While updating my website, I came across this story that I did while I was in Germany. Very timely to see while the issue of Martial Law and the Marcoses are opening up deep old wounds again.
So how do we deal with the atrocities in the past for us to be able to move on forward? In South Africa, the Reconciliation Commission was assembled after the apartheid to make sure that justice is given to all the victims. Victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence also gave testimonies and can request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution. Germany built massive memorials and made sure future generations know what happened and what shouldn’t happen again.
To quote Tom Koenigs, a member of the German Parliament of what should be done for reconciliation to be sincere and effective:
“People want their dignity back. One of the first things that we should do after a genocide, sometimes more important than food, is to put up monuments.Truth must be found, justice served and the victim’s honor regained.”
The question is, did the Philippines really had a closure for everyone to move on? Did we really address all the injustices made during Martial Law? Was the truth found? Justice served? And victim’s honor regained? Did the construction of Bantayog ng mga Bayani monument suffice in addressing all these?