History dept kicks off ‘Historiography of Martial Law’ lectures

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THE FIRST lecture on Memory and Martial Law in the Philippines public lecture series from History 172: Memories and Martial Law was held on February 7, 2016 at Escaler Hall.

History Instructor Brian Giron served as the speaker of “Historiography of Martial Law”, as the first of ten public lectures that aim to discuss different aspects of the said period.

According to Giron, there are complications when people “purposely twist history” referring to online trolls and Marcos apologists who defend the Martial Law period with false facts.

“All history is limited and flawed– limited in the way people cannot recreate the entirety of Martial Law, flawed in how there is a human bias with how history is studied,” said Giron.

Martial Law Historiography

Giron revisited historical aspects of the Marcos administration and how Martial Law is remembered throughout the years.

“Marcos was probably more imaginative than most of our presidents. He was the first to go beyond the political sphere and go to myth-making,” he said.

He also presented several examples of movies, songs, and literary texts from the Martial Law period that showed the Marcos administration’s efforts in writing their own history.

“[Marcos] did not only want to be in power but also to be remembered,” he said.
According to Giron, society “inherently does not like” history and usually perceives it as an arbitrary concept.

“We base our memory on very informal things like conversations,” he said. Giron noted that people use movies such as Heneral Luna as a basis for their history.

Reactions to historical revisionism

As a response to the ongoing anti-Marcos burial protests, Giron challenged the audience to go beyond pressing for the reversal of the decision and focus on studying about the history of the period itself.

“Maghukay naman tayo ng ibang bagay. Magbasa tayo.” (Let’s dig up something else. We should be reading)” he said.

Asked about how one could react towards trolls and Marcos apologists, Giron stressed the importance of objectivity and the use of valid and credible sources in dealing with them.

“We have to be able to speak the same language that is evidence-based,” he said.

Giron also called for the review of how the Martial Law is taught in our educational system, citing the big gap between academic writing about the period and how it trickles down to what is being taught in the classroom.

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