By Raïssa Robles
Here are drawings made by Martial Law detainees which I managed to hold on to all these years. I knew then that if these had been found in my possession, I would have been jailed, too.
But I managed to hide them because I felt, somehow, they should one day see the light. That day is now.
All are unsigned for a good reason.
What struck me upon looking at these first two sketches once again is the stillness of the figures in them. They are not flailing about or screaming.
They are in between torture.
In fact, the poignant drawing below of birds as seen from prison bars is one that the detainee chose to remember:
The next one, however, is horrific beyond words:
The next two drawings look like the usual inspirational pap one would get from the greeting card section of bookstores.
But they take on a significance if one remembers that these were sketched out by detainees who were probably tortured out of their minds by intelligent military officers who went home to their families after a day of inflicting the most horrible pain on their countrymen.
If you notice, even if the messages are full of defiance, the atmosphere in the drawings is dark and full of foreboding.
Please, next time your children ask you – What was Martial Law REALLY like?
You can say – outside it was all sweetness and light. We had a modern cultural center, a First Lady who was the toast of the world, modern hospitals to mend the heart, kidney and lungs, and even a modern marvel called the Bridge of Love.
But deep down inside it was like this. And you show them these drawings. And give them a hug. And hope they never go through Martial Law again.
Unless theyre’ bad children and you want to teach them a lesson that will sear their lives forever.