What never to forget

A favorite slogan chanted by young activists like us in the early 1970s, when Marcos was already contemplating martial law but before he actually declared it, went like this: One activist would start with a loud marching voice: “Ano’ng sagot sa martial law?” And the response would resonate like a march of thunder through the street, echoing across the urban valley of tall buildings: “Digmaan!–Digmaan!–Digmaang bayan!”

And that–People’s War–is what produced the million blade cuts, the million pinpricks, that bled the Marcos regime until it could barely move, until it collapsed under a final avalanche of People’s Power.

Run through the roster of heroes and martyrs in the Bantayog ng mga Bayani and I’ll tell you, with almost full certainty, that the majority of them directly joined or actively supported this War of the Flea, this poor people’s war against oppression and dictatorship. Many of them died in the midst of this war, fighting their battles to the finish.

So now that we are again reminded of the horrors and renewed threats of martial law, let us take a second glance at what the motto, “Never again! Never forget!” really means. It means that if we are to continue our vigilance and militance to oppose the rising dangers of martial law and a new fascism, let us never forget the lessons of how earlier generations fought and defeated the Marcos dictatorship.

People’s war to fight a brutal dictatorship. People’s power to assert people’s democracy. That is the lesson of martial law we must never forget. #

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