Continuation of letters and poems from prison
(letters and poems all printed in “Pintig” (Pulse) published by Resource Center for Philippine Concerns, July 1979 Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Letter of former Senator Benigno Aquino to “Soc” Rodrigo on his hunger strike, 6 April 1975
Photo of a mural/ streamer created by Papo de Asis, photographer unnamed, from http://www.geocities.com/arkibo
“If we want our people to follow, I propose, we must cease arguing and start acting, doing what a freeman must do to assert his rights and to defend his freedoms. Actions, not words. Selfless example, not ideas. The time for talking is past!
“For my part, I’ve decided to act and set the example. If I fail, at least, it is not for lack of trying. I think it was you who said during our bull session in Bldg. No. 3 two years ago:
“ ` `Tis better to try and to fail; rather than to fail to try and forever experience the inestimable loss of what might have been.’ “
“Yes, Soc, I do not want to face my children and their generation in humiliation and shame for having failed to try and thereby allowing a tyranny to entrench itself.
“I want to thank you for your spiritual guidance. The faith you rekindled in me sustained me through the dark nights. I remember you telling me: Everywhere, a greater joy is preceded by greater suffering. I remember you, telling me that God does not sleep, and that if we must be true to him, we should follow the example of His redeemer Son.”
“In Memory of” by Papo de Asis from http://www.olvera-street.com
By Agustin Pagusara, Jr.,
Youth Rehabilitation Center, Fort Bonifacio
My daughters shall not
Grow up beautiful
But they will inherit
The wealth of my story
Neither will they be happy
For the hours of their days
Shall be counted
By ten times the troubles I now bear
But they will not weep
Nay, theirs shall be a countenance
Of firm defiance.
* * * * *
Letter of Eugenio Lopez Jr. to the then Defense Secretary, 9 December 1974
“No man has the right to degrade a fellow human being. Yet I am witness to this debasement suffered by some of my co-detainees. Their families have had to subsist on the charity of relatives and friends. When God made man unto His image, He bestowed on man a measure of dignity and integrity. When a man loses this, he becomes an animal. This is intolerable.
“I remember that oftentimes I would preach to my children the need to stand or fall on one’s principles. I now find myself in such a situation. During my incarceration, I had come to realize the unimportance and transitoriness of material wealth. I began to see that I could best prepare my children to assume their roles in society by inculcating in them a set of values which would be more lasting. That the joy and satisfaction of goodness can never be matched by the goods of this world. That where there is love, there should be no fear. That love and concern for one’s fellow man must be a way of life to strive for. And I felt that the most priceless and enduring legacy I could leave my family was my willingness to make a sacrifice for my fellow men, for the cause of freedom, justice, and truth.”
* * * *
By Clarita Roja (nom de guerre)
WHY ARE YOU SO HARD? THEY ASK.
WHY DO YOU NOT BEND A LITTLE?
The call it grace
Swaying like the bamboo
With the wind,
Listen to it weave
The music of compromise
While it kisses the ground
At your feet.
Even bamboos however
Could only bend so much,
When the storm comes
Listen to their cracking!
They break one by one.
You could only bend so much
I would prefer to be a rock
Smoothened by the years
WHY ARE YOU SO HARD? THEY ASK.
WHY DO YOU NOT BEND A LITTLE?
* * *
“Insurrection” by Papo de Asis from http://www.olvera-street.com
Against the Monster on the Land
By Jose Ma. Sison, 17 March 1978
For centuries the monster on the land
Has gorged himself with flesh and blood
Now he wields a brittle rusty sword
And still casts a spell with a cross.
We go with the children of wrath
And prepare a trap across his path
A net of vine holding a carpet of leaves
Covers the pit full of bamboo spears.
When he stumbles in the hungry hole
And raves and writhes among the poles
He shall see the children of the soil
Casting upon him buckets of flaming oil.
The night shall flee from the flames.
These shall rage until the break of day
And merge with the glory of the sun.
The monster shall have been gone.
His sword shall break by a hammer blow
On a rock from which a sweet spring flows.
The fragments of the swords we shall gather
To fashion new things by the hammer.
The children of the soil shall be freed
Of yoke and terror in their country
They shall stand against any monster
And win by wit and engulfing number.
The festival of the children of the soil
Is the festival of all children of toil.
We joyously sing and dance with them
As the ancient monster comes to an end.
* * *
“Liberty Leading the People” by Eugene Delacroix from www.search.com
Excerpt of a lecture of former Senator Jose W. Diokno at an international council meeting of Amnesty Internationale
21 September 1978
“I should close, but there is a memory locked in my heart that begs to be shared. It is the memory of a young couple – not yet in their thirties – whom I saw some months ago in a large hall that had been converted into a military courtroom, waiting for their case to be called in which they stood accused with some ninety other young people.
“I had met the young man before martial law. He was a university student, a leader: brilliant, articulate, involved. That day in the courtroom he sat in a rattan chair, almost motionless, staring blankly ahead, his mouth half-open, totally oblivious to the people and the chatter around him: for he had been detained under martial law; punished so repeatedly and so brutally, and subjected to so large a dose of what the military call the truth serum, that his mind had cracked. He is confined, to this day, in the mental ward of a military hospital.
“Behind him stood his wife, straight and proud, one hand lightly resting on the crown of his head, the other touching his shoulder, tenderly yet defiantly, ready to spring on anyone who might still wish to hurt her husband.
“As I looked at the couple, I saw in them the face of every Filipino; and I knew then that martial law could crush our bodies; it could break our minds; but it could not conquer our spirit. It may silence our voice and seal our eyes; but it cannot kill our hope nor obliterate our vision. We will struggle on, no matter how long it takes or what it costs, until we establish a just community of free men and women in our land, deciding together, working and striving together, but also singing and dancing, laughing and loving together.”