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450+ Artists and Writers Denounce Asia Society Event With Son of Filipino Dictator

This Wednesday, September 21st, Activists took me to the streets of manila to mark 50th anniversary Declaration of martial law in the Philippines when Ferdinand E. Marcos assumed dictatorship. Demonstrators chanted “never forget” and held up placards condemning the brutal killings, human rights abuses, and corruption that defined his 14-year rule.

Just two days later, today, Sept. 23, his son and namesake Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the current President of the Philippines, deliver the address At the New York headquarters of the Asia Society. But not without opposition from his 450 artists and writers, including prominent Asian-American and Filipino scholars.

“I call out to the Asia Society for harboring fascism and historical lies in the name of Ferdinand Marcos Jr.,” read a letter sent this morning to Kevin Rudd, the president and CEO of the Asia Society. is. This letter was co-written with novelist Gina Apostol. Nerissa S. Balce, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at Stony Brook University. Joy Barrios, poet and lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. Public Programs Curator Nancy Bulalacao. Fritzi de Mata, an independent scholar.

The Asia Society has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.

Marcos Jr. secured the presidency in May’s landslide election did a lot to underestimateAn estimated 35,000 people were detained, tortured and sexually abused under Marcos’ dictatorship, according to open letters. 70,000 activists and journalists were imprisoned. And he had 3,200 extrajudicial murders.Marcos Sr. was exiled 1986 Military-backed rebellion He was forced into exile and denied to death accusations of embezzling billions of dollars of state property.

But in the years leading up to the presidential election, Marcos Jr. and his family used the power of political propaganda and social media to cover up past human rights violations. openly protect 1972 martial law.

Protest outside the Asia Society today (photo courtesy of Gina Apostol)

“We refuse to normalize the history of state violence that the Marcos and Duterte names represent,” the letter reads, citing the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, who preceded Marcos Jr. mentioning discolored by deadly campaigns of persecution.

“Unless this event with Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is cancelled, we are boycotting events at the Asia Society, refuse to speak at their event, and endorse this boycott with fellow writers, artists, We will inform the academics so that their actions are made clear to the Asian Society that they are harmful to our community of Asian American Pacific Islanders,” the authors continued. A crowd gathered for a protest outside the Asian Society in Manhattan.

In an interview with Hyperallergic, Bulalacao, who headed the Asia Society’s Asian American program from 2003 to 2005 and later co-founded the Filipino American Museum, said the Asia Society’s decision to host Marcos Jr. was a disappointment. But he said it wasn’t all that surprising.

“The Asian Society was founded by John D. Rockefeller. It was never intended as an organization for the community or for Asian-American Pacific Islanders,” Bulalacao said. , recognizes the “hard-earned” relationship between this organization and New York’s AAPI population. This relationship is strengthened by programs and partnerships aimed at engaging Asian Americans who have long felt excluded by the space. Attended by a predominantly white audience.

“I cannot say exactly what the greater mission or purpose of the Asia Society is,” Bulalacao said. “But ultimately I think they’re in the business of brokering power. I think having a current president will benefit them and their relationship.”

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