Historical revisionism and the spectrum of truths

By : RAI Bollozos Sanchez Mindanao Today/07:00:51am 09/23/2021


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RAI Bollozos Sanchez Historyahe!


“History is a pack of lies we play on the dead” – Voltaire

SOCIAL media went on bamboozles after Toni Gonzaga’s Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos' interview last week.

Many regarded Ms. Gonzaga as a Marcos’ apologist.

Many claimed Senator Marcos is trying to clean his father's name – the most disliked person in Philippine history.

However, would it be right to claim that the history of Martial Law is absolute? Many claimed it was an attempt to revise history.


What is historical revisionism? A fellow academic, Dr. Ben Halili, says, "revisionism or an attempt to retell the past based on (the) uncovered document. Without corroborating data, it is simply speculation, the opposite of a historical fact."

Unfortunately, in the Philippines, history is a compendium of trivial facts with less regard in understanding its importance as an academic discipline in most situations. Thus, many are prone to "historical revisionism."


In the study of history, it is both an art and philosophy.

There are methods before one should claim a portion of the past is historically viable.

Historical facts are based on the data gathered through deep historical research.

Based on these sources, history may be retold or perhaps recontextualized.

Many are confused "what are these methods?"

However, in reality, there is.

There are methods to be implied and sources to be considered to make a singular narrative historically feasible.

Historical method is an intricate art of deducing and inducing corroborative sources.

Which, in turn, is a continuous process of education of historical studies.

The lack of these methods makes the historian susceptible to "historical revisionism."


So, here lies a question, did Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos committed historical revisionism.


In my own opinion, he, as a son of the late President Marcos, did not commit anything wrong.

His opinions are valid, as his experiences validate those opinions.

It was his own version of the truth, and no one would take that away from him.


In historical studies, there is a spectrum of truths.

From those of the oppressors down to the victims, they have their own version of the truth.

Or should I say, what may be true to others will be lies to many – vice versa? That itself makes history very human.

Our society should understand that history and the past are different from one another. The past is what happened, and hence, it cannot be changed.


On the other hand, history is evolving all the time.

History is an intellectual discipline, and every generation rewrites its history.

As humanity and society develop, the pursuit of understanding history becomes endless.


Martial Law is a harrowing experience of the past.

The timeline it presents is linear and, therefore, absolute. There are the oppressors, and there are the faultless victims.

There are primary actors; there are the peripheral fatalities. Moreover, understanding the nuances it exposes progresses as time moves forward.

The history of Martial Law, even so, is an endless pursuit of an ever-changing quest to protect not the truth but what is right and just. Thus, the challenge of every historian to sustain.

Because spectrums are endless loops of what is honest, and sometimes, falses become honest opinions.

We, as historians, are critical of presenting what is deemed to be suitable for humanity.


That is why history as a subject to teach or to study should never be taken for granted.


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