By Isabelle Laureta
So former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos is now buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, and the Filipino people are, once again, divided. One of the first ones who reacted against this were the Millennials—at least those I knew. Rallies were swiftly organized, our social media feeds: were (and still are) brimming with sentiments against the Marcoses and conversations heavily colored with anger and frustration were publicly and privately held. For a moment, I felt the patriotic atmosphere. And despite what happened that day, I was happy and proud.
But then it had to happen. Somebody just had to burst the anti-Marcos bubble with their stereotypical—sometimes insulting—assumptions on Millennials and citing it as reasons for discrediting us and the things we’re fighting for. We’ve seen and heard these comments too many times, and frankly, I’m getting tired of it.
1‘Bayaran!’ or ‘Siguro required sa school nila ang mag-rally.’
Why is this insulting? Because it implies that we mainly operate on money and reward system, thus we don’t have any principles of our own. But we do. We’re old enough to know what’s right from wrong, and we don’t need some sort of reward to form an opinion. This is what it means to stand up for something. Principles know no age, and it definitely doesn’t have a price. I mean, you should know this since you’re so adamant in defending the other side, right?
2‘Dilawan! Maka-Aquino ka kasi!’
No, okay? We have to stop this false dichotomy that suggests that if we’re anti-Marcos, we’re automatically pro-Aquino. Guys, the world isn’t black and white or, in this case, red and yellow. These people condemn the faults of the Aquinos, too, and that doesn’t negate the atrocities that happened during Martial Law. If anything, we’re pro-country. Pro-Filipino.
3‘Ang ganda mo pa naman,’ among other disgusting comments.
Out of all the blood-curdling things I saw going around for the past weeks, probably the most unacceptable were the malicious comments from perverts on photos of women rallyists. I don’t get it, like, do you think these women are so stupid that you’d rather sexualize them instead of engage them in intellectual conversation? Or are you just that of a pervert that you’d sexualize anything even if it’s out of the context?
So you think you can destroy us with your disgusting comments? Think again.
What it only did was make us angrier and made us want to fight the system even more by seeking legal help. Sorry, but we won’t be taking any of that. Also, just a reminder: a woman can smart and be pretty at the same time.
4‘Let’s learn how to forgive.’
Tell that to the families of people who were killed and tortured. Yep, tell them to forgive a family who doesn’t bother to ask for forgiveness, never intends to, and even denies their involvement in what had happened even when there are proof.
5‘Kung makapagsalita ka, hindi ka pa naman buhay noon!’
Well, grandpa, that’s what history books are for. We don’t have to live through something to know what happened. And we have the right to form opinions about what we know is true about history, because if we don’t, then why do we even bother studying the Spanish colonial period? If that’s the case, then don’t let me catch you talking about the American occupation. You didn’t live through that, right? And you don’t have the right to greet me a happy birthday if you weren’t even there when I was born. Get it?
6‘Bakit, ikaw ba ’yung nanakawan/namatayan?’
Well, first of all, I could have been, so shut your insensitive mouth. And second of all, there’s this thing called “empathy.” Look it up. Just because it didn’t happen to you, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen to anyone else. And just because it happened to someone else, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about it. It’s sad that we’re too quick to send prayers to other countries when disastrous things happen to them, but it’s so hard to squeeze out the same level of empathy when the same thing happens to ours.
7‘Mag-aral ka na lang kaysa kung anu-ano ginagawa mo!’
Darling, that’s exactly why we’re doing this, because we studied and we did it well. We know what happened was wrong, thanks to our years of education. And for the love of God, what we’re doing isn’t “kung anu-ano.” In fact, it’s exactly what we’re doing that played a huge part in getting us back the freedom you’re enjoying now. So please, don’t worry about wasting your taxes on these students, because it’s definitely being put to good use.