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.
Two songs popularized during martial law speak of the time’s sentiments
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.
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.