Ang Litrato ng Tatay Ko (Isang Pagbabahagi sa Araw ng Mga Nawawala)

ni Ron de Vera
August 30, 2013 | International Day of the Disappeared

Bata pa ako nung araw na mawala ang litrato ng tatay ko. May malakas na bagyo. Nabasa na nga ang nanay ko, kaya’t imbes na sumugod na naman sa ulan, pinili niyang manatili na lang sa bahay. Lalo na’t may sugat ang paa niya. Mahirap na. Mahirap nang tumakbo.

Hindi ko rin lubos na maunawaan kung bakit palipat-lipat ng puwesto ang litrato ng tatay ko. Minsan nasa tabi ng katre, minsan nasa estante sa sala, minsan naman, tinatago sa ilalim ng mesa pag may di kilalang bisita. Hindi ko na nga nakabisado ang itsura ng litrato ng tatay ko, dahil madalang ko naman ito makita.

Kaya naman nung araw na mawala ang litrato ng tatay ko, hindi ko rin maunawaan kung anong dapat kong maramdaman. Dapat ba akong malungkot eh hindi ko naman ito laging nakikita? Dapat ba akong matuwa gayung mahalaga ito sa nanay ko?

Patuloy ang pagbagsak ng malakas na ulan. At patuloy rin sa paghahanap ang nanay ko. Ang tanong niya, ano daw ang naaalala ko bago mawala ang litrato ng tatay ko. May kasama bang iba pang litrato ang litrato ng tatay ko, o mag-isa lang ba ito? Maraming tanong ang nanay ko na hindi ko masagot. Kaya’t lumabas ang nanay ko para magtanong kay Aling Cory, ang may-ari ng inuupahan namin. Sa likod ng bahay lang naman namin siya nakatira. Kaya mabilis lang dapat ito.

Pero pagkatagal-tagal ng pakikipag-usap ng nanay ko kay Aling Cory at sa mga kasambahay nito. Wala daw sa kanila. Bakit naman daw nila ito kukunin? Ano naman daw ang mahihita nila dito? Baka naman daw nanay ko rin ang may kasalanan kung bakit nawawala ang litratong ito. Pagbalik ng nanay ko, kakaiba na ang hubog ng mukha niya. Malayo ang tingin. Walang damdamin ang bibig, lugmok ang pisngi, bakante ang mga mata. May hinala daw siya tungkol kay Aling Cory pero kahit mapatunayan man daw niya ito, hindi naman daw aamin si Aling Cory.

Nagsimulang matuklap ang kisame ng maliit na bahay namin. Nagsimulang pumasok ang tubig-ulan sa bubong. Dalawa lang kami ni nanay nun kaya’t tinulungan ko siya kahit sobrang hirap. Ginawa ko ang lahat ng makakaya ng siyam na taong gulang kong katawan. Punas dito, tapal dun, timba dito, planggana dun. Alam kong pagod na pagod na si nanay kaya’t kahit pagod na pagod na rin ako, hindi ko ito pinahalata sa kaniya. Nanlumo ako nang marinig ko sa radyo na lalakas pa daw ang bagyo.

Pagsapit ng hatinggabi, naubos na ang mga timba at planggana. Naubos na rin ang pantapal. Kaya’t alam naming ilang minuto na lang ay magsisimula nang bumaha sa loob ng bahay namin. Nang magsimulang tumaas ang baha, nagsimula na ring tumulo ang luha ng nanay ko. Hindi ko alam kung dala ito ng binabaha naming bahay o ng nawawalang litrato ng tatay ko.

Halatang gusto na niyang humiga’t matulog pero wala nang puwesto. Nakatayo lang siya sa gitna ng binabaha naming sala. Nakayuko. Nakatingin sa kawalan. Kaya’t lumapit ako at yinakap ko siya. Tumingin siya sa akin at kahit pa basa na ng luha ang mukha niya ay nakuha pa niyang ngumiti. Linibing ko ang mukha ko sa tiyan niya para itago ang sarili kong mga luha. At bigla siyang kumanta. “Tulog na bunso ang iyong ama ay nasa malayong bayan…” Patuloy ang pagpatak ng ulan, patuloy ang pagpatak ng luha ng nanay ko, patuloy ang pagpatak ng luha ko.

Sinubukan kong intindihin ang nararamdaman ko. At napagtanto kong hindi ito lungkot kundi galit. Galit na galit ako sa bagyo sa lipunan. Galit na galit ako sa baha ng karahasan. Galit ako sa mga mapang-aping nagpapaluha sa nanay ko. Galit ako sa mga ganid na militar na sumugat sa paa ng nanay ko. At higit sa lahat, galit na galit ako sa mga dumukot sa litrato ng tatay ko.

