IT’S SURPRISING, to say the least, that as we mark the declaration of Martial Law every Sept. 21, voices expressing approval for the darkest period in our history grow even louder. It’s shocking that many of these voices belong to “Generations Y and Z,” and they go so far as to say Martial Law should be imposed again in the country.

The Generation Y, the so-called “millennials,” or those born between the ‘80s and the ‘90s, and the Generation Z or those born in the early 2000s, are the technologically advanced generation—accounting for 87 percent of Facebook users and 37 percent of Twitter users, according to the Pew Research Center.

These generations take for granted what they currently have—the freedom of expression, assembly, and of the press—precisely the freedoms taken away by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos during Martial Law.

If those in Generations Y and Z who are pro-Martial Law have not only been posting Facebook statuses about the Marcos regime but have also been reading about it, they would have known better than to engage in revisionist history.

The statistics on human rights violations are staggering: 3,257 extrajudicial killings, 35,000 people tortured, and 70,000 incarcerated, according to research by Alfred McCoy, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin.

Also, that the Martial Law proclamation, while dated Sept. 21, 1972, was announced by Marcos over national television on Sept. 23. On that same day, seven television stations and seven major newspapers were shut down, while four senators and approximately 8,000 individuals were arrested.

The generations who have not experienced Martial Law are the ones who find it very convenient to say that it would be good for the country, that it would be a good form of “discipline.”

Bring back family dinner this Christmas

However, it was discipline out of fear: fear of being detained or of “disappearing” for an uncertain amount of time, or worse never to return.

If Martial Law is again imposed, Facebook, Twitter and other social media would probably be banned, and Generations Y and Z would probably not survive being unable to post their selfies and all their complaints about the government, the traffic, their professors, or their love lives. There’d be a curfew, which means no late-night partying.

Generations Y and Z grew up in the age of Google and e-books, but cannot even bother to research and verify facts before posting their opinions.

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it,” said Spanish philosopher and novelist George Santayana, and this speaks a lot about what is to come when the misinformed millennials take over.

If there is one similarity about the character of Joven (youth in Spanish) in the historical biopic “Heneral Luna,” and the present-day youth, it is that we have not lost our eyesight and our ability to express ourselves. We have the democracy, and the freedom of speech that comes with it, which our national heroes and forefathers have fought for with their blood and sweat. We are now more capable than ever to read and learn about our country’s history, the only thing that will save us from repeating our previous mistakes.


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