Thursday, December 11, 2008

the hubris of Ferdinand Marcos

At the height of his power, former dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos commissioned the construction of this 99-foot concrete bust of HIS own image. What drives a man to make a “Mt. Rushmore”-inspired monument of himself while he’s still living? HUBRIS, that’s what! Never mind that he had to displace the Ibaloi tribe from their traditional land on this spot just to glorify himself.

Canon PowerShot S40, 1/320s, f/4.9, 21.3mm

More than 36 years ago, in SEPTEMBER 21, 1972, Dictator Marcos declared Martial Law. His poor justification was well, take your pick: the Communist Party of the Philippines, the Moro National Liberation Front, the student protests and labor strikes. I was too young to remember then but I grew up with Marcos ruling by presidential decrees, curtailing press freedom and other civil liberties, closing down media establishments and Congress and ordering the arrest of opposition leaders and his critics. Constitutionally barred from seeking another term beyond 1973, Marcos doctored the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention to adopt a parliamentary form of government to pave the way for him to stay in power beyond 1973.

It wasn’t until 1986 that he was finally overthrown but not after hundreds of disaparecidos (the disappeared), an estimated $5-$10 billion dollars of ill-gotten wealth and ehem, 3,000 pairs of Imelda’s shoes. So let’s allow this ugly concrete monument to rot, if only to prod us that we, Filipinos, should never have short memories.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: