Monday, September 14, 2015

55. Desaparecidos

In paragraph 54's discussion of the milieu of mass media of the mid-70s, which was about three years from the declaration of martial law, the role of media as an entertainer is underscored. Media fed us the feel good stories of World War II and gave us Dolphy. The Bulletin was like a memo from Malacanang. The only anguish allowed airtime is one for lost love and its variations; there was nothing about the martial law situation. We were all trained to be authority loving children, and Marcos was our hero. But Toym Imao, an artist born in 1968, would have his awakening when Marcos pulled out Voltes V from television, just four episodes before the series would end. That was 1978, and while I was a crazed Voltes V fanatic myself, my awakening would be much later. But Toym has taken it to heart, and his awakening of the manipulation of the media by the martial law regime  would lead him and his art to the realm of protest art. I caught Toym's art installation at the University of the Philippines this morning, and I was stunned by the expressions on the faces of images, so I decided to take a picture of them. The images represent the Desaparecidos, the missing persons whose loss is believed to have been sanctioned by the Philippine State. There were many of these reported disappearances during the martial law era, but we would not hear of them until much later when Ferdinand Marcos was deposed. Yet, the sad fact is these disappearances have not stopped. Labor leaders like Bert Olalia, media handlers like Bubby Dacer, whistle-blowers like Bentain, and activists like Jonas Burgos would vanish along with countless names of students and community leaders in the past twenty-nine years. In pursuit of its reform agenda this present administration has passed the "Anti-Desaparecidos Law." Yet, at least twenty persons have disappeared and believed to have been abducted by elements of the State, since the law was passed in 2012.  Toym Imao is now a celebrated international artist, and it is encouraging to know how far he has gone from the martial law milieu of state-controlled media that nurtured our generation's young minds.


Lee i. said...

Thank you for your "paragraph" about the desaparecidos. They are never forgotten.

Marvin Aceron said...

They are clear indications that no matter what big business say, this country is not alright.