Pain in the Time of Remembering: Martial Law 44 Years Since

by Nina Torralba

PHOTO BY Peignault Laurent

PHOTO BY Peignault Laurent

It's rather chilling to remember Martial Law this year, a year when millions of Filipinos voted to forget the thousands captured, tortured, and killed in that time. 

It might even be more chilling to remember in 2021, which might not only be the 50th anniversary of the Diliman Commune but perhaps also, if the rumors are to be believed, a year away from putting another Marcos in the highest seat of the land.

It is hurtful, and nothing short of betrayal, really. Not only towards those who had fought back, or simply been the victim of circumstance—some of whom still live, and some of whom were taken from us long ago—but towards their fellow Filipinos, towards innocent lives they are willing to put on the line or to have shut up just so they can shroud themselves in a false sense of security, as if they do not trust us with the freedom we had fought for. We truly are self-destructive, if not by our own hands, then by our feeble memories.

But this pain is a good sign for those who feel it. 

Those who are hurt by this betrayal are those who remember, and who cry the battle cry in the face of those horrors: #NeverAgain. 

This pain can be our strength for now, and perhaps soon everyone will better understand that pain, just enough for them to know the awful truth about Martial Law and just enough to keep it from happening again. 

Not so much pain that we can no longer fight back, but just enough pain to know that we will #NeverForget.