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A constant reality: How hard it is to do a historian’s work. We make enemies out of people not because we want to, but because we have to. Not that history or historians have not been manipulated. History has been manipulated oftentimes through revisionist means. There is a grain of truth in saying that history has been written by the victors. And since history is in the very gore and grime of things, telling the unfolding revealed drama of human nature, there are things that people often forget, or choose to forget. There are even some historians who choose not to reveal things, blinded by either conviction or political agenda. But then again, show me a historian who doesn’t have any tinge of bias. So then, it is my conviction that history is dangerous. For good or for ill, it is a tool for truth or for deception. It remains so especially when the actors in the history being told are still alive, through dynastic families that live on in our political life. It was Leon Ma. Guerrero who pointed out that indeed, an educated native is a dangerous native.
And so it is quite disturbing to find stuff on the Marcoses on the net. Stuff that are more or less positive and to the core, revisionist. I also noticed that most of these people who say that Marcos was the best president the country ever had never lived at the time of Martial Law. Whether driven by desperation and hopelessness for the country’s present problems, these young people now have a positive look at Marcos and his regime. It is also that dichotomy of discipline vs. freedom that most of these people argue on. We need to be disciplined, they say. Democracy doesn’t really work for us, because Filipinos do not know how to use and dispense their freedom. The Philippines needed Marcos. And Marcos put the Philippines on the map.
But then, is it really worth it, to sacrifice our basic freedoms—freedom of the press, of the speech, of assembly—for order, for progress? Or for that matter, is it right to call a muted vox populi, a pervading fear to be taken in and never be seen again, as progress?
While I can also say I never lived at the time like these young people, I would like to reiterate that the same freedom that make them say something FOR the Marcoses was the same freedom that was never present when the Marcoses were in power.
Books are written to prove this. Scholars have published peer reviewed journals agreeing that the Philippines plummeted to economic debt under the Marcos regime. Victims that were never seen again remain missing. The corruption ran deep in the military during Marcos’s regime that it is hard to think how deep the rabbithole went. The materials are out there. The proof is staring us in the face.
So please. Enough with opinions. Show me some cold hard facts to support your view, and let us derive from those facts. For if what you say is truth, your stand would survive the scrutiny of academic inquiry, an exercise of freedom that Marcos himself discouraged.