Revisionism and never again

SLOGANEERING can erode the technical meaning of words, particularly if these are terms that have their own deep anchors in the academic disciplines. The reason why popular appropriation of otherwise academic words can get away with murdering the integrity of academic jargon is that those who assert, like what I am going to do in this piece today, the correct use of certain terms can all too easily be labeled as too academic, technical and confined in ivory towers.

One of the words that has been so much abused in anti-Marcos sloganeering is “revisionism,” “historical revisionism” to be precise. There is this dominant perception that any attempt to look at historical events using a different and fresher lens is essentially anathema not only to discursive purity, but to academic integrity. Historical revisionism takes on the character of an “f” word, a taboo, an academic crime that no scholar worth his or her mettle should ever venture into.

Yet, if one is truly familiar with the politics behind the writing of history as texts and narratives, one will be confronted with the realization that history is written from the perspectives of the winners, those whose voices were privileged — the colonizers, the wealthy educated elites who can read and write, the men and the cisgender identities. Dominant history is never written from the perspectives of the defeated and those who exist at the margins

When Zeus Salazar spoke of “Pantayong Pananaw,” it was in rebellion against Western historiography that saw events in our past from the lenses of our colonizers. Franz Fanon, a post-colonial writer and scholar, brought history into the very core of the decolonization project, where the colonized had to take back the writing of history from its colonial templates. Feminist historians followed suit, using the arguments of French post-structural feminism that sought to make visible the feminine, the female gaze, the women’s voices in the reinterpretation and rewriting of male-ordered historical narratives.

All these counter-narratives that seek to give a voice to the marginalized are forms of historical revisionism, the term that is now being demonized and painted as taboo in anti-Marcos sloganeering.

The rationalization of texts, discourses and representations as constructed narratives, and are bearers of dominant voices, and therefore deserving of deconstruction and rewriting, is in fact at the very core of the theory of social constructivism where knowledge is viewed as socially constructed. It is also reflected in the evolution of scientific knowledge, where the growth of academic disciplines is pregnant with antagonistic relationships between dominant constructs and their challengers. In fact, the main logic that drives the growth of scientific knowledge is its falsifiability, ergo its capacity for revision and change.

But then again, anyone who disagrees with this premise can easily counter that unlike Salazar or Fanon or the feminist historians who all sought to give a voice to the marginalized and disempowered, the Marcos historical revisionists seek to deodorize and rehabilitate a tyrannical dictator. Those who criticize historical revisionism cheer the toppling of the monuments of tyrants and racists, including those who have been deified and mislabeled as heroes, and the rewriting of colonial histories as forms of liberating us from the lies.

This is not to nitpick, but these are still essentially forms of historical revisionism, regardless. The point here is that not all types of historical revisionism is wrong, or should be canceled and silenced. And while indeed reframing a dictator like Marcos to become a hero is utterly offensive, it is nevertheless a valid endeavor to re-examine the Marcos era and not to conveniently label every moment of it as an encounter with tyranny. If we have to crucify Marcos, the least that academics could do is to ensure that he is being taken to task in a manner that does justice even to the unpopular interpretations and accounts, and the inconvenient narratives.

The stories of ordinary people who saw Marcos in a different light deserve to be given space, too, as these are part of the collection of historical narratives that made us a nation, in the same way we give space to martial law victims.

We cannot be stuck on the mantra of never again, another slogan that when used in conjunction with martial law flies in the face of objective reality. “Never again to martial law” runs counter to the fact that, in theory, martial law is a protective device written into the Constitution and is available to democratic and modern states in times of crisis. We cannot assume that martial law is only the one that Marcos imposed. We cannot say never again to something that our leaders in the future may have to resort to save us from harm from natural disasters, or another viral pandemic, or to ward off the existential threats of rebellion and invasion.

There has to be some clarity in the way we appropriate words and labels. What we should be saying never again to is the rise of dictators; it should not be martial law. We also cannot cavalierly demonize historical revisionism because it is by nature the way by which knowledge, and human civilization, move forward, evolve and grow. Without revisionism, there can only be stasis and stagnation.

We cannot allow political sloganeering to deny historicity to our understanding of concepts, and to diminish our ability to innovate and evolve. We have to tell those who benefit from fixing the meaning of terms, or of historical narratives, that they cannot fight political tyranny by straitjacketing our understanding of martial law and confining the revision of history only to the rehabilitation of tyrants.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

New Victoria Covid restrictions: update to Melbourne lockdown, curfew and regional Vic coronavirus rules explained

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images This explainer is currently in the process of being updated. In the meantime, you can visit our live blog for the ... Read more »

Voters do not believe Boris Johnson's promises to ‘level up' are sincere, poll finds

© Getty/iStockphoto Experts found younger people donated more equitably at home and and abroad – Getty Images/iStockphoto Voters agree that “levelling up” should be a top priority for Boris Johnson’s ... Read more »

