It’s funny how there is a face for everything. When selling a product, generally, one gets a figure or an icon to endorse it. Even when we look back at key historical moments, there is always a person or a group of people who represent the entire movement. For an outsider, it’s so easy to immediately credit the success or the failure of the event to these people. But in reality, doing so will be a grave overstatement of their contribution and a rude downplaying of the sacrifices done by others equally involved.
Ninoy Aquino was the face of the anti-martial law campaign. He sought to eradicate the Marcos regime through many things. He publicly defied what the government stood for and rallied many others to do the same in pursuit of democracy. In the end, the Philippines came out as the first nation to have a ‘peaceful’ overthrowing of government. All around the nation – in monuments, in our history books, in the classes we take – Ninoy’s contribution is acknowledged. However, although Ninoy became the inspiration of many to join the movement, can we really give him all the credit? Truth is, he was not the only one who painfully labored or died in the name of the democratic society we enjoy today. It is well-known how during this time of political turmoil, many others also lost their property, their jobs, their children, and even their own lives. Unfortunately, these people remain nameless in the memories of the following generations who enjoy the fruits of their labor.
This is the heart of the Nameless project – to give credit where credit is due. In the past three months that I have participated in organizing their exhibit and editing their website, I’ve realized how many people must have had to be involved to pull of such a stunt in history, and how much each one must have had to sacrifice. Currently, there are a number of names in their roster, but we know for a fact there are many, many more unsung heroes. And it is but our obligation, as the beneficiaries of their struggle, to give proper recognition for their efforts and to share their legacy to the coming generations.