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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

entry arrow2:55 PM | Amnesia's Children

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism went to the streets of Manila to ask college students what they know about the 1986 People Power revolt. Here's the video of what they found out:

I think it's true for any struggle. One fights for a cause -- and sometimes is even killed -- to secure the future of the next generation -- who will never ever remember, much less appreciate, the pain you had to undergo to give them that freedom to be ... complacent and forgetful.

That's one of life's biggest ironies.

Here's a true story. Once, many years ago, after my Philippine literature class, after giving my students homework to read up on specific poems by Emmanuel Lacaba, Merlie Alunan, and Ruben Cuevas (Pete Lacaba) in preparation for our discussion on Martial Law literature, a student approached me and asked: "Sir, who's Marshall, and why does he have a law?" To say that my heart sank is understating the impact of my realization: people forget their history fast.

Here's another true story from the mid-1990s. This was during the Final Question Round of a famous -- and very prestigious -- university pageant. The girls were smart, most of them beautiful. I was there that night in the audience, and the question was about Ninoy Aquino. The well-coifed candidate from Mass Communication looked around the venue and finally said: "I'm sorry but I don't know who Ninoy is." Then the host -- another girl, a former beauty titlist herself -- also looked around, and said, "I don't know either." And both stood there, in the middle of the stage, for what seemed like forever, while the entire place gasped at the unexpected spectacle, until finally one of the pageant advisers -- Kuya Moe to all of us -- rushed to the stage and gave the girls, and everyone else, a quick history lesson.

Let's all quote George Santayana now: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes."

UPDATE: Ed Lingao posts an update on the reactions on the video in the PCIJ blog (1 March 2011).

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