EDITOR’S NOTE (3/22/10 10:00AM CST): This video is generating discussion that I wasn’t expecting but am excited about, nonetheless. Some of my readers question the lack of involvement of Filipinos in this project. Others have indicated that they feel as if this video presents images of Imedla Marcos while leaving out very important details about the impact of the Marcos’ rule over the Philippines and the subsequent movements and organizing the dictatorship catalyzed. I am no expert on history, much less that of the Philippines. However, my initial research clearly shows that the Marcos regime was not “fun times” for the Philippines.
Marcos was first elected President in 1965, then again in 1969. Constitutionally barred from running a third term, Marcos issued a presidential proclamation declaring martial law – giving Marcos the authority to control the military, suppress free speech, and just be a general dick. Don’t like my language? Marcos dissolved the Philippine Congress – dick move. He had his political enemies jailed indefinitely – dick move. He even abolished the Constitution and rewrote it for the greater glory of himself. This guy was definitely a dick. Monies embezzled from the oppressed Philippine people by his regime no doubt paid for the material extravagance his wife, Imedla was able to enjoy – now the fetishized subject of this video.
Meanwhile, the United States, fully embroiled in a Cold War with Russia, was content to allow the Marcos regime to continue so long as the dictator kept communism away from the island nation and secured continued access to American military purposes.
There were many freedom movements in the history of the Philippines, but the People Power Revolution is one that was brought to my attention. The People Power Revolution was a non-violent serious of street demonstrations and protests in 1986 that involved over 2 million people!
My point? This illegal and violent regime lasted twenty years is not something to be celebrated. I’m not saying that’s what Byrne and Fatboy Slim are doing, as I’m not them. I just want to be clear to you about my philosophy.
I don’t wish to proliferate or be part of any type oppression. I know that is impossible given my American citizenship and the unearned privileges and powers it affords me. However, I will use those privileges to get the word about oppression as it is relevant to what’s being discussed on my site. Music is entertainment, yes, but it’s also often political. To ignore one for the sake of the other is to do you, my reader, a disservice. So if you’ve seen this video I’d encourage you to educate yourself on the history of the Philippines. Here are some resources to get you started.
People Power Revolution (Wikipedia)
Ferdinand Marcos (Wikipedia)
Gabriela Network – A Philippine-US Women’s Solidarity Mass Organization
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Here’s a video to stimulate your creative side. David Byrne (of Talking Heads) and Fatboy Slim have teamed up and created an Imelda Marcos concept album, Here Lies Love, due April 6 on NONESUCH. Marcos is the widow of former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, but is most famously known for her extravagant spending, world travels and a wardrobe which included over three-thousand pairs of shoes. If the Cover Art for Here Lies Love, shown above, is any indication, Marcos was also excellent at matching her parasols to her bedazzled shoulder pads.
I was initially attracted to this clip because of its Santigold vocal, but it was the video’s historical imagery that held me. I love the video for it’s exclusive use of Imelda throughout. Seeing her as she rubs elbows with world leaders of yesterday provided the perfect pairing with its chorus, “Please don’t/ don’t let them look down on us/ please don’t/ like they used to do to me…” The clip is also a great history lesson as you see Marcos with a number of U.S. Presidents from Reagan to Nixon.
Check out the video after the jump.