NASA launches Lucy probe to explore Jupiter asteroids

© Provided by New Straits Times WASHINGTON: NASA launched a spacecraft called Lucy on a 12-year mission to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids for the first time on Saturday, gathering new ... Read more »

Institusi pendidikan 5 negeri beralih Fasa 3 dibuka 31 Okt, 1 Nov

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today KPM telah menetapkan jika sesebuah negeri beralih ke fasa seterusnya, pengoperasian institusi pendidikan di bawah kementerian mengikut ketetapan fasa baharu akan dilaksanakan selepas dua ... Read more »

Giants' only way to fix standings: Win games

You ask the question, listen to the answer then make a determination. Is this response genuine, or not? The question: When the Giants, as they so often do, have such ... Read more »

Russian filmmakers head for Earth from space station

MOSCOW (AP) — A Soyuz space capsule carrying a cosmonaut and two Russian filmmakers has separated from the International Space Station and is heading for the Earth. © Provided by ... Read more »

Recap: D.C. United can't break down Nashville in 0-0 draw

© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Despite long spells on the front foot, D.C. United couldn’t solve Nashville SC in a 0-0 draw on Buzzard Point tonight. A short-handed United attack ... Read more »

Know Your Opponent: Newcastle United

© Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images Tottenham Hotspur kick off against Newcastle United in a few hours, and while it’s always an important match in the English ... Read more »

Atlanta United 2-0 Toronto FC: Rate and React

© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports Final Whistle Thought Job done. Despite some missed chances and a weird sending off that could see Atlanta United miss Ezequiel Barco for coming game(s) ... Read more »

Sekolah secara fizikal di Lembah Klang, Melaka bermula bulan depan

© Provided by MalaysiaNow Semua sekolah di Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Sekolah dan Melaka akan memulakan kelas secara fizikal bulan depan, dengan murid Tahun 1,2 dan 3, termasuk Tingkatan 3 dan ... Read more »

Tak cukup dos vaksin: Enam kenderaan diarah patah balik

© Provided by Sinar Harian IPOH – Sebanyak enam kenderaan yang berhajat pulang ke kampung dan bercuti ke Kelantan melalui jalan Gerik-Jeli diarah berpatah balik selepas pemeriksaan mendapati individu terlibat ... Read more »

Buka sekolah: Kedah, Kelantan 31 Oktober

© Provided by Sinar Harian SHAH ALAM – Institusi pendidikan di Kedah dan Kelantan mula beroperasi 31 Oktober manakala Pulau Pinang, Perak dan Sabah, 1 November ini. Menurut kenyataan Kementerian ... Read more »

Australia secures 500,000 new doses of Covid treatments

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Australia has secured more than 500,000 doses of Covid treatments said to reduce the severity of illness caused by the virus but they ... Read more »

Professor cleared of inappropriate relationship with China offered position back at University of Tennessee

A professor cleared of any inappropriate relationship with China has been offered his position back at the University of Tennessee. © Getty Professor cleared of inappropriate relationship with China offered ... Read more »

Pure grit: South Korean pro Sungjae Im, now ranked 21st in the world, plays a patient game

© Provided by The Financial Express Sungjae Im hits out of the faraway during the Shriners Children’s Open golf tournament, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. ... Read more »

Bill Clinton expected to be released from hospital Sunday

Former President Bill Clinton is expected to be released from the hospital on Sunday, according to a spokesperson. Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images Former President Bill Clinton is expected to ... Read more »

Real Housewives of Melbourne star Jackie Gillies welcomes twins

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Real Housewives of Melbourne star Jackie Gillies and rocker husband Ben have welcomed twins.  The star took to Instagram on Sunday to share ... Read more »

New England Revolution 2, Chicago Fire 2: Man of the Match

© Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports The Fire once again played the Revs tough. There were times in the game where gave us glimpses of what could have been— had they ... Read more »

Perbincangan ‘rombakan MAHB' cetus kebimbangan pengambilalihan Lapangan Terbang Subang

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Lapangan Terbang Subang satu-satunya aset MAHB yang tetap memberikan keuntungan ketika pandemik Covid-19. PETALING JAYA: Perbincangan untuk menggantikan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Kumpulan Malaysia Airports ... Read more »

PSG.LGD, Team Secret, or Team Spirit: Who will win TI10?

