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A dark era in Filipino history comes to light in a social experiment.

The Philippine elections opened up a Pandora’s box of controversy.

A dark era in Filipino history comes to light in a social experiment.

The Philippine elections is just about wrapped up. And it was some kind of circus.

From corrupt candidates to one scandal after another to a potty-mouthed incoming president, it was only a matter of time before the world caught on to what was happening in the Philippines. Even comedian John Oliver decided to give his two cents on the situation.


Let's just say John did his "thang." Image from "Last Week Tonight"/YouTube.

However, one of the most powerful messages to come out of the elections came from a social experiment that cut to the core of many Filipinos.

It's a video made by the group Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA for short). Basically, a guy named Bong Bong Marcos is very close to becoming vice president. If elected, he’d be one step away from Malacañang, the White House of the Philippines.

Seems about right. Image from CARMMA/Facebook, used with permission.

You see, Bong Bong is the son of Ferdinand Marcos, a former president and dictator famous for implementing martial law from 1972 to 1981. Essentially, martial law is when the military is given complete control of the government, rendering the executive, legislative, and judicial branches powerless. It’s usually imposed temporarily in times of calamity, but this man led the charge for nine whole years.

And while some may say it brought its fair share of good to the country, a group of millennials are about to learn the terrible price others had to pay.

The social experiment begins with an interviewer asking young voters about what happened during martial law.

That’s when the young voters start to rationalize its implementation in various ways, remembering all the lessons they learned in school growing up.

They talked about there being order...

All GIFs via CARMMA/Facebook.

...and how Marcos was really more like a loving parent.

They gushed at the glory of yesteryears.

Finally, the interviewer asked, "Are you in favor of martial law?"

That's when the tables were turned and the interviewers reveal who they really are — actual martial law victims.

Surprise.

After revealing themselves, the victims shared their stories of survival. And oh, are they powerful.

(Trigger warning: Proceed with caution. Their stories are very graphic in nature.)

This man talked about a soldier that was literally drunk with power.

This woman shared what they did to her brother-in-law for three days.

This man reflected on how he was almost tortured to death by electrocution.

Others were violated in ways we wouldn’t even wish on our own worst enemy.

Needless to say, everyone was shocked. But a troubling truth was revealed.

These young people simply did not know all of this had happened.

And that’s only because they were never taught the truth.

Mind you, these are college students. Yet here they are, hearing the true history of their country for the very first time.

This may feel familiar to those of us who have learned aspects of our own nation's troubled history — a history much more complex than the "cowboys and Indians" narrative of our schoolyards. But learning the reality of our past can help us build a better future.

It is unacceptable for schools to only teach a version of the truth.

It’s like the saying goes, "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." And while these circumstances are very extreme, we can not be afraid to trust our youth with the most powerful weapon of all — knowledge.

If you think the Filipino education system should tell students the whole martial law story, you can sign this Change.org petition to help our friends in the Philippines. It’ll only take a minute, but it has the potential to correctly rewrite a country’s history and improve how they shape young minds forever.

Watch the full video below:

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

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This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


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