Editorial: Stamp out dictators


Some 35 years ago, among the jokes shared then were parallelisms made of a supposed couple-dictator in South America or the fascist Hitler with our own “conjugal dictatorship” who also would have rewritten history the way they would have wanted it, and not the way people carved it.

Recently, Philpost hit the top of the news as they did their task of printing centennial postage stamps for former presidents on their centennial birthday. It would have been just another ordinary centennial stamp but it earned the ire of netizens and the victims of martial law who the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) has proven in a class suit they initiated and won in a US Hawaiin court some three decades ago that there are some 70000 Filipino victims of martial law who have been killed, disappeared, illegally detained, tortured, raped and abused by government military their militia and civillian assets. Having won the case and the victims were called and processed for the initial claims of compensation, it is turning out that there are more than just 70,000 victims of human rights violations under the Marcos martial law.

Today, human rights organizations like Karapatan and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA) hit the popularity campaign purposes and attempt to ‘sanitize history’ by PhilPost’s production of the centenial stamp of the late president and dictator Marcos. Which are the under lying targets to cleanse and popularize the dead dictator’s name to boost the descendants’ campaign to take a shot at the top of the political leadership of the country, and with the obvious support of the incumbent at the Malacañang.

One of the jokes cracked during those dark days of the martial rule somehow involved a postage stamp. The story roughly says;

There was a (the Latin American) dictator who had the post office issue stamps with his portrait, and so they did issue it. After a while the post men filed a report of overwhelming complaints that there was something very wrong with the stamp because no matter how many times the people spat on the it, it did not stick. It must be re-done or changed the report recommended. So, the post master so ordered and the sticker or paste was put on the topside of the stamp. The next report said stamp users are rather more satisfied now … “spitting on the face of the dictator”.

Filipinos, us, seem to have a predilection of cracking jokes or puns of the terrible political and economic situation we are all in, like this one abovementioned that hopes and gives an underlying message for a common action against dictators (or possible ones). Well, we had an “Edsa people’s power” or the experience of the Chico river dam struggle as examples of both articulated, silent decisions, and concrete collective actions that only a people united can successfully pull through. The stamp printing guidelines are not for honoring cruel presidents … but maybe more of warning people to already keep out dictators from our government. # nordis.net


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