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Award-winning writers talk about writing in protest

Karah Jane B. Sarita

Two award-winning Filipino writers – Ian Rosales Casocot and Daryll Delgado did a sit-in and talk about the role of writers and literature in a time of crisis and protest last Dec. 12 at the Audio-Visual Theatre 1.

Asst. Prof. Ian Rosales Casocot, a faculty of Silliman University known for his prizewinning short stories like “Old Movies”, “The Hero of the Snore Tango”, “Rosario and the Stories”, and “A Strange Map of Time” talked about archiving an ongoing literature of protest.

“Literature in a sense is very very powerful,” Casocot said.

 In his talk, he introduced his project “The Kill List Chronicles,” a literary blog and a Facebook page. It also an archive of literature that focuses on extrajudicial killings.

“Why is this thing happening a lot? And why is it that nobody seems to care? We have accepted a culture of impunity… and that really bothered me,” Casocot said, referring to the killings happening in the country.

According to him, many of the killings now are actually because of permission.

Furthermore, Casocot also tackled the history of writing to protest and the writers who protested and were killed during the Martial Law.

Meanwhile, Delgado, author of the short story collection “After the Body Displaces Water” talked about writing about and within the context of violence.

“For me, it’s useful to think about words and how you can use words to influence the small communities where you find yourselves in, and to encourage those who seek to preserve the power of those words,” Delgado said.

According to Delgado, the appropriate response of writers to violence is to step back and write from a distance.

“Write from a distance, that allows you to ruminate on violence but also to not forget that you are writing about violence that affects individuals,” she said.

Delgado said that writers should speak truth to power by defying power, challenging totalitarian forces, and taking a stand.

“To speak truth to power, I guess you also have to ask ‘whose power?’ ‘For whose convenience?’ ‘Whose convictions are you speaking for?’ ‘Are you speaking just for yourself or are you speaking for people who can’t speak for themselves?’” Delgado said.

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