The recent burial of former Dictator Ferdinand Marcos has once again divided the people of the Philippines. Many are angry that a man responsible for death, suffering and suppression on a massive scale could ever be honoured in such a way.
The manner in which it happened was also a slap in the face to the Filipino people. The secret and unannounced ceremony robbed people of their right to protest against something that they feel strongly about. After the supreme court ruling no one had the right to stop it, but their right to object was taken away from them.
To make matters worse, government departments all pleaded ignorance and said they didn’t know it was happening. It is a slap in the face to bury Marcos in a heroes cemetery, but it is an additional spit in the face of everyone to carry it out in secret and lie about it afterwards.
Every citizen of the Philippines deserves better than this. Duterte was elected because the country was sick of how they were treated by politicians. This anti-democracy move doesn’t represent change. It is just the same shit with a different smell.
What has been most surprising to me as an outsider is that the majority of debate has been around Marcos himself. This is a decades long discussion as to whether his good deeds outweighed the evil; whether the evil were true; whether there should have been charges to answer for; where the missing money went.
All of which are arguments that will never lead to a resolution, and you will never change someone’s mind who thinks one way or the other.
Something which is not getting attention that it deserves in amongst all this public anger is that the man who is solely responsible for making this happen is your president. In the space of a few weeks he has publicly declared his admiration of Vladimir Putin’s leadership style (if you do not see a problem with this I would encourage you to watch the documentary Winter on Fire –you will see how Russian influence human and civil rights), cuddled up to China, and now honoured a ruthless dictator who ruined the Philippines both financially and emotionally to a point where it has never recovered decades later.
All of the above happening in the wake of the mass killing of the country’s people, unapologetically encouraged by the president. You have to ask yourself what direction this country is really heading in. Sadly, the uneducated and the stubborn will never ask this question and continue to be the cheer squad.
I will leave everyone with this picture which came up on my Facebook newsfeed recently – the caption from the poster reading “is this hard to understand”. I will forever be grateful that he is not my country’s leader. A heartless, simplistic statement that shows complete disregard for a painful chapter in his country’s history, and the lives of his people. Hard to understand? No. That doesn’t mean that it is right.
It is also worth pointing out that these words come from the same man who has cited the broken justice system as a reason why people should take justice into their own hands. A scary contradiction for someone who wields great power.
Do you agree? Leave your comments below.