EDITORIAL| That moment in time

ENGLISH author Edward Rutherfurd (Francis Edward Wintle) who wrote the historical novel Sarum: The Novel of England, said that “History is the story told… by the victors – so runs the usual saying. But I don’t think it’s true.

“It seems to me that history is the story told by the survivors. In other words, the record that we can find. It may be a list of battles carved in stone. It may be the diary of a little girl who did not, personally survive. It may be an artefact dug up by an archeologist, or the thickness of a ring in a tree, or even a tune. The victors may have got lucky; but the survivors, I think, have the last word.”

This is what we felt when we were finally able to interview a descendant of Datu Mama Bago, the Muslim leader who fought the Spaniards under  Don Jose Oyanguren. With the help of the Museo Dabawenyo we were able to reach the humble home of Maulana Bago, said to be the eldest son of the 7th generation. Tall and muscular at age 65, he looks eerily like a warrior of the past century.

Historians Ernie Corcino, Gloria Dabbay, Macario Tiu and writers like Aida Rivera Ford and many others, have painstakingly researched and cross checked the events of the mid 19th century that gave birth to the Davao region. These books bring us back to the period of colonization where people have to struggle, make alliances and do anything to survive.

As Rutherford said, history is also told by the survivors. We may yet know if Bago’s descendants have their own oral history about the events of the past 180 years. They may yet have the last word.

Posted in Opinion