Never Again, Never Forget

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This was written a few months back for our Feature Writing class in celebration of the 1986 EDSA Revolution anniversary. It features an astonishing painting by the great, painter-activist Randalf Dilla (see image below).

This is very timely now that Atty. Leni Robredo has just been proclaimed Vice President-Elect, beating the eager, lucrative campaign of another Marcos, Bongbong Marcos, who has been disseminating ill, false and made-up information online for some years now, to revise history as we know it and erase the faults of the Marcos regime in preparation for his VP (for all we know, Presidential) candidacy. Alas, no amount of perfuming, gussying up and bombardment of misleading black propaganda could reformat the minds of the Filipinos. At the end, truth prevails and the good champions over the bad. Thank you for reading and I hope we never ever forget:

“TITO MACOY WANTS YOU.

This was what I had imagined Marcos was thinking as I walked in the Xavier Hall and viewed this astoundingly huge mural cleverly titled, ‘Salvaged Memories, Salvaged Lives’ by Randalf Dilla. Marcos was the center of attraction, and I bet he liked it. The artwork was massive, physically and in existence. As I perused every detail, every stroke and every color, I completely understood that this stunningly executed yet harshly depicted mural of the Marcos dictatorship was not only exquisite as a form of art, but was also intended to attack and say something worth hearing without making a sound; it was there to challenge one’s historical recollection and trigger his nationalism.

Much like Uncle Sam, Ferdinand Marcos was pointing at whoever viewed the mural. Whether it was condemnation or wanting, I preferred to believe he was pointing at wealth and power. ‘I want it’, he was probably thinking. ‘I will have all of it!’ And he probably did.

Dilla’s symbols brought the painting to life. Notable ones like the unequal scale for the lack of justice during Martial Law, the iron hands, the overflowing gold and wealth, the Philippine flag trapped in barbed wires, laws soaked in blood, the religious metaphor of the purple shrouds and the people who suffered, went missing or murdered, the prisoners, the human stones under the rostrum who seemingly wanted to get out—all of these images and scenes reminded me in one frame what happened during the Marcos regime and why no one should ever forget.

NEVER AGAIN. This is the message that the artist wanted to send to the spectators. It is evident, sadly, that most of the young are dissuading from the history based on actual, collective experiences printed on the textbooks only to choose and trust Facebook photos that contain claimed “facts” highlighting the good, if anything, the human side of the late Ferdinand Marcos, while overlooking the more grave and evil side that obviously outweighs the opposite.

Now that election is nearing, this mural is reminding us never to forget. In the words of Winston Churchill, ‘Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.'”

Thanks for not reading, Marcos loyalista!

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