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Never forget

09 December 2016

By Daisy Catherine L. Mandap

Move on. At no time in our collective memory has this catch phrase been so overused.

It suggests that we are stuck in the past, remembering old wounds, reliving lost glory, and pining for what might have been.

It is what the Marcos apologists have been using to heap scorn on those who are again pumping fists in anger over the furtive burial of the dictator who refuses to go quietly into the dark yonder.

The suggestion is that those of us who felt betrayed by this treacherous act were living in the past, or are going against the grain of popular sentiment.

We have to forgive even if we can’t forget, they say, because the anger is misplaced and even counter-productive.

But is this right, or acceptable? Why must we allow ourselves to be silenced yet again by the same evil force that we fought so hard to vanquish?

What they don’t get, or refuse to see, is that we have moved on a long time ago. The Edsa Revolution was the pivotal point. It made many of us feel for the first time in 20 years that it was all right in our part of world again.

For me, a martial law baby, it marked a time when I could finally leave behind the anger and terror that accompanied my growing up years. All my friends and neighbors who suffered during the dictator’s iron-fist rule were finally given justice. Thus, I could finally focus on myself and my own dreams. It was a time to explore.

I, along with many others in my generation, pushed all the cobwebs of the past behind us, and reveled in our newfound freedom. We grew up, got married, pursued our dreams, and settled down.

Those of us who couldn’t help but keep a wary eye on political developments back home did so openly. We spoke, wrote, and took action each time we noticed something was amiss out there.

For sure, the corruption, the influence peddling, even the killings continued. But much as we were angered by this, there was always the assurance at the back of our minds that the basic freedoms we regained were still there, ready to be brandished when necessary.

Thus, while we seethed at Erap’s inept leadership, Gloria’s greed, and even PNoy’s coddling of inept officials, we stayed put. After all, they knew better than to give in to the devious schemes of the dictator’s family raring to get back to power again.

But came November 8, when we were shaken out of our complacency by the highest court’s decision to affirm the new government’s move to allow the dictator’s carcass to be buried in Libingan ng Mga Bayani.

Hardly had we recovered from this nightmare when we were again hit, this time by Marcos’ hurried and secretive burial, in brazen disregard for the law and the collective fury of most Filipinos.

And so we marched yet again, dragging our much older bodies to the streets, and chanting the slogan we have kept close to our hearts:  “Marcos, Hitler, Diktador, Tuta!”

After 30 years of looking ahead, we have come full circle, repeating the vow we uttered more than three decades ago in Edsa, of not allowing another Marcos to step foot into Malacanang.

Never again.

To our amazement, our shouts were picked up by our youth, those whom we almost gave up on, thinking they could never be convinced to look at our past with compassion and understanding.
It gives us much hope to know that with our younger compatriots now by our side, that vow will forever be etched in the hearts of all peace-loving Filipinos.

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