Against Forgetting

On September 23, 1972, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr., then President of the Philippines, set up a one-man authoritarian regime. As Noel Pangilinan writes in an essay written for this collection, Marcos “abolished Congress, dissolved the vice presidency, canceled the 1973 presidential election, shut down mass media, and jailed critics of his administration, including senators, congressmen, print and broadcast journalists, labor leaders, church leaders, and student activists, among others.” 

More than just observing a milestone or golden anniversary, our editors firmly grasped the urgency of remembering those fourteen years of the military-backed dictatorship. Carrying with them that sense of urgency, they reached out to Filipino and Filipino American writers and creatives to contribute works. The response was both swift and heartwarming. Writers and artists are truly the repository of society’s memories. And they proved ready and willing to go to battle for the truth and fight for the people’s collective memory.

Against Forgetting includes essays, poems, narratives, short stories, and excerpts that tell stories about the nightmare that was martial law.

A notebook on the fiftieth anniversary of martial law being declared in the Philippines

The “New Society” had its own tricks. Billions disappeared from the nation’s coffers, clowns filled legislative positions.

Creating a life in the shadow of the martial law years

Neil Doloricon’s art centered farmers, workers, underground revolutionaries, and those on the margins

It was Imelda as much as Ferdinand who brought about the country’s ruination

Kay hirap maging mahirap, kung hindi ka pa manginig sa galit ay hindi ka pa iintindihin.
| It’s so hard to be poor. If you don’t tremble with rage, they won’t try to understand you.

We walked uphill where tall cogon grasses were already starting to don their silver shade.

The Marcoses have always been the masters of myth-making

How does it feel to watch / the seeds of your destruction / walk away from you?

Rebolusyonaryong panulaan noong panahon ng batas militar |
Revolutionary poetry during the martial law years

I became a full-time community organizer in 1971. The Marcos government declared martial law in September 1972. A month later, the Marcos military came and arrested me.

I wondered if Pia was right, then, if I was seeking something too dangerous to be handled, a bomb that would kill me someday.

A brief history lesson on the fourteen-year military-backed dictatorship in the Philippines

The minute I arrived at the University of the Philippines as a freshman, I joined the marches.

Marcos knew that power rested not just on fear and terror, but also censorship and propaganda.

On the urgency of remembering the fourteen years of Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr.’s military-backed dictatorship in the Philippines

We would like to collect information during your visit to help us better understand site use. This data is anonymized, and will not be used for marketing purposes. Read More on our Privacy Policy page. You can withdraw permission at any time or update your privacy settings here. Please choose below to continue.