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The Writings on the wall

March 25th, 2008

According to Wikipedia, “The writing on the wall” (or sometimes ‘handwriting on the wall’) is an expression that suggests a portent of doom or misfortune.
During our Corregidor trip, we went to the ruins of what once was the Fort Mills Hospital Building. It was here, according to Jibin Arula, that their fateful unit was billeted two months before the Jabidah massacre.
We wandered aimlessly inside the belly of what seemed like the skeletal remains of a giant animal. Inside are dark, cold and damp alcoves and chambers with walls standing as silent witnesses of history. But these walls know how to speak and they tell a story.
In several rooms, we found markings on the wall, graffiti made by men who once had lived here, on earth. I thought that they were just recently scribbled, as the paint appeared to be still prominent, although the dates written on these graffiti were grafitti21.jpgmarked four decades ago. A few days later, after our Corregidor trip, I was surprised to find out that old photos of these graffiti were actually used as evidence presented during the Senate hearings on the Jabidah Massacre, forty years ago. As to why those graffiti appeared fresh, as if they were just written two months ago, remains a mystery to me.

It was the usual “Kilroy was here” type of graffiti, but what makes it unusual or can give you goose bumps was that they were names of some of those who perished during the Jabidah Massacre and perhaps these graffiti were even written by them. Most of the dates recorded on the walls was January 1968. By the time they were writing these graffiti, they still did not have any idea of what awaited them, two months hence.

Some of them might have even felt proud that their names found their way to the walls of a historical place like Corregidor. Perhaps they were contemplating that it would be a source of pride for them, when someday family members or friends might be able to visit this place and see their names on these walls. Indeed, under a different circumstance, their names are now made known and recorded.

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