Ampatuan Massacre: Do You Still Give a Damn?
This day marks the 32nd month of the infamous Ampatuan Massacre, a horrible event in our history where 58 people were killed, 34 of whom were journalists or working for the broadcast industry. But do you still care?
It seems like the attention of the public on this issue is slowly going to the depths of the abyss of the forgotten. It’s in one of the infamous characteristics of the Filipinos. We have a short attention span. We tend to forget our past easily. Mabilis makalimot. Mabilis magpatawad.
Perhaps the media outlets and the Filipinos who care are too focused on the State of the Nation Adress (SONA) of President Noynoy Aquino this afternoon. Or we are too busy defending our sovereignty and territory against our bullying neighbor countries. Or maybe because of the slow progress of the case (if there is one), we have lost hope.
Or perhaps we no longer care anymore? As I write this piece, the local Twitter trending topics are filled with obscure statements of support for these pseudo-reality love teams and famewhores. It’s a tragedy that these fantards behind the so-called ‘jeje trends’ on Twitter seem to be more influential than the people behind the voices of reform, vital information, advocacy, and policy making. What a shame!
But by letting this event just pass us by our consciousness, it will appear that we are condoning the perpetrators of this crime. Or depriving justice to the victims and their families. Or killing the fifty-eight victims repeatedly. Or allowing the culture of impunity in our country.
Impunity. Kawalang pakundangan. It’s like saying “Go ahead, kill everyone who are against your plans! Shoot the story tellers! We allow murder in our country! No one is punished by the way.”
And we don’t want it that way, right? So what can we do as an ordinary citizen?
- Never forget. Let us always put the Ampatuan massacre into consciousness. One way of doing it is to post something about it every 23rd of the month for everyone to see (on Facebook, Twitter, and in your blogs). This will help those who have forgotten to remember.
- Be an educated and wise voter. The Ampatuan massacre is an election-related violence which involves (an alleged) private army. Choose your leaders wisely. Do not be swayed by their goods during the campaign season.
- Be vigilant. Stay on guard, be watchful. Let us be our brother’s keeper. And let us keep an eye on the proceedings of the trial (even if it takes 55,000 years, according to Atty. Harry Roque).
Let us offer a minute of silence to remember the victims of the massacre. And ask God - or the Cosmos or some Force, depending on your belief - that this would never happen again.
Justice for the Victims of the Ampatuan Massacre. Never Forget. Never again.
from: "Memoriam" by Anne Michaels
I have nothing to give you, nothing to carry,
some words to make me less afraid, to say
you gave me this.
Memory insists with its sea voice,
muttering from its bone cave.
Memory wraps us
like the shell wraps the sea.
Nothing to carry,
some stones to fill our pockets,
to give weight to what we have.