Flip side of hero worship

Conrado de Quiros in his article, Whole Truth, for Philippine Star informs readers that “the Senate has just passed a law that would create the Memorial Commission. The Commission will oversee the teaching of martial law’s atrocities in schools” in the basic, secondary, and tertiary levels.

In this task, the Commission is likened to one stricken with a bizarre form of OC in which, over and over, you go to the cemetery to dig up your hated dead, reminisce its act when it was alive, curse its bones and all, and worse do all this in front of children. Unless you decide that your OC has to stop and therefore free yourself from the power of this dead on you and your life, you can declare yourself dead too. This is no way to live your life or inspire other lives.

To regularly and perpetually teach children and young people about one man’s “atrocities” in a one-hour subject is tantamount to brainwash by an institution and as a result violence to their psyche.

Let’s have an analogy: say, parents who separated or divorced, maybe bitterly. What do you think their children will feel, think, and conclude when one of their separated parents constantly dump on them the bad things their spouse, the children’s other parent, did? These children are candidates for the psychologist’ chair in no time.

Another analogy: take Hannibal and Hitler. How do you think school children will turn out studying under a microscope the extreme behavior of Hannibal the cannibal in all its gory details? How do you think school children will turn out when they study Hitler’s extent of crimes? We’re talking here school children – elementary and high school – studying criminals’ extreme crimes. Me thinks there would be among them who because of the regular exposure to this study of extreme violence will turn out to be violence itself, ala Hannibal or Hitler – the flip side of hero worship.

We’re again seeing in this policy a blanket approach which, experience tells us, is a misdirected approach to policy making.

The Commission’s task, while perhaps good in its intention, will backfire in ways that outweigh intended benefits. The study is more appropriate for university students who are, say, specializing in Ferdinand Marcos, Good Governance, Philippine Revolutions, Philippine History, Philippine Politics, and the like.


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