunas in you? Where is the love for your country? When will we understand that these foul creatures are running our miserable lives? It should be us running them out of our sick and poor country because they are the reason for our struggles. What we do now, this generation, how we respond to this, will put us in history if we are honorable, or forgettable. It's our time now.

Answer the call.

"The lack of a sense of history is the damnation of the modern world." - Robert Penn Warren

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