It’s 10:38 and my knees are shaking.
Today, at this hour, over 3,000 Filipinos from different walks of life have dedicated a day in their lives to march up the streets of EDSA in protest to the burying of a dictator in the cemetery of heroes; many being students from various universities, tribes from the Southern parts of the country and relatives of victims of a dark era known as Martial Law. Marcos.
The numbers against him are rising.
I know not many of you will agree with me, but I am strongly against the burying of a dictator in a place reserved for those who have served the country well. Marcos has been listed by Forbes as the second most corrupt leader of all time, stealing billions of our country’s money with his Swiss accounts and ill-gotten wealth. The infrastructures the other side has boasted and labeled as his were nothing but extensions of the projects the previous presidents have built. If there ever was one to beam with pride, it was a nuclear power plant in Bataan- a barely functioning piece of concrete and radiation that served as an excuse to embezzle millions from foreign banks. He is one of the biggest reasons as to why this country’s in debt and has been for 21 years.
He has been responsible for an estimate of 70, 000 imprisoned, 34, 000 tortured and 3,240 dead people- most of them innocent scholars and politicians whose only sin was speaking out against what they thought was wrong. Freedom of speech was oppressed, media was heavily censored and the virus of misinformation spread like sunlight on a stormy era.
The whole notion of Martial Law in the hands of a megalomanic power-thirsty tyrant is wrong.
(If you wish to argue with me about this, go ahead. But be civil).
But I’m sitting here in front a desktop monitor typing my thoughts. I’m not outside. I’m not screaming at the top of my lungs and holding a placard that expresses my disgust toward this secretive funeral in one witty phrase.
But I wish to be.
Why can’t I do it?
The reasons I have aren’t deep or philosophical. It’s just that my father was away for work-related business and he’s coming home today. No one’s home at this time but me. I can’t sneak out with circumstances like this, as much as I want to. But I do want to rally. I want to spread the message of disgust and say ‘this isn’t right’. I want the inconvenience of traffic to make passerbys powerless and think of the reasons why I’m outside, going against a system. I want commotion of change. I want them to think. I want discourse.
I sincerely want to.
But with circumstances I can’t control, I can’t. I can’t just sneak out and break my family’s heart.
Yet there is some sort of intimidating mentality against those who don’t speak out against oppression in rallies. If I tell a number of passionate millenials or advocate professors who’s brave enough to walk out on the streets that I can’t go, they’ll call me a coward. Neutral. A reason for oppression.
It’s crazy, but it exists.
Just because a person doesn’t join a rally doesn’t mean they’re any less of a supporter. It just means that they may or may not be in a circumstance in which they have to use other tools to fight.
I choose to write to fight. I choose to talk to fight. But this doesn’t mean I’m against rallies. Far from it. But if I don’t join a rally, don’t condemn me. Don’t call me out as someone who chooses to stay idle forever. Don’t force me to sneak out of my house on an afternoon and get back by midnight if the circumstances say I can’t.
I am not less of a supporter if I don’t join today’s fight.
Isn’t my stand and willingness for discourse not enough?
The family is the most integral unit of society, and I reside in a family where half of us support the burial. Since they’re a huge part of me, I engage in discussion- hoping that they get the bigger picture. That the Marcos sunlight doesn’t always shine everywhere. That the storm itself is what brought him down. But I don’t try to convince.
I engage. There’s a difference. I firmly believe that engaging in discussion with those of opposing views leads to balance rather than a cultural war when the left has won- only when civil.
I say this because each side condemns the other. However, Barton Swaim of the Washington Post acknowledged that the left has won the cultural war. In a social sense, this means that anyone who has a different, right-wing view is automatically considered a freak. A racist. A traditionalist freak of nature.
Not all Marcos supporters are illiterate. Not all Duterte supporters are blood-thirsty warfreaks who can’t understand the concept of drugs.
Not all those who stand against Marcos are elitist yellow supporters with nothing to do. There is more to politics and culture than just red and yellow.
This is what I mean by engaging in discussion. To break barriers. To break misconception. To break the idleness of the system bit by bit. If we were to continually condemn those who take a stand against our views rather than having civil, intellectual discourse, we oppress their right to believe anything.
They feel squashed, bottled up, waiting for an explosion.
Trump was that explosion. Duterte was that explosion. Marcos’ burial was that explosion.
So I’m not in a rally. I’m sitting in front of a monitor with shaking knees. I’m not in a rally. I’m waiting for my father. But I’m not less of a supporter.