#NeverForget: “Skipping Past the Facts”

Written by Daniella de Guzman

“Alam mo ba, noong panahon ni Marcos…”

You nod. You smile. You say, “Sana siya po ulit.”

This was how all conversations about the Marcos regime went around in your house. Your grandparents and relatives would tell you how wonderful it was back then — how they’d walk the silent streets with all their fears tucked deep inside the recesses of their back pockets. This era, they told you, was of prosperity — the prices of the goods were low, new buildings were built, and much work had been done that still stands today to serve us.

Then you’d smile, and you’d nod, and you’d agree.

You’d think: how could he have ever been ousted after such a wonderful time? Were the Filipino people really just that foolish?

Yes, it was a stupid decision.

You knew you and your family were right. All talk about destruction was wrong. In your mind, those were fabricated stories meant to drag someone good down — the way you knew people always did.

“Anong nangyari sa mga ‘di sumusunod sa batas noong panahon ni Marcos?”

Years later, in a History class, your second grade teacher asks you a question your mind has never asked. You didn’t think it possible for people to disobey rules you knew were reasonable.

To your mind, peace meant silence, and silence meant peace.

Pinapatay niya sila.” Your mind whirs. Killing was wrong. Why did he kill them?

…and so a small voice, somewhere in the back your mind, began to question the silence of that time, and if that silence really was that of peace. It brought about ideas you knew were wrong — ideas not in the story. My family never told me that.

You continue to learn. You continue to learn history whilst debunking everything that the books say against Marcos. You memorized events and dates, but you never believed the facts. That small voice was louder now — talking to you — telling you that something was wrong about the stories you’ve been told.

Something didn’t match up. You knew, you heard. You learned about it.

But the stories prevailed. You continue, grudgingly, to memorize for a quiz whose answers were against your own beliefs.

One day, you pass Pisay. Soon enough you’re preparing for high school, and only a little later, you begin to study in a school that nurtures thinkers and creators and movers.

You meet people with different ideas, new ideas, who were not afraid to speak. And then you think again: what if I was wrong all along?

For the first time, you open your mind to the other side of the argument. For the first time, you notice all the flaws in your own arguments and how shallow you saw the Filipino people as. For the first time, you regret just memorizing. You regret skipping past the facts.

Remember that small voice? Now, it’s screaming. It’s screaming at you, screaming that no, Marcos was not good or honorable — he was a thief with apologists, who knew nothing about an apology. He was a murderer who killed to stifle the same whisper that planted the doubts you had about the stories you’d been told. He murdered the people who harbored ideals contradictory to his, thinking that he could kill the minds of those who knew better.

It was their blood with which he painted a picture of prosperity. Prosperity — the veil in which he covered the blood and shrieks of a country forced to silence. And silence, in turn, was the mirror in which he showed us an obedient Southeast-Asian country rising to power. The remainder of his family, still in politics, continues to grasp blindly at even the smallest hint of the power and control the previous dictator had.

The cycle, you knew, would go on. Not unless it was stopped.

Eventually, you realize.

You realize how naïve the ideals you defended were, how empty your arguments had been. And all for a story whose very grounds were based on lies and hidden truths? The veil is lifted; the mirror shattered. The illusion of wealth has faded, and you understand.

Eventually you — you too — say no.

No, I won’t believe in him again.

No, I won’t say sorry for him again.

No, never again.

#NeverForget
#VoxPopuli
#Dalumat

#VoxPopuli (Latin for “voice of the people”) is a series by contributing student-writers for The Science Scholar. It aims to provide a venue where students that are non-staff members can voice out their thoughts and opinions on topics from current events, school issues, to pop culture.

Dalumat is the literary section of The Science Scholar.

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The official English-language publication of the Philippine Science High School–Main Campus.

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