Only three teams remain standing in the epic battle for the coveted Aegis of Champions in the final day of The International 10 (TI10). Chinese juggernauts PSG.LGD have seemed nigh-unbeatable ... Read more »

Fowler takes lead in Las Vegas, eyes end to drought

© Alex Goodlett American Rickie Fowler has the third-round lead in the CJ Cup at the Summit Club in Las Vegas, Nevada Rickie Fowler, aiming to put a season of ... Read more »

Manila Bay dolomite beach reopens

© KJ Rosales Manila Bay dolomite beach reopens MANILA, Philippines — The man-made dolomite beach at Manila Bay was reopened yesterday after Metro Manila was eased into Alert Level 3 ... Read more »

No. 12 Maryland men's soccer dominates Pacific, wins 3-0

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics The opening period between the No. 12 Maryland men’s soccer team and Pacific went by without either team finding the back of the net. Despite ... Read more »

New England Revolution 2, Chicago Fire 2: Quick & Dirty Recap

© Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports New England Revolution 1 Kaptoum 47’ Chicago Fire 1 Medran 49’ Here is your quick & dirty editorial-free recap of the Chicago Fire match against ... Read more »

Chandigarh, parts of Punjab, Haryana to record rainfall in next 48 hours

© Provided by The Indian Express Chandigarh and parts of Punjab and Haryana is expecting moderate to heavy rainfall for next 48 hours (October 17 and 18), the weather department ... Read more »

French think Boris Johnson is a ‘populist incapable of keeping his word', diplomatic sources claim

© REUTERS Britain’s regional cabinet meeting in Bristol Senior officials in the French government have concluded that Boris Johnson is a populist who plans to derail any progress in the ... Read more »

Venezuelan govt suspends talks with opposition over extradition of Alex Saab to US

Venezuelan govt suspends talks with opposition over extradition of Alex Saab to US Venezuela on Saturday said it would suspend negotiations with the opposition that were set to resume this ... Read more »

'Parivar bachao working committee': BJP's jibe at Congress after CWC meet

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: After Congress working Committee (CWC) meet concluded without any election of a new party chief, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday (October 16) ... Read more »

Kerala floods: Devotees asked to refrain from visiting Sabarimala temple for two days

© Provided by Zee News Kottayam: Travancore Devaswom Board requested Lord Ayyappa devotees to refrain from visiting Sabarimala Temple on October 17 and 18 in view of the continuing heavy ... Read more »

PM Modi called on to raise matter with Hasina, seek strong action against guilty

© Provided by The Times of India Iskcon on Saturday wrote to PM Narendra Modi that attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh have become a “regular affair” and the community will ... Read more »

Punjab Assembly polls: ‘Breakfast with Badal', ‘coffee with youth' — SAD reaches out to voters

© Provided by The Indian Express Known as a party with rural appeal, the Akali Dal in the run up to the 2022 Assembly polls is finding new ways to ... Read more »

Panchkula: 45-year-old accuses godman of assault; says he asked for liquor, held him captive

© Provided by The Indian Express A 45-year-old man has alleged that a local godman and the son of a police officer held him captive, beat him, lit his two ... Read more »

How to Wear Y2K Hair Trends (As an Adult Who Wore Them the First Time Around)

“Can I pull this off?” It’s a question that comes up all too often in our group chat these days regarding the resurgence of various Y2K beauty and fashion trends. ... Read more »

Mexico finds nearly 2,000 irregular migrants in one day

© Reuters/JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ FILE PHOTO: Asylum seekers, under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, walk across the Paso del Norte international border bridge from the Mexican side to continue ... Read more »

A third shot to boost the fight against Covid as over 90% of adults inoculated

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Over eight million will receive a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, with high-risk groups such as the elderly and healthcare workers given priority. ... Read more »

Dilahirkan tanpa lengan bukan penghalang, pemuda ini buktikan kekurangan jadi kelebihan untuk berjaya

DILAHIRKAN tanpa lengan tidak sedikitpun membuatkan Muhammad Zulkifli Nordin lemah semangat, bahkan kekurangan itu dijadikan kelebihan untuknya merealisasikan impian demi membahagiakan kedua ibu bapa tercinta. Kata Muhammad Zulkifli yang mesra ... Read more »

Bill Gates' Daughter Jennifer Marries Equestrian Nayel Nassar

© Jean-Louis Carli/AleA/Getty Images Bill Gates and Melinda Gates’ eldest daughter, Jennifer, has married her longtime love, Nayel Nassar. The couple tied the knot on Saturday at her horse farm in North ... Read more »

Russian crew to return to Earth after filming first movie in space

© Andrey SHELEPIN Russian actress Yulia Peresild spent 12 days on the International Space Station shooting scenes for the first movie in orbit A Russian actress and director were set ... Read more »

Fowler and McIlroy light up Las Vegas

© Getty Rickie Fowler leads by two after 54 holes Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy lit up the third day of The CJ Cup and set up an enticing final-round ... Read more »

Cameron Norrie gives his verdict as he storms into the Indian Wells final

© PA Images Cameron Norrie fist pump Cameron Norrie’s remarkable 2021 continued as he beat Grigor Dimitrov to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Having ... Read more »