Music videos, public art and poems pay tribute to Luisita martyrs
Musicians, visual artists, filmmakers and poets figure prominently in the campaign to seek justice for victims of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre. The Luisita massacre 10th year commemoration campaign dubbed #HLMX is initiated by the Luisita Watch network in close coordination with people’s organizations such as the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) and the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), and is also participated in by workers, church people, students and educators, and other sectors. Luisita farmers and their supporters will mark the tenth year of the bloody incident with protests and solidarity activities on November 15 and 16.
November 16 is also declared Global Action Day to seek justice for Luisita massacre victims and International Day of Action Against Trade Union Repression by international groups in more than 20 countries. Monique Wilson, international theater artist and global director of the One Billion Rising Campaign which held its trademark dance protest activity with farmworkers in March, will return to Hacienda Luisita to join the two-day protest march and caravan.
On November 15, Luisita farmers will witness a repeat of the HLMX solidarity cultural event held November 7 at the UP Diliman College of Mass Communication, which featured with a public exhibit by Luisita Watch, street painting by the Ugat Lahi Artists Collective, and a public screening of Luisita documentaries by Tudla Productions, Sipat, Bulatlat.com and student volunteers. The November 7 concert hosted by rap artist BLKD, also featured live performances by bands Talahib, TKNK, Exsenadors, Pink Cow, Chickoy Pura of the Jerks, and poet and musician Jess Santiago.
Santiago’s poem “Pinangos na Tubo,” published in the 2004 poetry collection “Pakikiramay: Alay ng mga Makata sa mga Magsasaka ng Hacienda Luisita,” will be read in the 10 am protest program in Mendiola, Manila on November 15. Online, Santiago and other Filipino literary stalwarts Reuel Molina Aguila and Rogelio Ordonez will choose the best contributions to Kilometer 64 Poetry Collective’s HLMX #LuisiTANAGA challenge calling on poets to crystallize the Luisita farmers’ struggle using the Tagalog traditional 4-line poem tanaga. Contributions to the project may be accessed through the KM64 Facebook page.
Tribute music videos of songs from Five Year Plan (“Pagbawi”), Goons and Guns (“Luisita’s Cry), and Gazera (“Kung Puntod na ang Bukirin”) launched during the November 7 solidarity activity at UP, will be screened for Hacienda Luisita farmers in the cultural night to be held at the Barangay Balete covered court starting 6pm on November 15. Tambol Bayan and other local artists from Tarlac will also join the activity. The videos, directed by Cinemalaya X Best Editor Gerone Centeno, follow decades of Hacienda Luisita’s history through the eyes of Luisa, a 10-year old peasant girl. Luisa is played by Angela Tubiera of Hacienda Luisita, the youngest “spokesperson” of the farmworkers’ land and justice campaign. The first of three videos produced by Luisita Watch and Molotov may now be viewed on Youtube.
Photojournalist Jez Aznar, one of the witnesses of the massacre, returns to Hacienda Luisita with a public exhibit of photographs of the 2004 sugar workers’ strike. Aznar’s #HLMX exhibit will also occupy prominent public spaces in Metro Manila until November 21.
Public art will also be displayed and installed around Hacienda Luisita on November 15-16. Participating artists include Antares Bartolome, Buen Abrigo, Frances Abrigo and Leeroy New. The pieces will highlight the imposing presence of land grab walls recently erected by the Cojuangco-Aquino family to evict farmers from more than a thousand hectares of agricultural land in Luisita. The #HLMX campaign is launched by Luisita Watch, a broad network of human rights and agrarian reform advocates created to document and inform the public of continuing land issues and escalating rights violations in Hacienda Luisita under President Aquino’s term.