Prints and Traces

By DON J. PAGUSARA

On the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, we pay tribute to all those who gave up their lives in supreme sacrifice for the Motherland during that era of terror in our history.

But undeclared Martial Law is still the quality of governance after all the post-Marcos regimes up to the current administration of President Benigno Aquino III. And so the list of martyrs expands, the latest of which includes the hapless Lumads murdered by the government soldiers in the rural areas where militarization is intense and terrifying. In Loreto, Agusan del Sur, an evacuee who is part of those who took refuge in Davao City in the past two weeks is the latest victim of inhumanity perpetrated by President Noynoy Aquino’s soldiers.

Here is a versified species of A Tribute to all the victims of human rights violation . and to all those who fought and died in defense of Inangbayan until today —

All Honor And Praise
To the Martyrs of the Struggle
of the Filipino People

My Comrades in Arms, hear! Hear!
Hear the pulsating spurts of feeling that
cascades from the fountainhead of reminiscence of the people who truly love our country!
Hear the tales of heroism retold anew
from the undying memory of struggles,
forever flowing to irrigate the valor,
vigor, vitality and strength
of all those who have continued
the fight for justice, democracy
and national liberation!

The fighting force of the masses
in the cities and countryside have spread and
branched out in all its pure vigor and freshness!
They who have since embraced the ideals of
struggle against society’s monsters and pests!
Who have kept their pristine love for the country!

Comrades, hear! Hear me sing the hymn
that for so long a time has not faded out,
nay, has kept its melody clearly resounding
the music in their names! This is their song!
The story of their heroism! They! They who are
the martyrs of the longstanding people’s struggle!

On this day, we scrape off the dirt and
grasses that overlay the ashes of our past.
Today we remove the muddy soil, the stones
and sand — all the stuffs that have covered
the living bones and flesh of our history —
the history of a people who have held high
the ideals of justice, democracy and liberty.

We parry aside the dirt stuff and grasses,
carefully, so that we don’t lose the precious
remembrances — the sound of their sacred names,
the unforgettable moments they spent
in communion with the masses of the deprived
and the oppressed… the hours and minutes when
they simply scorned the thorns of hardships,
mocked the sampinit barbs of sacrifices,
faced with disdain the challenges of death!

There they are! Martyrs in the struggles and battles
for the cause of genuine people’s democracy!
Behold them! Look closely! Scan their faces!
Sing the musical tones of their names!
Trace the footprints and marks of their soles
on the bloodstained battlefields, on the ash-filled
terrains where they fell beside the weapons of their
supreme sacrifice to Freedom and Sovereignty!

Amidst the fierce slash of rains and storms,
and beneath the scorching heat of the Sun,
they trek, with unuttered anger in their hearts
at the pseudo-gods and false monarchs of society,
their arms heavy with the agony, cries and wails
of the downtrodden, the exploited and the oppressed. . .
On their lips the eternal marching songs,
the hum of nightmarish mumblings about
the miserable plight of Inangbayan!

Lo and behold! They’re on a vigorous trek
on mountain trails and footways overlooking
on both sides the parlous cliffs of death. But
they heed not, nor mind the sharp grassblades
of the talahib, on their pathways. . .neither the
pointed barbs of the bamboo kagingking and the
treacherous makahiya . . . their footfalls rhythmic
with the music of treeleaves and lisping flowers,
the sparkle in their eyes borrowed from moonshine
and starlight, nightlamps of the hilltribe masses!

Forever their minds and hearts are visited and fed
by words of wisdom from the lips of the barrio folks, as revolutionary teachings, not from pages of books,
but from living experiences of struggles of the masses.
They are the bottomless wellspring of inspiration
in the hearts and souls of the sons of the race! They’re
the living sculptures of recollections of skirmishes
and armed encounters on farmlands and warpaths.

There they are! — heroes of the masses — the true
fighters and firm defenders of the people’s cause,
who lyricise with their vigilance the liberation
of the Mother Land from the quagmire of misery.
Here they are! Mighty sons of Andres Bonifacio!
Valiant comrades-in-arms of the New Katipunan!
` The real weapons of the masses — yes, the masses
for whom Gat Andres gave his life to sacrifice.
the masses who are the real makers of history!

Behold them! Telescope them in their journey!
In their trek through the narrow, thickly forested passageways towards the glistening sky in the East!
The light of dawn glistened in their eyes on the hour
when they fell — the same light of dawn that now
brightens the way of the freedom fighters of our race
who have picked up their weapons upon their fall!

But their memory will never never die!
Their love, embraced by all those who truly love
the Mother Land, will forever be throbbing. Never! Oh never will the lofty meaningfulness
of their sacrifices dissipate and perish!
The priceless legacy of their death will remain an everlasting torch to light the cause of all patriotic
peoples who have dauntlessly pursued the war
to win genuine democracy and sovereignty . . .

Let us embrace them! Honor and praise them!
Let us fly and wave the banner of their example!
Let us hold high the ideals they fought for!
The ideal of nationalist and pro-people stance!

Long live the revolutionary masses!
Long live the sons of Andres Bonifacio!
Long live the National Democratic Struggle!
Long live the Martyrs of the Filipino People!

– Don Pagusara
18 Sept 2013

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