Mahigit dalawang dekada nang nawawala ang litrato ng tatay ko. Magaling na ang sugat sa paa ng nanay ko. Kaya’t balik na naman siya sa pagsugod sa ulan, gaya ng nakagawian. Sabi niya, mahalaga ang lumuha. Pero higit na mahalaga ang lumaban. Kaya’t habang walang patid ang ulan, walang patid din ang laban.

Mahigit dalawang dekada nang nawawala ang litrato ng tatay ko. Natutunan ko nang pigilin ang luha ko pag nababanggit ito. At natutunan ko na ring paamuhin ang galit sa dibdib ko. Nakatulong rin na marami rin palang tulad namin na nawawalan ng litrato.

Tanggap na ba naming hindi na namin makikita ang litrato ng tatay ko? Puedeng hindi, puedeng oo. Ang mahalaga ay hindi lang ang hanapin ang mga litratong ito. Ang mahalaga ay sugpuin ang sanhi kung bakit nangyayari ito. Para bukas wala nang bagyong hahampas sa mga anak natin. Para bukas wala nang bahang sisira sa mga buhay ng mga apo natin. Para bukas, wala nang magpapaluha sa atin. Para bukas, wala nang magpapagalit sa atin. Pero sa araw na ito, makiisa muna tayo. Sa araw na ito, kumuha muna tayo ng lakas sa isa’t isa, lakas na magpatuloy sa paghahanap, lakas na magpatuloy sa pakikipaglaban. Sa araw na ito, kayo muna ang litrato ng tatay ko.

Surface our disappeared! Resist U.S. Imperialist Militarist Aggression Against the World’s Peoples

Statement of the International Women’s Alliance on the International Day of the Disappeared

30 August 2013

 

The practice of making a person ‘disappear’ has been utilized by government’s to silence dissent, leaving no traces of anything being perpetuated in the hope of erasing opposition completely. We see this strategy being employed where dissent against a government is most prevalent. States, through various means, like its security forces, private armed groups, and paramilitary groups, attempt to deflect accountability from this practice.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s in Argentina’s Dirty War the term ‘desaparecidos’ was used to fill in the void left by hundreds and thousands of people being disappeared. Asked to comment on the matter by the press, General Jorge Rafael Videla, then Argentina’s de facto President said “They are neither dead nor alive. They are disappeared”. Until today, it is believed that at least 30, 000 people have been disappeared in Argentina. In different parts of the globe many of our brothers and sisters working for genuine national and social liberation are still missing while we ourselves face the constant threat of disappearing. Even today, when various international instruments have been promulgated against enforced disappearances the practice continues. It is now upon us—those who remain to end the culture of impunity, demand the surfacing of our relatives and friends, and justice from the state. In Mexico, between the years 2006-2011 an estimated 5,397 persons have been disappeared, 1,885 are women. In Syria, the combined cases of enforced disappearances during the successive rules Hafez and Bashar al-Assad since the 1970s are at an estimated minimum of 10, 000 to as many as 120, 000, with 4,000-50, 000 women missing based on different estimates—even observers find it difficult to ascertain the exact number of disappeared. In the Philippines, there are at least 1, 800 victims of enforced disappearances since the Marcos Dictatorship. Most damning of all, especially in the wake of America’s War on Terror: the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances currently has nearly 43, 000 open cases.

U.S. and other imperialist nations’ hands are bloodied. The U.S. along with other imperialist nations have consistently backed fascist dictatorships to serve as pliable conduits of its neoliberal policies started at around the time enforced disappearances became in vogue along with an increase in incidences of human rights violations in general. Today, with the intensifying financial and economic crises being experienced in the heartlands of imperialism a new wave of intensifying human rights violations are being perpetrated by states, with the support or even direct participation of the U.S. We must see these disappearances as signs of a people rising up to resist imperialist plunder of their nations and as such raise our struggles from finding our disappeared to fighting against the imperialist militarist attack against the world’s peoples.

To those of us left behind, we have a responsibility to fill the emptiness left by our daughters, mothers, sons, fathers, and friends. We must fill this emptiness with the memories and struggles of the disappeared, we must unite with other families, friends, and other people with whom we share our emptiness. We must continue to search the disappeared. We must be relentless in pursuing the struggle of the disappeared for a just and peaceful world.

END IMPUNITY NOW!

SURFACE ALL THE DISAPPEARED!

PROSECUTE PERPETRATORS OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES AND OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!

