I’ve been reading this book, Waltzing with a Dictator, by Raymond Bonner about the Marcoses and their relationship with the US government.  I’ve probably started the book more than a month ago but I still haven’t finished it.  Not that the book isn’t good, but its contents are quite heavy on facts and very disturbing for me.

I normally read novels, fiction and this book is not something I would read for fun.  I never liked history when I was a student and I seldom read about it.  Recently, however, I’ve been more interested in history, even to the extent of watching the History channel.  It’s more interesting now and I’m surprised by my ignorance and would like to be more knowledgeable about it.

So anyway, about the book, I’m seeing the Philippines in a new light as I’m reading the book.  I was born during martial law but I never really knew how different life is before martial law and after.  The book has/is giving me insights into how martial law has affected so many people.  I do know about the disparity between the rich and the poor and how corruption has taken place but now I’m learning about the extent of this corruption and the details of the human rights violations that occurred.

I’m wondering what would have happened to the Philippines had martial law not been supported by the international community.  I wonder how different life would be if the US had denied support to the Marcoses.  I wonder how many lives would have been saved had people with power followed their consciences.

But what is more surprising is how we as a nation have forgotten all that had happened in those 20 years.  There’s talk about burying Marcos as a hero.  His family are holding key government positions.  The payments for their victims are a mere token and I’m sure their wealth is still hidden and readily available to them.

I wonder when will we learn the lessons that history has taught us?  When will we have a government that is truly accountable to the people?  When will the gap between the rich and the poor narrow?  When will the majority of the national budget go to the majority of the people instead of the pockets of the few?  When will justice be blind instead of being blinded by money and power?

These are all tough questions.  I believe in forgiving but not forgetting.  We should not forget what happened.  We should remember the lessons of the past and this should guide us in shaping the future.