[Newspoint] Searching history for culprits

Run by authoritarian regimes, Russia and China are known to hound their emigrant dissenters to the ends of the earth and also, like the Americans, to exploit their weaker diplomatic partners. A singular example is China’s belligerent disregard of an international arbitral court verdict affirming our territorial jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea from the opposite perspective). This is glossed over by Duterte, apparently because it does not fit into his narrative.  

But his point in the case of the US, however one-sided, cannot be disputed. Indeed, for all their avowals for democracy, the Americans have paid little more than lip service to it; they have simply picked up from where their colonialist predecessors left off and continued to sponsor elitist leadership and profit from the lopsided distribution of opportunities resulting from it. 

But, then, as a critic of colonial patronage – and what a spiteful critic he is! – Duterte himself lacks the standing. A dynastic patriarch in his native Davao City, he has carried his patron’s mentality into the presidency in ways that have looked very worrisome indeed lately; he has been lavishing his sponsorship on the police and the army particularly.

As he surveys history to find fault that will excuse himself, Duterte has also ignored the 14 years of murder, torture, and plunder under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos only a generation ago (1972-1986); again, it does not suit him, being himself a Marcos admirer, to bring  it up; in fact, he quietly prepares to give Marcos a hero’s burial.

Allied now with Duterte, the Marcos partisans could not have been more pleased, naturally. The millennials among them in particular, too young as they are to have any firsthand memory of Martial Law, are themselves made to feel guilt-free; for their own pretext, they have laid the blame on the generation before them, for its failure to make them see Martial Law for what it truthfully was, thus opening history to doctoring. 

I’d be the first from that generation to admit to that default. But to heap all blame on us only portrays our successors to be so short on patriotic fervor and initiative and moral discernment – not to say deficient  in the simple sense of human curiosity – that they have allowed themselves to be kept in the dark about the time in their nation’s recent past in which freedom was dead.     

Need one yet be taught that history is there to learn from, not escape from? – Rappler.com