The Resiliency of a Fallen First Lady

Amidst a crowd of a few hundred people, I sat still, transfixed and in awe of what I was seeing. I couldn't hear what my brother was saying because of the rumble of applause that filled the auditorium. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing.

On the stage, wearing a blue dress and looking a bit fragile but still very majestic was the iron butterfly herself, the imeldific Imelda Marcos. What was really puzzling to me was the standing ovation she was being given!

I was born more than a year after EDSA revolution and all I know about that revolution is what I learned about it in school and what I hear about it today. But if there is one thing that the history books and documentaries have taught me, it is that the Marcos era was a really dark one in our country's history and that we should all be angry at the Marcos', hence my confusion at seeing hundreds of Filipinos roused by Imelda Marcos and even giving her a standing ovation. It was so weird, it felt like Ferdinand Marcos himself was on the stage and watching people applaud him. Hell, it felt like Adolf Hitler was on stage and watching people applaud him. Now that's weird!


In my mind, the Marcos era in Philippine history is like the black slavery in US history or the holocaust in Jewish history, we should all feel angry about it! But I guess I am neglecting the fact that older generations have a first-hand experience of living under Marcos' rule and all I have are second-hand stories and opinions.

But maybe they were just being polite. Maybe they were just being polite to the point of being hypocritical. But no, I could see the eagerness in their movements, most were even cheering loudly, and taking photos. I guess I now understand how a man accused of graft and plunder in the office of the Ombudsman can still enjoy favorable public onion.

A few days ago, I heard on the news that a developer in Taiwan was arrested after an earthquake destroyed some apartments which he built. Thirty-nine people were killed. My initial reaction to this news was shock, shock that something like that could happen. I'm talking about the developer's arrest. I was shocked because after having lived in this country for all of my life, I am certain that had that occurred here, the arrest would never have taken place. Remember the footwear factory fire in Valenzuela city that killed seventy-two people? Almost a year after, nobody has yet been held accountable for that tragedy.

But I really shouldn't be surprised. This is a country after all, where politicians convicted of plunder get a pardon and are still allowed to run for office. We are probably the only country in the world that forgave Japanese war criminals after world war two. Such is the forgiving nature of the Filipino.

Imelda Marcos spoke during the general assembly of a cooperative of which I am a member last fourteenth of February. She went in lieu of her son who was on the campaign trail.

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