Make art serve the defense of the people’s history!

This article is available in Pilipino

A lesson that artists gleaned from Marcos’ martial law is that art is never just for art’s sake. Art must be for and about the masses. It must choose sides. It must reflect the life and struggle of the people who themselves write and create it. Art cannot just be erased nor lost. It takes root in the minds of people – sung to be remembered, told to be passed on, danced to not be forgotten. Art is a symbol of a history that will never be forgotten. And all who serve it are participants and gatekeepers who must stay true to their service of the people.

Came with the return of the Marcoses in power are lies veiled with absurdities passing themselves off as art. There’s Imee Marcos’ Maid in Malacanang film. There’s the onslaught of videos bastardizing the people’s true narrative. There’s their incessant insistence of their version of truth.

But their defeat is imminent. The Marcoses may wish all they want for history to die down along with the older generation of progressives and revolutionaries or to fool the youth who has not lived during the horrors of Martial Law with their ‘new version’, but artists of this current generation will never tire of their duty to defend the truth. The Marcoses are tantamount to tyranny, corruption and dictatorship. They cannot erase the epic of struggle written, drawn and molded by the people who have fought before and will fight still.

History can be preserved by assiduously studying documents such as the Philippine Society and Revolution, Our Urgent Tasks and other published works written during the height of Marcos’ repressive martial law. More than this, it is critical for them to practice the lessons richly contained within the people’s art.

With the Marcoses’ reinstallation to office, they will surely repeat in a more vicious extent their father’s legacy of corruption, killings and abuse. And this shall, once again, give birth to an even greater number of progressives and revolutionaries who will uprise just as the others who came before them did.

As the famous writer Eduardo Galeano said, history is not silent. “No matter how much they try to burn it, no matter how much they try to crush it, no matter how much they try to belie it. It will never be silenced.”

Nationalistic, progressive and revolutionary creations, songs, plays and poems will surely echo throughout the land once more. Artists and writers of the people shall continue to stand firm and proud, ready to be keepers of the people’s true history!

Make art serve the defense of the people’s history!