By Ruel S. De Vera, Philippine Daily Inquirer
September 1, 2012
Like the pages of an old diary, the years gone by since martial law come in different conditions. Some are dog-eared from constant scrutiny. Others are ripped from forceful amnesia, while others are brittle from having been dried after an encounter with water, most probably the business end of a water cannon. The handwriting can be smeared by tears and entire pages can be blank or gone missing.
The 40th anniversary of proclamation 1081 is the perfect opportunity to leaf through the many books that have been written about this dark and historic period.
After the Marcos regime was dismantled in 1986, the books have come out one by one, each revealing its own piece of the martial law puzzle. Some are personal recollections of incarceration while others are tales of life lived constantly on the run. Some books unveiled the secrets and whereabouts of political leaders while other recalled details of volunteerism and offered glimpses of those rare bright spots in a blighted landscape. All of them are part of the big story of martial law. And now is the best time to tell it.
As it stands, Filipino schoolchildren learn of martial law for only one quarter in a year, the fourth quarter of freshman year (see sidebar). But beyond required reading, Filipinos need to read these books because they need to remember-and ultimately never forget. Martial law was too terrible a time and the damage it left far too profound to be relegated to the past.
“Time and the Marcoses have embarked on the Great Forgetting,” writes Conrado de Quiros in his introduction to “Not On Our Watch.” “It is things like this that should jolt us into a Great Remembering.”
Here then in alphabetical order are the books about martial law to help us remember.
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