Martyr Piece # 1

“You don't know what it’s like to watch one of your brothers die.”

I may not be on the frontlines, side-by-side the Red fighters, but I can feel their loss ten thousand miles away.

Guiller… JP… I felt your deaths this past September. I did not know you, but I know we took the same oath—to arduously serve the people, even if it meant offering our lives. I know you were my age and chose to forgo bourgeois education to take up arms in the countryside. When your stories traveled to your overseas kababayan, we mourned you—we still mourn you.

Kamil and Jo—Our hearts were still bruised once we learned of your sacrifices. Women youth, carrying on the revolutionary tradition of our foremother, Lorena Barros. Small but militant women. You were not allowed to die peacefully. Pictures of your corpses were spread and mocked. We could not share stories or pictures, or else the government will target those mourning you. But collectively, behind closed doors, we cried and honored your memories.

Geary—I lay in my bed that was once yours, thinking about your spirit, still laying heavy on our hearts. I think about your sacrifices, of not just your physical life, but of your potential life, the one you were starting to build. Your scribbled words of revolutionary wisdom treasured among kasamas. Thank you for continuously guiding us. “Job well done.”

Guiller, JP, Kamil, Jo, and Geary—We sang “Anak ng Bayan” for you. We wrote and performed poems and songs for you. You were not terrorists. You are our martyrs.

I did not fight by your side, but we are all part of the same fight for liberation for our people. I did not watch when the cowardly state took your lives, but your memories will never rest easy on my heart, for your sacrifices will always be heavier than a mountain.

“Even when we mourn you,

Even when we cry,

We know the struggle’s always worth it.

We will honor you with our lives.”

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