In a world full of poverty and systemic oppression, we are morally mandated to resist. Especially with the socio-political and economic crises that our country is facing right now that is worsened by the pandemic, the call to defy incompetence and criminal negligence is needed now more than ever. But one begs to ask: how exactly do we perform resistance in these great tragedies we live in? And what drives us to resist?
This is what the fourteenth edition of Pananaw, the literary and arts folio of UPLB Perspective, attempts to answer as it explores how intimacy truly drives resistance to persist in times of fear. Fortunately, it has given us creative, clear, and concrete blueprints on how reflecting on individual narratives and standing in solidarity with communities generate resistance.
Intimacy itself can be described by many factors. But in this political and economic climate, what truly defines it are our genuine compassion and empathy not only for ourselves but also for others. This was also defined further better by Ron Jay P. Dangcalan’s “Making the world that is, the world that ought to be”. In his essay, he expressed how human nature compels us to resist in a world full of injustice. He also mentioned through his personal anecdotes that protests are built on hope and words of comfort from family and friends.
It is also insightful how he associated intimacy with our pursuit for genuine agrarian reform, climate justice, empowerment of the poor, and other significant campaigns. It is a brilliant recognition of the role of intimacy in helping our generation learn from the past. As we recall the consecutive typhoons that struck the Philippines last October and November 2020, many youth-led non-profit organizations spearheaded donation drives for the affected families and communities. This movement also raised the discussion on examining how the government has been glorifying resiliency to hide their negligence in addressing calamities like these.
There is also intimacy in the emergence of community pantries across the country, which is actually the main subject of the folio’s wonderful art cover depicting solidarity. We can remember that it spread like wildfire, and it serves as another movement to expose how authorities have failed to genuinely address hunger amid the pandemic.
Hence, Pananaw XIV reminds us that we are never alone in this struggle. Amid different perspectives, beliefs, and experiences, our struggle to fight for the rights of the oppressed masses is rooted in intimacy and resistance, or from the words of Dangcalan, “resistance is the machinery and intimacy is the fuel.”
Bridging the gaps
What makes Pananaw XIV closer to home is its sincerity coupled with substance. Its goal in navigating answers of home-grown artists and writers to the question “how do we perform intimacy in resistance?” reminds readers to be more mindful of the idea of compassion and empathy, especially in an era where fascist authorities are dividing us. The folio aided in bridging the gaps brought by the current learning setup.
Now that students are all distanced from one another, it is quite difficult to find the kind of solace they had with friends and colleagues in the usual face to face setup. Gone are the days where educational discussions were being held in the SU Building, and random food trips were spontaneously organized with friends or orgmates to celebrate little victories amid a stressful semester. Now, we yearn for the community UP Los Baños had — starting from its beautiful ambiance, to the diverse people itself. We yearn for the safe spaces it provided for students to proactively learn, organize, and mobilize.
As we reassess the past academic year, group study sessions in coffee shops or libraries have shifted to Discord or Zoom calls with friends. Communicating with one another now has additional complicated barriers, such as faulty internet connections and unconducive learning environments. With this, a simple “kumusta ka?” helps us feel less alone. From the words of Pananaw XIV Editor-in-Chief Jed Palo, “it didn’t matter that we were not together physically. Our solidarity was two-thousand strong and it transcended beyond the screens, the
Internet, and the collective anxiety felt by most constituents.”
It is commendable to note that for the first time in the folio, three student organizations have submitted works that are synonymous to the ideas of intimacy in resistance. UPLB Babaylan’s “Breaking the Silence” illustrates a safe space for people to express their gender identity in online spaces as we commemorate International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB). The UPLB Jocks’ “If 2020 is a Song” is a reassuring podcast episode that connects the intimate relationship of individuals with music, which is itself a universal language that people across societies could relate to. Lastly, UP Internet Freedom Network’s “Complete your tasks, eject all your impostors, fix the sabotaged devices” is an entertaining initiative to let participants convene in a live streamed game of Among Us to not only play but also utilize the opportunity to raise the discussion on relevant issues and concerns of UPLB students regarding remote learning.
Of amplifying silenced narratives
Beneath Pananaw XIV’s visions and goals are a reminder — to never forget. In Chrystel Darbin’s “Gates Painted White”, she promised to put her contemplations to solidarity with the marginalized after realizing much further that this scary world is filled with living demons, and we have long been partaking in their game. She bravely critiqued the Duterte regime’s drug war and its extra-judicial killings with personal anecdotes of the people close to her. She succeeded in linking intimacy to resistance as she learned some lessons from experiences she had.
Such is also the case with Jed Palo’s “Let’s Dance”, which paid tribute to all the victims of trans and queer-related violence. It courageously highlights the strong stories of chosen families of drag queens in this macho-feudal world. At the end of it makes us demand justice for the victims of violence.
Daphne Sandoval’s “Aa-Yy” is a beautiful Manobo alphabet chart that features the culture and life of Manobos in Caraga region. There we can see illustrations of what they are experiencing on a daily basis, especially now that the ruling class and the fascist government continue to steal and exploit ancestral lands. According to Save Our Schools Network, there are an estimated 215 Lumad schools that have been forced to close by the government since 2016. This is why it is significant to clamor against development aggression and military harassment, and to further promote the preservation of their communities and safeguard their rights to self-determination.
All of the curated submissions in this edition of Pananaw signify that we could and should continue to practice resistance despite the distance. Protesting, clamoring, organizing, and mobilizing from home keeps us all connected. There may still be a lot of contradictions with the effectiveness of these acts, but at the end of the day, we are all open to learning and growth.
Intimacy and collective resistance
In times of isolation, we need intimacy. And Pananaw XIV gives us that, leaving us a message of trust and hope that eventually strengthens our fight. Our friends, family, kasama’s, and kolektib’s are our companions in resistance.
Pananaw XIV provides its readers a portrait of how human experiences and solidarity with the oppressed are vital in dealing with this political climate. Our intimate relationships with our passions, our advocacies, and our desire to change the social inequalities are all rooted in our quest to obliterate the same oppressive status quo that has put us in this worsening lockdown. While we struggle for our rights, we need to solidify ourselves even more. We need to unlearn the extremely individualistic notions of being detached with social realities, and focus more on learning to immerse ourselves with the masses. Because in our quest to revolutionize the world, we have to start with ourselves by strengthening our collective resistance. [P]
Design by PANANAW XIV graphics team lead by Miguel Lubag