FREEDOM is a word not to be taken lightly.

One has to ask whether people born in this era have the capacity to understand what freedom truly means, especially to those who’ve experienced its absence.

Recently, the nation was rocked over the comments of a few young people who took to Twitter to express their reverence for the deceased president Ferdinand Marcos during the 28th anniversary of the historic EDSA Revolution. Many of them glorified the former dictator, claiming he was the best president the Philippines has ever had and that the nation would not be so corrupt and undisciplined if it had someone like him as leader. Some even went far as to say that Filipinos were better off under Martial Law.

Perhaps a slap of history books would do them good.

Whether or not Marcos was a good president is not the concern of this writing. There’s nothing wrong with admiring his efforts which contributed to the Philippines. But certainly, kids who know nothing and were born with a silver spoon have no standing to make such claims.

There is nothing wrong with admiring the efforts of Marcos that helped improve this country, particularly on infrastructure. But there are parts of the Marcos era that leave much to be desired—human rights abuses and widespread corruption. To recall, President Marcos attempted to whitewash the trial of the accused in the assassination of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

Perhaps the reason why these young people have the guts to make such claims is because they never knew what it felt like to have their freedom threatened so bad. Most of them were born and raised in an era where all they had to do was ingest all that their forefathers fought for them to have.

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They never lived any of their days in constant fear of saying something that could cost them their very lives. They have no idea that the Tagalog word for dog, aso, was very traumatizing for our forefathers, because it was a homonym for the Arrest, Search and Seizure Order or the ASSO, which the Minister of Justice could easily issue to arrest anyone.

Today, kids have the gall to curse PNoy all they want and call it freedom of expression. But those who remotely offered a criticism of Marcos paid for it dearly.

It is sad how easy it is for some of us to forget just because we had nothing to do with it. Perhaps the reason they cannot fully familiarize with the passion of their seniors is due to their distance from the revolution brought about by People Power I and wide abuse of freedom due to poor leadership by government. This age has brought about many distractions that it becomes truly difficult for the youth to pay attention to the greater things that instill in us our identities as Filipinos.

There is an undeniably important call to re-visit the halls of the recent past so as not to forget the glorious struggles and victories our forefathers bore for us.

And there is also a great responsibility on the part of us to take the initiative to remember and appreciate our history. As they say, the key to the future is the past.

Dawn is not too beautiful to those who have never experienced the darkest of nights.

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