How should Marawi be rebuilt? For whom? And with whom?
This is what the last few months have come to.
- All available statistical and geospatial data on Marawi and Lanao del Sur have been uploaded on www.openmarawi.com. Free, open source, and to be constantly updated in the coming weeks.
- Almost a year after the Siege and six months after the last bomb fell on the city, Assad Baunto, David Garcia, and I have finally released a policy note summarizing options for decision-making on land, housing, property, and urban design. Maps were made with JR Dizon, Mikko Tamura, Bj Bantog Gochoco, Ysmael Mangorsi, and representatives from Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Download briefer here: https://goo.gl/iRYXkS
Thank you to the many jedis in government, the academe, and civil society who made this possible, along with The Asia Foundation and DFAT-Australia.
To the leadership of the city government of Marawi, the provincial government of Lanao del Sur, and the Regional Government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao–my deepest gratitude for letting us outsiders work with you.
I’ll be co-hosting a conversation around urban issues in the Philippines with fellow miscreants David Garcia, Robert Anthony Siy, Abbey Pangilinan, and Prof. Chester Arcilla in a month’s time. Not gunning for anything too fancy. The goal is to get a healthy crowd of practitioner-peers in the room plotting and scheming. Just enough to get something usefully collaborative a-brewing at a time when a vlog isn’t just a vlog, indigenous peoples are getting displaced in the name of progress, and Swiss Challenges are everywhere.
Massive hat-tip to the folks at Artkitektura, who are co-sponsoring this as a satellite event for the 2018 leg, and will be programming this as part of the British Embassy Manila’s Great British Festival. There’s not much up there at present, but more information will be posted closer to the date over at urbanismo.ph.
(For those who have not been to the 2017 leg of the Artkitektura Festival of Architecture and the Arts, I have an article up on PhilStar.com on the organic/living architecture movement, its applications to the Philippines, and what Sarri et al are trying to revive back here. I am hoping that these are ideas that will gain more traction in the years to come.)
Kitakits, mga kapatid.
Large-scale disasters and fascist regimes serve one useful purpose: they’re blanket design constraints that force people to work and collaborate in ways that would not normally be possible.
Luckily for us, 2017 had these man-made constraints aplenty.
Luckily for me, that led to meeting the ladies of Gantala Press, an independent women’s literary press run by the likes of Faye Cura, Janine Dimaranan, Bebang Siy and Rae Rival. Thanks to our common friend, filmmaker Jaja Arumpac, that led to helping out with Laoanen, a fundraising and information-sharing drive on the effects of the Marawi Siege on women and children on the ground. With Faye’s and others’ equal parts of madness and tenacity, Laoanen quickly evolved into a number of events and talks, the Me & My Veg Mouth and Good Food Community-led Food for Peace yumfest, plus two books: the Laoanen chapbook of talks and reflections, and Mga Tutul a Palapa, a cookbook featuring the food and stories of longtime friend and colleague Assad Baunto. The latter was mostly Asi, and I helped chop onions and peel garlic in collaboration with Nash Tysmans, food writer, scholar and designer Ige Ramos, with the amazing Emiliana Kampilan doing the cover art. Some of my writing, and surprisingly, a lot of my amateur ink sketches, are included in both.
Thanks to a few twists of fate, I’ve got a short (read: heavily redacted) piece on Marawi published by the Australian National University’s East Asia Forum. It comes in several weeks later than I’d like, but at any rate, I’m posting here an earlier unedited and less circumspect version, written roughly two, three weeks ago.
Marawi was a victory for Islamist extremism in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The next choices taken by the Philippine government will determine the extent of its spread.
It has been more than sixty days since the outbreak of violence in the Islamic City of Marawi, just over 500 miles south of Manila, and kilometre zero of the island-region of Mindanao. What started in the morning of May 23 has led to over 314,000 persons displaced. More than half of the lakeside city is in ruins; approximately 100 civilians and hostages are still trapped in the crossfire. Aerial bombardments and house-to-house fighting continue. As the first widespread incident of urban violence in the Philippines—its partial precursors being Zamboanga in 2013, Ipil in 1995 and the razing of Jolo in 1974—the impact of the Marawi siege is unprecedented, not least in its implications to the rise of violent extremism in the region.
While the reported death of Abu Bakr Baghdadi and the jihadi group’s losses at Mosul and Raqqa signal a transformation of Daesh presence in the Middle East, Marawi by all accounts was a victory for islamist terrorism in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. From a ragtag group of ‘black flag wannabes’ that could barely stage a bomb attack on the US Embassy in Manila in 2016, the Maute group now has enough street cred to attract international interest and support. They have achieved what others have failed to do: signal to the disgruntled and marginalised that violent extremism, particularly through urban warfare, is a viable path forward.
When depressed about the state of the world, what better way to procrastinate but through (f)art.
I challenged myself a few months ago to try to draw one thing a day for a year. Mostly for fun, and partly to recover from the creative crippling that brought me out of the humanities and into development work over a decade ago.
Being the obsessive I am, I decided to use seventy-eight of those 365 days to draw my own tarot deck. Drew the 22 cards of the major arcana, one card a day, each card corresponding eerily to each day of one of the most intense months I’ve had in a while. While some of them were partially painted, I’ve kept the black-and-white feel as a nod to two of my favorite decks: Kim Krans’s The Wild Unknown, and the David Foster Case and Jessie Burns Parke Builders of the Adytum deck.
I figure the best way to motivate myself to get through the next 56 images is by compiling them into a zine, since that’s what kids like to do these days. I figure I’ll eventually print them into a proper deck, but in the meantime, if anyone’s reading this, feel free to message if you’d like a physical copy of the twenty-two cards of the Fool’s Journey, or in Tagalog, ang lakarang baliw. Otherwise, I’m putting a low-resolution version online here: (Ang Lakarang Baliw).
I realize belatedly that it’s a little fuzzy, since the images weren’t scanned (I don’t own a scanner) and were just captured on an iPhone 6. It’s the first thing I’ve made and finished purely on my own just for kicks since high school, so do be kind.