When we were marking the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law last September 21, there were many who expressed their concern that Filipinos – most of them born after martial law had ended – do not know what the country underwent during the Marcos dictatorship. The sight of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. repeating his mantra that lives were better during the dictatorship heightened those apprehensions.
Indeed, Filipinos are not as updated on their country’s real history, in contrast to their being updated on the latest showbiz scandal in town. Media are partly to blame but the cause of our historical amnesia is not just confined to what media are not telling our people. We cannot fully blame media for not disseminating what we have not really written yet.
Nobody has yet figured out how to teach our real history to our people. The most basic task is, of course, to write the real history and burn all the books that have injected self-serving fiction to favor certain interests. It would be myopic to simply focus on the martial law era. A people will be forever handicapped when their history books are only partially factual with other sections nothing more than pulp fiction.
The problem with our historical narration is that it does not draw Filipino empathy. Filipinos do not relate to what’s presently offered as our nation’s history. Indeed, it’s hard to relate to something that’s partly fact and partly fiction. The human soul naturally gravitates to the truth.
In the case of martial law, we cannot expect our people to internalize historical episodes that aren’t fully disclosed. It’s like watching a movie without an ending to tie up the whole plot as it unraveled. To one who knows the real history of our country, martial law was not as simple as Ferdinand E. Marcos wanting to stay in power longer. The true picture is lacking the disclosure of the bigger force that wanted martial law imposed here – the US.
Marcos couldn’t have imposed martial law if the US didn’t want it. It precisely lasted that long because the US felt that dictatorship was the antidote to the communist threat here and abroad. Marcos merely rode on the US Cold War agenda because it suited his desires perfectly. In the end, just as the communist threat had waned with the end of the Indo-China wars and the Russians being stuck in the Afghanistan quagmire, the US played a key role in ousting Marcos. First, they pressured him to call a Snap Presidential Election and second – they told him to cut clean.
Unless Filipinos are taught the underlying forces, be it geopolitical, national or local politics, and economic shifts and so forth, that trigger major national events – they’ll never attain a grasp of real Philippine history. It’s like watching the story of Jesus, except that this one starts when he was already 30 years old. If you didn’t know the origins of Jesus, you’ll be left asking – who’s Jesus, where did Jesus come from?
Marcos shouldn’t escape the condemnation of future Filipino generations but our people must also know that Marcos was not the main player here.
Because our people have not been allowed to know their real history in its full context, we thus become continually vulnerable to further foreign manipulation and exploitation. Because we do not know the real US role in the imposition of martial law here, most of our people are still cheering the US as it seeks to find participation in the energy explorations in the South China Sea. We do not realize that we are cheering the US in their attempt to make our country the frontline of a US-China conflict.
Because nobody is talking about the looming Peak Oil Crisis – that point when supply can no longer service the demand – Filipinos fail to appreciate why the US invaded Iraq when Saddam Hussein and Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack in New York City. It was all about the looming shortage of oil supply. Iraq has the world’s fourth largest oil reserves. Why is the US so hot in now targeting Iran? Iran has just as much oil as Iraq. Are you surprised that the US has been very active in the issues among territorial claimants in the South China Sea?
Some experts are saying that the Peak Oil Crisis might start as early as 2015. In February 10, 2010, British businessmen petitioned their government to plan for the Peak Oil Crisis (Link: http://peakoiltaskforce.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/final-report-uk-itpoes_report_the-oil-crunch_feb20101.pdf). They outlined the need to formulate new policies, form packages of legislation, new technologies and behavior change incentives in order to cope with the oil reality.
Charles T. Maxwell, recognized as the Dean Of Energy Analysts, predicted that by 2020 oil would cost $300 per barrel. Maxwell described the projected rise of oil prices: “Then it goes to $95 in 2012 and $115 in 2013. The following year, 2014, we see the price going to $140 a barrel, followed by $180 in 2015. And then, by 2020, it’s at $300, or roughly $225 discounted back to the present.”
“By 2020, I’m looking for about $300 a barrel, which is closer to $225 a barrel in today’s dollars.”
In the UK where they have oil and oil interests in many other parts of the world, they’re already planning for the doomsday scenario. Don’t you think that we, without oil interests like the UK, should be planning at a double pace?
With big challenges ahead of us, Filipinos cannot be expected to rise to the demands of the situation if they don’t know their real history and cannot contextualize themselves in their real history.
Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”