A few months back, I wrote about the different torture methods used during martial law, and received mixed reactions to the story. Besides accusations of being a paid hack, there was a resounding narrative: that history is written by the victors who, in this case, are the Aquinos.
Immediately after reading people’s comments, I took a step back to reflect. Is everything we know about martial law really mere fabrications by the Aquinos and their allies?
The answer is no.
We ought to stop seeing this as but a feud between two families – the Marcoses and the Aquinos. The brutal history of the martial law era was not written by the Aquinos alone.
Ninoy Aquino and his family play a significant role in the story, but it’s not all about them. In fact, Ninoy’s assassination is only a fraction of a two-decade-long narrative. His death is just one of thousands.
Martial law was a crime against the Filipino people, not just the Aquinos.
Not all of the victims of martial law are supporters of the Aquinos. They were not all communists either. Some of them were journalists just doing their job, students who felt oppressed, and ordinary people who were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Those stories of death and torture were not just written by the Aquinos but by the victims and the families they left behind, with scars they’ll bear their whole lives. This part of our history was not only written with Ninoy’s blood, but with the blood of thousands of others who died and suffered horrendous torture during the Marcos regime.
They’re not victors. They’re victims.
The sins of the Aquinos
The Aquinos, however, can be blamed for this, too.
They have exhaustively used this narrative for 3 decades, hogging the spotlight to stay in power. By telling the story of one man’s heroism through and through every year, they’ve managed to put two Aquinos in the top government post.