I still distinctly remember the rally that was formed around the stage at Luneta Park. It was about 2 hours before dusk when we decided to check out how many people had gathered for the rally so far. There was a crowd of thousands who were either standing or sitting as groups on the side, and, as we followed their gaze, we saw a group of people standing on the stage talking about how we cannot go through martial law again.
I agree, don’t you?
To fully understand why these people put up the courage, action, and passion to stand up on stage and speak to thousands of people watching, we should go a few decades back.
President Ferdinand Marcos, who was elected in 1965, made the decision and declared martial law on September 21, 1972.
Martial Law was removed in 1981.
As we look up, we notice that the time from when martial law began and the time to when it (finally) stopped is 9 years. Can you imagine nine years of suffering? NINE FLAT YEARS. To even fully understand it more to what their suffering means here are the horrible things they underwent:
Here’s the thing, instead of using their brains to solve “world peace” or to slowly diminish famine around the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos (and whoever else devised these ways of torture) just, you know, used their brain powers to construct cruel and unnecessary devices and ways to hurt people and torture them till they die.
The following are from Rappler:
(WARNING: The following illustrations may be graphic to some readers. Kindly view at your own discretion.)
Electric shock – Electric wires are attached to the victim’s fingers, arms, head and in some cases, genitalia.
San Juanico Bridge – The victim lies between two beds and if his/her body falls, he/she will be beaten.
Truth serum – An injection administered in hospitals and used for interrogation, making a victim “talk drunkenly.”
Russian roulette – Loading a bullet into one chamber of a revolver, spinning the cylinder, and then forcing the victim to pull the trigger while pointing the gun at his/her own head.
Beating – Victim is beaten by a group of soldiers.
Pistol-whipping – The victim is beaten with a rifle butt.
Water cure – Water is forced through the victim’s mouth and then forced out by beating.
Strangulation – Constriction of the victim’s neck done by hand, electric wire, or steel bar.
Cigar and flat iron burns – Victims of torture are inflicted with burns using cigarettes, and even a flat iron.
Pepper torture – A “concentrated pepper substance” is put on the victim’s lips or rubbed on his/her genitalia.
Animal treatment – The victim is shackled, caged, treated, and fed like an animal.
It’s too much. Thousands were brought unto this dreadful times and even some described it as “worse than death”. Nobody, not one single human being, deserves this kind of treatment. So say it with me!! Never Again, Never Again, Never Again to Martial Law!!!!
Going back to what happened at the rally:
As night fell, the rain seemed to follow along with some thunder. But the crowd never faltered. Barely anyone was leaving. We even spotted six people all huddled together under one single umbrella still having their laser focus on the speakers at the stage. The energy was great. And, with every second passing, with every trickle of rain streaming down someone’s umbrella, with every roar of thunder, the crowd just kept growing with the excitement with the feeling of victory and teamwork. Even though no one really knew each other except for their friends or family that they had with them, there was a split second when everyone joined in for the shouting of freedom (“NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW”) and singing (Do you hear the people sing?) that I saw the closeness and the bravery of each and every one. It was an awesome night and it truly changed my perspective of how I saw martial law.