Do You Still Give a Damn?

This day marks the 26th 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?

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A few days ago, I wrote about the eleventh anniversary of EDSA Dos and why do people seem not to give a damn to throw a celebration. I assumed that people tend to forget it because it was a considered a nightmare, a dark part of of our history that should be forgotten and never be repeated again. It has transformed into a collective repressed memory for the Filipino people.

Repressed memory is a hypothetical concept used to describe a significant memory, usually traumatic ones, that has become unavailable for recall. It is also called motivated forgetting wherein the subject blocks painful or traumatic events in one’s life.

This massacre is undoubtedly one of the most horrible events in our history and democracy. Fifty-eight people were killed in an election-related violence, thirty-four of whom were people working for the broadcast industry in a country where there is supposed to be a freedom of the press.

This is an event so painful and traumatic that it could become a collective repressed memory for the family’s victims and Filipinos. But should it be?

No!

Unlike EDSA Dos where nobody seems to give a damn to throw a celebration and/or memorial every year (for obvious reasons, I believe), this one should be different.

Most of us may have forgotten this horrible event in our history. This issue may have been overshadowed by the recent issues in our country.

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.”

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.

Elsewhere:

On the Maguindanao massacre, impunity and the role of media in a supposed democracy (by ellobofilipino) – Last November, during the second anniversary of the massacre, I asked what if there were no members of the media involved in the massacre, would the impact be the same? This is Sir Kim’s take on the issue.
End Impunity. Remember Ampatuan. – TV-5/Interaksyon.com’s comprehensive page about the Ampatuan Massacre. (Two thumbs up for continuously updating this page.)

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