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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Maguindanao Massacre: Perspectives from the Social Sciences (A Public Forum)

The Maguindanao Massacre: Perspectives from the Social Sciences (A Public Forum)
January 19, 2010 (Tuesday), 10 am-12nn
Pulungang Claro M. Recto, Bulwagang Rizal (Faculty Center), University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

On November 23, 2009, in a single act of unparalleled viciousness in Philippine history, fifty-seven unarmed individuals—mostly women and media practitioners—were mangled to death by the unrelenting firepower of their butchers in Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Their only mistake was to take part in a political exercise that would threaten the state-sanctioned feudal order as made manifest by the Ampatuans.

Though the massacre was historic for its sheer cruelty, the government’s and the public’s responses were anything but predictable. Candles were lit, fists were clinched, marches were held, statements released, headlines bannered, and the victims wailed for justice. Instead of arrests, there were highly-choreographed “surrenders” undertaken by government agents known for their capacity to “fix” every single mess left by the current dispensation. Drunk with power and inured by the trademark callousness of the chief executive, the government merely trundles along in its effort to give justice to the victims and to ensure that such inhumanity will never bedevil the hapless and the innocent. Hardly anyone said, "never again".

In the face of the public’s anger that is willing to trade justice for revenge and the grief of those who were left behind which has slowly hardened into undisguised cynicism and distrust, what can social scientists contribute to the public discussion of the Maguindanao massacre? What more can they offer besides those which were already expressed by the aggrieved punditry of the media’s commentariat? This forum is an opportunity for those in the social sciences to answer such questions.

The forum hopes to offer a more nuanced understanding of an event whose inherent brutality even exceeds the monstrous. Instead of a litany of causes, the forum would like to craft a diverse context informed by the speakers’ deep understanding of the historical and the sociopolitical. Rather than indulge in bombast and sound bites, the forum would like to present to the public the narratives that structure our present understanding of the massacre.

The main challenge, however, to those who profess the virtue of the social sciences in apprehending the real and in intimating the possible, is on how to envision a future free from the massacre’s madness—as is apparent in MalacaƱang’s imposition of martial law in Maguindanao—while holding on to a past whose lessons no Filipino should ever dare to forget.

PROGRAM
WELCOME REMARKS

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Zosimo E. Lee
Dean, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy,
University of the Philippines, Diliman

INTRODUCTION OF THE SPEAKERS

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Julkipli M. Wadi
Dean and Associate Professor,
Institute of Islamic Studies,
University of the Philippines, Diliman


















(Video recording made unavailable at the presenter's request.)

Jamail A. Kamlian
Professor,
Department of History,
Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology
(Please see this link for Prof. Kamlian's Powerpoint presentation.)



















(Video recording made unavailable at the presenter's request.)

Eugenio A. Demigillo, Jr.
Former Deputy Director,
Third World Studies Center,
University of the Philippines, Diliman

video
Miriam Coronel Ferrer
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science,
University of the Philippines, Diliman
(For an expanded version of Prof. Coronel Ferrer's presentation, read her three-part series in her "Ways of Species" column at abs-cbnnews.com.)















(Video recording made unavailable at the presenter's request.)

Eufracio C. Abaya
Professor, Department of Anthropology,
University of the Philippines, Diliman

OPEN FORUM

video

CONCLUDING COMMENTS FROM THE SPEAKERS

video

MODERATOR
Eduardo C. Tadem
Professor, Asian Center,
University of the Philippines, Diliman

Organized by the Third World Studies Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman

CO-SPONSORS
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP)
Office of the Dean, UP Department of Political Science
The Asia Foundation (TAF)
Philippine Political Science Association (PPSA)




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