It’s been a year since I wrote a blog entry on Martial Law. Sad to say, but the revisionists are at it again, more than ever. We have to hold fast and keep guard — more than ever as well.

Nevertheless we can’t be happier and more excited at least with the opening of the Martial Law Museum — virtually or in cyberspace, that is. But let me still feature yet another book in the canon of Martial Law literature in the Philippines. This is actually an old one, a biographical anthology of (as the title of the book puts it) Six Young Filipino Martyrs.

Yes, six youths brutally sacrificed in the altar of the dictatorship; six well-reserached and documented biographies by six different authors.

Of the six, I may be partial to Dr. Bobby dela Paz — if only because he studied in the same school as I did (Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati City). Of course I heard and read about him before, but it was only later (through this book) that I found out about his being a Bosconian.

Notice also that among them is a woman, Lorena Barros. And then of course Edgar Jopson just can’t be missing from the anthology. Each and every one of the six, as a matter of fact, are all true martyrs and heroes, worth studying and emulating.

Hence, the book. Likewise: museums and websites, protests and prayer rallies, archives and monuments. All for our heroes and martyrs — the memory of whom should ever be kept, and never desecrated.

As a postscript, I include herewith a poem I have written last year also:

All Over Again
 
They’re killing you all over again.
Isn’t once already bad enough?
But they keep on doing it again.
They seem to be not yet satisfied.
 
Numbers of those who surrender are swelling,
But death tolls are fast a-rising.
It’s really still you being killed again,
Just different versions this time.
 
Still we implore you: Please
Don’t get killed anymore.
Rise from your graves instead,
And come back to haunt us.
 
Martial Law heroes and martyrs,
Do us a favor. We need you
Now more than ever. Can you please
Perform for us a Lazarus, or a Jesus?
 
They’re desecrating your memory.
We don’t want fake heroes in the first place.
Teach us again the lessons you learned
The hard, painful way.
 
Saturation drives. Forced arrests. Torture.
Salvaging. EJKs. Summary executions. Death
Penalty. Capital punishment. Wow.
Nice-sounding terms in a verbal swordplay?
 
Hey: for example, I know one who was named
Marcel Lou by his parents, just so as not to forget.
And there are monuments and museums,
Graveyards and cemeteries. At least
 
For those who still had mortal remains.
But don’t they ever dare desebrate them.
Grave mistake. No way. Over our dead bodies.
So: will we also let ourselves become cadavers?
 
I wonder if they’ll also put a cardboard sign for us?
Jesus had his own I.N.R.I., you know.
His never-ending anguish and pain
Are reduced to tragic repetition.
 
Including for us now. All over again.
We must not fall asleep in our agony.

 
MartYM or Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB, SThD is a professor of Youth Ministry. He received his Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.

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