One of the first thing I do when I’m online is read the blogs that I follow. I recently followed Manuel Quezon III’s, the Philippine Diary Project. It’s so good that it’s taking much of my reading time lately.
The initiative is a collection of diaries from known 20th century historical figures. It’s still on its beta stage so I could imagine the number of diaries increasing as time pass. The blog’s content is an invaluable resource for Filipinos aspiring to understand the past.
I read all of Ferdinand Marcos’ journal this morning. I wonder if they have more to add. Fascinating first hand accounts around the time things were starting to fall apart for “macoy”. The site included scanned image of his journal. For a strongman his handwriting appears very feminine.
This one, written January 28, 1970 Wednesday 11:50 PM:
The pattern of subversion is slowly emerging. The danger is now apparent to me but not to most people. The conspiracy to grab power and assassinate me and about a hundred officers. The terrorism in Central Luzon with the HMB’s and the Ma-Mao holding some towns in their power. The repeated cases of liquidation of government sympathizers, informers and agents; the pink intellectuals, writers, professors and students and fellow travelers. Then the time bomb in Jusmag. The riot in Congress last Monday. Now the UP faculty marches to Malacañang tomorrow and denounces police brutality and holds the administration responsible for the “policy of repression” and the “violation of rights”. Then another mass demonstration that may lead to another riot next Friday notwithstanding promises of Gargaritano, the Security officer of the student demonstrators [in the conference this afternoon in the palace] that he will coordinate with MPD chief Tamayo to maintain peace. And I am certain this is just the beginning. The newspapermen I have in my list are busy placing the government in disrepute and holding it in contempt before the people. The sabotage and the killings will continue. The slow chipping at the people’s confidence in government authority. If we do not prepare measures of counter-action, they will not only succeed in assassinating me but in taking over the government. So we must perfect our emergency plan.
And of course, our history is never complete without the galling American interference in our politics. Here Marcos’ speaks about the US Ambassador, written January 27, 1970:
I also met at 10:45 with Ambassador Byroade whom I quietly confronted with the story the Liberals are spreading openly that the American Embassy is supporting an attempt at a coup d’etat. He claims they only listened to the need for a coup. I told him of Patterson’s suggestion to blow up the bridges to isolate Malacañang. He seemed stunned and said he was greatly concerned and would do something about it. He said as long as he & Nixon were in position we would not be fighting Americans.
Going back to Quezon’s initiative, it’s interesting that he placed his content using WordPress. Perhaps he wants to maintain that bloggish appeal. His blog project links with other sites with similar content. I didn;t know that there are that many sites dedicated to diaries. Even found an interesting link containing Rizal’s journal.
What’s fascinating about diaries is that they’re unmediated accounts. Yes, it’s subject to bias, as most personal views go but the fact that they’re written by a direct observer gives it bearing and latitude.