Or well, any day in general, but this Thursday is special.
President Duterte (and I still can’t believe we can use those words in that order) declared September 21, the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, a “day of protest.” The implications of this announcement are a lot to cover and speculate on (this thread does a good job of doing so), but it’s nonetheless a special day that warrants maximum dissent. Lest you’re feeling helpless or paralyzed, here are five ways to exercise our responsibility as citizens to stand up to evil and raise a middle finger to the Marcos legacy.
Brush up on the literature
It’s a real head-scratcher why our collective national memory of Martial Law is so crappy when we have so many books on the subject. This piece is a gateway for great Martial Law novels. For nonfiction, we recommend starting with The Conjugal Dictatorship, a new edition of which was published earlier this year. You can also try the fifth book of this list, for a general how-to on navigating a society overrun by tyranny. For more contemporary protest literature, you might wanna look at The Kill List Chronicles, which constantly updates every time an angry writer puts pen to paper. You can also brush up on your Martial Law knowledge online by visiting this online martial law museum and this anti-revisionist Facebook page.
Call your representatives
Part of being a responsible citizen means knowing your rights as a constituent, how to demand them, and who to demand them from. The “who” in this case, being your representatives and your senators, whom you can contact respectively through here and here. Because government work is suspended on the 21st, you might not be able to reach them through the phone. We recommend flooding their emails.
As annoying as it might sometimes be, one thing we’re really good at is making noise. There is value in publicly speaking out on your various social media platforms, but we can also make meaningful change in one-on-one exchanges. Yes, some minds can’t be changed (read: trolls) but there are some minds that can. You might not be able to win an argument against some faceless rando on the internet, but you might have better luck with your boorish tito, or your cranky lola, or that tragically misguided friend you still keep around in your Telegram group despite everything.
Even though this Thursday is a historic occasion, the rest of the world continues to turn. New events and reports will enter the news cycle, and while we can’t be expected to keep up with everything, we can still try. And as alarmist and paranoid as it might sound to say that the government acts out certain controversies to distract us from other more important issues, it doesn’t change the fact that we have to keep our eyes peeled for anything and everything.
Join the rally
On September 21, the group Movement Against Tyranny, with the cooperation of a few other groups, will be holding a rally at Luneta Park from 4 p.m. onwards. As much as we at Young STAR value making your voice heard and toppling the irresponsibly powerful, we also care about your safety. So we’ll make it clear: if you don’t go, that doesn’t make you a bad person. There are perfectly valid reasons for you to avoid being in the thick of all those bodies. But if you do end up going, it helps to keep the following in mind: be observant, document what’s going on around you, bring food for yourself and others (including milk, just in case). For more tips on what to prepare at Luneta, Movements Against Tyranny provides this handy guide. Stay safe. Now more than ever, we have to fight.