Remembering HIS-story

Mon Ramirez (Photo by Efren Ricalde)


This is not a eulogy
prone to undue praises or half baked accolades:
no soothing paean, no flashy tribute,
not an unwarranted panegyric
nor an overrated laudation,
but only facts and vivid images–
a flash of episodes in varying seasons
of your full twenty-eight thousand
two hundred, and eighty-five days
from your first breath to your last sigh.
We each hold a piece of your well-lived life.

Born in the cradle
of a perfect volcano, you are
a proud son of Albay.
A silent force
of nature, waiting for
its time, to sear
the people’s enemy,
or scorch a Dictator.
You topped the 1967
electrical-engineering boards;
then helped engineer
the toppling of Marcos.
Captured as a political detainee
in January of ’73,
joined the underground movement
in January of ’74
gifting the best nineteen years
until you were caught again
in October of ’92.
Years thereafter,
you have remained steadfast,
unwavering in your commitment
to build better,
fighting against ensuing tyrants,
and in making science and technology
work for the people,
wherever, whenever.

This is not a eulogy,
no soothing paean, no flashy tribute,
but merely the retreival of documented history:
of an uncompromising vanguard
against water privatization
and power-rate hikes;
of a Jedi master,
unbending to corporations,
but always maleable
in service to the masses;
and, for most of us,
our ever-present archivist,
with his crowning white hair,
cresting in the sea
of a protesting crowd.

His smiling face,
with a dot of dimple
donning his folds and creases
with years of service.
The thin line of his chinky eyes
hidden behind rayban glasses,
ready to spot history unfolding.
And his iconic digital camera,
held by his palm with fingers poised
to shoot at any moment
and arrest history,
in jpeg and mp4 files
the evidences
of murderous state fascism
as well as unyielding collective resistance.

He chronicled in pictures,
videos, and audio bytes–
Our history.

This is still no eulogy,
unwarranted panegyric,
or overrated laudation.

This is documented history:
Of being a devoted lover-comrade to his wife, Bing
A dedicated father to Kris and Karl, and Ping and Marion,
and a doting lolo to Elian and Hugo,
and to the rest of us–his adopted grandchildren.
A peasant and indigenous peoples advocate
A champion of people’s rights
A people’s warrior in all its aspects
A topnotch engineer that chose to
harness his talent and skill for the people,
trying his very best to advance
the birth of a new world
out of the womb of the old*.

Our Bong Arki, our Arkibong Bayan,
our Jedi master, our Mon Ram,
our Lolo Mon.

Yes, this is not a eulogy.
Because this is also not a goodbye.
Your memory lives long
in the lives of the many you have inspired.
We speak no undue praises,
no half-baked accolades,
no soothing paean, no flashy tribute,
unwarranted panegyric,
or overrated laudation,
but only remember
archived facts and vivid images

of how it is to serve the people,
with hair turned white
in seventy-seven years of fruition
at this flashpoint moment
of the people’s struggle.

* paraphrased and excerpted line from a poem of MonRam for wife Bing, written in 1978.

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