Batuhan: The greatest ever?

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By Allan S. B. Batuhan

Foreign Exchange

Friday, February 28, 2014

HISTORY has a perverse way of getting extremely twisted in the retelling.

Notice, for example, how the Holocaust has become a disputed event in history – vehemently denied by some, mourned deeply by many – depending on which side of the political fence you happen to sit.

Most of the world’s humanity understand it to be the worst act of inhumanity ever perpetrated. Almost everyone agrees that it did take place, that hundreds of thousands of Jews were led to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps, for no other reason than to be born to a certain race, and to believe in a certain religion.


The descendants of the perpetrators themselves – today’s Germans – make no attempts whatsoever to hide from the heinous acts of their forefathers. Almost to a man, woman and child, they are profusely apologetic for their countrymen’s actions, and would want to do everything in their power to redress the wrongs of the past.

Notice here that I used the world “almost.” Almost because not everyone is convinced that the terrible act really was that terrible. Or for some, that it even happened at all.

Neo-Nazis, modern-day versions of the madmen who led the Jews to the gas chambers, will claim that it was a necessary “cleansing act” that had to take place. Still believers in the obscene myth that the Jews are a scourge to humanity, they remain committed – at least in principle – to their demise.

They are joined in their mad fantasy by fringe sectors like the radical Islamists, who have no love lost for Israel. No less than the former president of Iran himself claimed, in his address to the UN, that the Holocaust never took place, at least not how it is being historically portrayed by most decent human beings.

So history, being by definition something that occurred in the past, really is subject to contemporary interpretation, and as such – to gross distortion and misrepresentation – by those interpreting it.

This was my thought exactly when I noticed another large-scale distortion of reality happening, this time closer to home. On the eve of the EDSA “People Power” revolution last week, many of our countrymen – perhaps smoking the same weed as the Neo-Nazis and the Islamist radicals – began putting out tweets and Facebook comments, praising the former dictator and corrupt president Ferdinand Marcos, as being – wait for it – “the best president” the Philippines ever had. Well, probably yes, if you also believe that Hitler was the best leader Germany ever had!

To pass off the Holocaust as a non-event, given that it happened outside many of today’s living people’s lifetimes, may be slightly excused on the grounds of ignorance on the part of its believers. But for something like the EDSA Revolution – which happened barely a generation ago – it is inexcusable. Most of the people who lived through the Marcos years, and who fought long and hard to eradicate the country of his draconian rule, are still very much with us. I am one of those people, and I don’t even consider myself old!

One of the blessings of the Internet age, is the ability of most anyone to express an opinion, however terribly misinformed it may be. But also one of its cruel curses is for these distorted world views to get disseminated so quickly, and allowed to poison the minds of those who are not well-informed.

Marcos was a monster who killed people for sport. Those who are now tweeting about his glory, stop for a moment in your insanity, and just go ask any lucid and reasonable person over the age of forty, just how evil and depraved the man was. You do not need distorted information from the web to tell you lies about his “glorious” deeds.

The people who were witness to his depravity are still very much among the living.

They are called your grandparents, your parents and your elders. Learn from their experience, instead of relying on some fantasy-land tweets and status updates, from the equally ignorant and misinformed. Not doing so will consign you to the same rubbish heap as the neo-Nazis and the radical Islamists, who glorify the man Hitler, for the mother of all mass murders ever committed on the face of the earth.

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Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 01, 2014.


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