OPINION: My grandmother was a victim of Martial Law

Amir Mawallil

Posted at Nov 28 2016 07:25 PM

Fatima, my grandmother, was a victim of Martial Law.

She died in March this year. We buried her a few hours after she died. 

She was buried without 21-gun salute. She was not a wax. She died not remembering any of her children and grandchildren. In her last days, we were all strangers to her.

She died with the faint memories of the grisly past.

But I remember.

Years before she died, my grandmother was the perfect picture of gentleness. Her words were always soft and careful, each utterance gracefully calculated that I doubt she was even capable of hurting people. I do not recall a single moment where she said words that could crush my young heart and make me cry. She was always loving and she was always loved.

Thinking about her now is like being swept by a powerful gust of wind -- except that its power is not meant to destroy, rather to build something from the memories I had with her and the stories she told me as a young boy.

My grandmother was not weak, despite her gentleness. In fact, her life was a constant inspiration; fuel to my burning anger and resolve as a young student of Moro history. She's the exact opposite of weak.

One of the stories that I cannot forget was how she and her family were chased by the killing machines of Marcos on the island of Sulu.

Mortar rounds fell like rain from the skies. She and a few others survived, thanks to the shade of a big tree that blocked the view of the choppers dropping bombs.

My grandmother was not a rebel, but Marcos didn't care for details. His agenda was to crush anything and anyone whom he thought was a threat to his power.

Many of my grandmother’s relatives died and disappeared. With them, many families were shattered. Lives were broken. Those who survived revolted.

You see, her stories and her life are the very foundation of my principles as a Moro. Looking back, listening to her soft voice in my head once again, telling me of the tragedies she and our family went through, has an entirely different meaning to me now.

I cannot believe she survived the atrocities of Marcos, the same Marcos who was recently buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.

For someone whose loved one was a victim of Marcos and his dictatorship, it was an insult that deserved my resistance and indignation.

Now my heart is bleeding. My heart is bleeding for my grandmother, Fatima, and the many other victims of Marcos and his Martial rule. My heart is bleeding as I recall how gentle she was and how she died not getting the justice that she so deserved.

The dictator’s burial was a shameless disrespect of the memory of those whose lives were destroyed by Marcos and his family.

My heart is bleeding for those who were denied of justice like Fatima, my grandmother whose face, upon her death, bore the creases of age and history.

They are the same creases that remind me of reasons why we must not let go of our pain, of why there is no moving on from the past without a fight.

Amir Mawallil is a member of the Young Moro Professionals Network, the biggest organization of Muslim professionals in the country.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.