TURNING THE TIDE: PROTEST POEMS ON MARTIAL LAW AS COUNTER-MEMORY

Mary Ann Marcelino Majul

Abstract

Memories of Martial Law and the burial of strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on November 2016 prompted artists and writers to converge at a common platform—that of safeguarding national consciousness from the impending rewriting of history. Using Foucault’s concept of counter-memory, this paper attempted to illustrate how literature, specifically protest poetry, can be used to interrogate perceptions and knowledge of events and personalities on Martial Law.  Six poems namely “Open Letters to Filipino Artists,” “A Furnace,” “Still Life for Mendiola,” “A Metaphysical Dialogue Between the Bronze Man and the Great Stone Face,” “Third World Opera,” and “Dead Man’s Tale” were used to challenge the existing texts written on Martial Law. The results revealed that literature can either deceive or enlighten readers. It also remains an important site where ideology is articulated and truth is interrogated.

Keywords: Martial Law, counter-memory, protest poems, alternative history, subjugated knowledge 

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