“Beyond Disappearance: Chronicles of Courage”
President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for an investigation into the killing of Grade 11 minor Kian Loyd de los Santos in a police anti-drug operation may make the people temporarily gloss over the repulsive anti-human rights rhetoric he had previously spewed out.
Unfazed human rights defenders, however, remain focused on protecting human rights in the tradition of their predecessors, some of whom we honor today, the International Day of the Disappeared (IDD). As compared with the International Week of the Disappeared (IWD), which is a week-long global campaign against enforced disappearance observed in the last week of May, August 30 was declared by the United Nations as IDD to give tribute to the thousands upon thousands of desaparecidos across continents.
The sterling lives of Filipino desaparecidos are inspiring as they contributed much to trimphant struggles such as the phenomenal ouster of the dictator in the 1986 EDSA uprising.
The desaparecidos’ historic resolute struggle with and for the people prompted repressive authorities to conveniently yet ironically label them as “enemies of the State”. Such wrongful tagging pains those who witnessed their selfless sacrifices for social protection and freedom from hegemonic interventions and autocratic policy decisions.
The disappeared along with other heroes and martyrs taught us which option to take in the face of violence and repression: unrelenting resistance and protest actions. Their ultimate vision of a truly sovereign and democratic country made them unmindful of the personal cost of their pro-people choices.
Remembering and honoring them on the International Day of the Disappeared is the least that we can do to thank them, but definitely not even the last that they would have asked us to do. That we rather sustain the struggle for the causes they fought for may well be their collective exhortation especially to those who need to be roused from apathy and inaction.
30 August 2017
International Day of the Disappeared
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