SUFFER THE CHILDREN: Sons who have not learned


THERE WAS A CHILD … who cowered as soldiers came for her father. THERE WAS A FATHER, taken away and returned home broken, battered.

There was this not-so-distant time we lived in, grew up in. That is why we say ‪#‎NeverForget and ‪#‎NeverAgain.

A time that is a blot on our history, a national shame, a stain on the nation’s soul. A blot that spread because many of us shrugged when we saw strangers dragged from their homes, dumped on the streets, in ditches, on a sugarcane field. A blot that spread and spread and spread as we looked away. A blot that one day breached our illusions of safety.

There was that time.

And there is today.

Slide1A CHILD WHO COULD NOT SAVE HIS FATHER and brothers and cousins — also children — when the soldiers came.

A daughter who could not save her father, a sister who wishes she could have borne a sibling’s burden of grief and trauma.

Michelle Campos, daughter of slain lumad leader, Dionel Campos. Photo by inday espina-varona
Michelle Campos, daughter of slain lumad leader, Dionel Campos. Photo by inday espina-varona

Children, thousands of them in 95 schools, forced to flee because soldiers demand the only education allowed is that which parrots their message.

Fathers, again many fathers, taken away, returned home battered, broken and sometimes dead.

A father who sang and farmed and danced with his children.

A father whose biological offspring shared him with other children.

A father who stepped in when disputes flared in the community. apad-011415A father whose child weeps even as he bids a hunted man to take to the open fields and roam free, strong and brave  — on land their ancestors called home.

There was that time.

And there is today.

And there are two sons who mouth platitudes about their fathers and betray what they have not learned.

And there are those of us who still remain silent and provide excuses for those who killed — and kill. There are those who try to hide the red blot that spread — and spreads… and spreads… and spreads.

Sheina Campos, 13, keeping insects off the body of her slain father, Dionel, a lumad leader of Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Photograb from Kilab multimedia production,
Sheina Campos, 13, keeping insects off the body of her slain father, Dionel, a lumad leader of Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Photograb from Kilab multimedia production, “Tum-od”

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4 thoughts on “SUFFER THE CHILDREN: Sons who have not learned

  1. What is the difference between Pnoy and Bongbong. Pnoy is the son of Ninoy Aquino who was assasinated during Marcos, the dictator. Now during the time of Pnoy the father of a lumad son was salvaged, and many more. Is there a big differrence between Pnoy and Marcos. Bonbong has not done anything obvious yet. But justice has not been given to many victims of Martial Law. And the whole family is gearing towards return to Malakanyang. Ganun na lang ba talaga? This is not what the people are fighting for. These are bougeoise political conflicts between two landlord clans. They are both on the otherside of the fence. The resolutions of their conflict will not benefit the people.

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  2. I had often wondered why the Revolution of 1896 failed, even when its initiators came from the exploited class—the class that like their counterparts in France at that time had the most progressive and clearest ideas of what true independence and a better life for the poor will entail. Maybe, it was because the leadership of the 1896 revolution was usurped by less exploited fellow Filipinos who did not carry their interests; Filipinos who promised to speak for the exploited, carry their interests to heart, only to betray the exploited class when they came to power. Thank you for this commentary that illustrates just how close the exploited class are to being betrayed again—this time, in a time when there is even no revolution to speak of. It is the election season, and as it was of the father, and of the son, so it will be again.

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  3. It’s so hard for our politicians to change their spots. I think the main problem is our system. They go in CLEAN or nearly clean then come out dirty or compromised. Our system produce these bad eggs, encouraged by weak laws, political dynasties & cronyism. There’s no longer true check in balance in our govt. The president has too much power and influence. Our Supreme Court judges should not be chosen by the president but by organizations of lawyers. Heads or commissioners of COA, BIR, Dept of Justice & COMELEC should be elected by the people. Judges in the U.S. are elected. Definitely we need to modify our Constitution as soon as possible.

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