RESIST IMPERIALIST MILITARIST AGRESSION AGAINST THE PEOPLE!

STATEMENT ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE DISAPPEARED

By Desaparecidos (Philippines), Fundacion Amancio Samuel Villatoro (Guatemala)

As we commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared, we express our solidarity with the families of the desaparecidos in all parts of the globe where a loved one was seized by state security forces and never seen again. Let us turn this day not a time to mourn our loss but a time to rise; a time to firmly resolve that our fight against enforced disappearance and other forms of human rights violations shall continue until justice prevails.

While the killing of a loved one is painful, the involuntary disappearance of one is even more excruciating. Being kept in limbo on their whereabouts makes one nurture hopeless hope that one day they will surface alive and hale. And endlessly guessing and imagining what they have gone through brings in the chill, the tormenting anguish.

But we choose and we dare to rise above this situation. Let us admit without accepting that in a society ruled by greed of the mighty and the powerful, exploitation and oppression of the weak persists. They will try to silence those who profess dissent and those who aspire for meaningful change. But let this not dampen our spirit nor cow us to submission; rather, let this inspire us to action, to spurn and change this system. Together we shall triumph, justice and peace shall prevail.

Enforced disappearance is a policy and practice of States meant to terrorize the people and to silence its critics and the dissenters. This is evident in the Latin Americas during the 1960’s to 1980’s where US-backed military dictators ruled. It was through Operation Condor that enforced disappearance was systematically perpetrated as part of counter-insurgency programs of military regimes. Initiated by the Central Intelligence Agency of the US, Operation Condor aimed to eradicate communism and its ideas and to suppress any potential opposition movements against its member governments. Soviet Union at that time poses as a threat to the world order which the US is the dominant power. Regimes in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil were supported by the US government through technical support, military aid and providing training in the US army School of the Americas, where the grotesque acts of torture, killings, disappearances, rape and other forms of rights abuses were instituted and taught in the operational field manuals.

The Guatemalan people have earlier suffered the pain brought about by the enforced disappearances of 45,000 persons due to the Civil War which started in the 1960’s. To protect the economic interest of US in Guatemala, the earlier phase of the counter-insurgency of Guatemalan government was under direct assistance of US Public Safety Advisor John P. Longan to senior military and police officials in implementing covert and overt anti-guerilla operations. State security forces began to abduct, torture and kill PGT (Guatemalan Labor Party).

And it is no coincidence that in the Philippines, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos then was laying the ground for the declaration of martial law and implemented it in 1971, while military dictators in Latin Americas were perpetrating various human rights violations.

In the Philippines, cases of enforced disappearance continue. From Marcos’ martial law, where 759 victims of enforced disappearance were recorded, the supposedly icon of democracy, Cory Aquino, surpassed the record and registered more than 821 cases of disappearance. During the Ramos administration, 39 disappearances were reported. Despite Joseph Estrada’s short stint in the presidency, 26 victims were documented during his time. Meanwhile, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s record on enforced disappearance shows 206 cases.

To this date, the current dispensation of Noynoy Aquino, who speaks of a changed military institution that has respect for human rights, registered 16 victims of enforced disappearance from the time of his ascendancy as president in 2010 to April 2013, despite the enactment of a law that criminalises the act of involuntary or enforced disappearance.

Attached to every President who came into power is a counter-insurgency operational plan — hatched, funded, and undertaken with a combination of brute force and covert means — to suppress the protest of a discontented people and combat the people’s movements for freedom and national democracy. At present, Aquino’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan has claimed 142 victims of extrajudicial killings, 76 cases of torture, more than 500 victims of illegal arrest. Such program is largely being driven by the US government’s complicity with the Philippine government to maintain its geo-political, economic and military dominance in the Philippines and in the Asia Pacific region. Thus, the same policy, tactics and techniques are applied to other developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America where U.S. interests are at stake.

It is imperative that we, families of the disappeared, stand alongside the oppressed peoples of the world, unite and fight this rapacious policy and practice of our governments and U.S. imperialism. Also on this day, families of victims of enforced disappearances in Guatemala, Amancio Samuel Villatoro foundationalism,  MUSEUM OF THE MARTYRS, UNAMG, TRUTH AND JUSTICE FOR MILITARY JOURNAL. HIJOS GUATEMALA and in the Philippines, Families of Desaparecidos for Justice forms its solidarity and jointly commemorates remembers all desaparecidos in our countries and all over the world. Let our voices of protests and rage resound in every continent. Let us register our resolve to pursue justice for our missing loved ones and to fight for and build a society where the rights, welfare and the democratic aspirations of the people are respected and realized.