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The Language of Protest

Editor’s Note:

In line with the 44th anniversary of the declaration of Proclamation 1081 as the law of the land, the Flame will post a series of articles written by the publication’s former staffers during the Martial Law period.

The Flame, being one of the student publications who continued its fearless reportage during those tumultuous times, believes that we—both the young and the old—should never turn a blind eye and forget the atrocities and plunders during Martial Law. It is our duty as members of the press to enlighten the Filipinos about that dark period in the country’s history.

Art by ELCID ANTONIO O. OLAVERE
Art by ELCID ANTONIO O. OLAVERE

(This editorial was originally published in The Flame Vol. 11, No. 1 issue)

RECENT TRENDS show that the populace has finally been jolted into realizing the harsh realities that beset them.

Through the years, the people have remained passive and indifferent in the face of increasing militarization, political repression, a worsening economic imbalance, and the continued curtailment of their basic human rights. Swamped by “unjust and cruel law” such as Presidential Decrees 1834, 1835, 1836, etc.—all instruments of repression, the people have been either cowed into submission or compelled into inaction. Although isolated cases did not occur, of individuals raising their dissenting voices because of injustices directly committed against them, their voices were easily muffled and their cases became victims of dereliction.

Then comes the widespread social and political unrest that stemmed from the Aquino slaying. Suddenly, there is a resurgence of multi-sectoral demonstrations and mammoth rallies that is brewing a “revolutionary atmosphere” in Metro Manila and other opposition bailiwicks. Businessmen in Ayala and Binondo are now one with the Church and the student and labor sectors in their clamor for genuine socio-economic and political reforms. Even some top government men branded before as apologists for the present administration are taking a non-conforming stance in their decisions and are doing their share in rectifying the ills found within the government and the society in general.

A new language, that of righteous protest, has finally found a dominant place in the Filipino’s tongue. It is the same language so often heard from the masses in whimpers and a language that is, ironically, seldom used by the elite and the influential. It is a language that is warranted by a true democracy. Yet, it is a language that we, as a people, have refused to utilize for our own betterment. The times, however, dictate that we take this last recourse in our quest for the fulfillment of our ideals. With the rejuvenation of this language will come the dawning of a better understanding between the governed and the government, the ruled and the ruler. It is either this understanding, whereby the government heeds and gives in to the legitimate pleas of the people or the ruled bringing down their rulers. The choice now rests on the government. F

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