Memories worth keeping and fighting for
One of my portable hard drives conked out recently. It was disappointing. But fortunately I have a backup where I keep years and years of photos and videos and other memories.
In fact, too many photos and videos.
There was a time, especially before the digital age, when we took photos and videos and then carefully selected which ones to have printed or transferred to a tape or a CD. It was essentially a process of choosing which images, which memories, which stories are truly important and worth keeping.
But we now live in an age where we’re constantly taking photos and videos, an endless stream of images. And we collect and store them all over the place. On our phones, on hard drives, on online sites.
We tell ourselves that we will eventually sort them out, edit them, identify which ones are the most important photos and videos. But many of us typically don’t do it. We never find the time to sit down to go through our memories, to figure out which ones are worth keeping and preserving, and which ones can be cast aside.
I sometimes do so, but the rate by which I collect images is simply too fast to keep up with an ever growing collection of memories and stories.
I found myself reflecting on this dilemma of sorts as I also looked back on a year which has made clear the importance of memories and stories, of remembering the past.
The son of one of the most ruthless dictators in the world became president of the Philippines. And he did it with the help of a well-financed social media campaign of lies — a campaign based on an attempt to distort and even erase the past.
In the United States, a scary pro-Trump riot is being downplayed, dismissed and distorted as a harmless, peaceful protest. In many counties and states, books that recall the abuse and brutalization of Blacks, women and minorities have been banned.
But people are also fighting back.
The movie “Katips” came out to challenge the mean-spirited propaganda film endorsed by Imee Marcos. And veteran director Joel Lamangan, himself an activist in the fight against the Marcos dictatorship, is releasing a new film, “Oras de Peligro” about the popular uprising that ended the regime.
The documentary “11,103” has received rave reviews for turning the spotlight on the victims of torture, rape and massacres when Ferdinand Marcos was power, atrocities that the regime endorsed as a way of maintaining power.
There are new books looking back on the Marcos tyranny, such as the essay collection The Marcos Reader.
I wrote recently of a new memorial to slavery and the plight of the Black community in Montgomery, Alabama. Slavery ended more than a century ago — but these are stories and memories that are always at risk of being distorted or forgotten.
We still learned that lesson with the ugly stories from the Marcos dictatorship.