I was supposed to post last month these other photos that I took in Hacienda Luisita last year. But a deluge of work washed it away from my consciousness. After posting the photos in San Roque, I remembered Luisita. A lot of people, in fact, remembered Luisita when the resistance of the people of Sitio San Roque happened last September 23. More specifically, it recalled those images before the massacre of November 16, 2004: the barricades, water cannons, people’s arms linked in defiance of the violence before them. Both the people of San Roque and Luisita fought, not just for a place in this world, but for control over their own lives. They cannot just be washed away by the water cannons, and their houses and lives destroyed by the demolishers. They stood their ground, united, and they triumphed. However limited, however momentary. It was a triumph, a powerful statement for the power of unity and militance, a testament to the true strength of the people.
Anyway, here are some of the photos that I was supposed to post last month.
One of the many hectares of Luisita land now planted with rice by the farmers who went on strike against the sugar plantation and refinery in 2004.
A Luisita resident and farmer inadvertently flashes the "L" sign that is the trademark of Luisita part-owner and President Noynoy Aquino.
The union flag displayed in front of a farmer's house.
A child wonders outside the house.
A child presses his palm against a tarpaulin displayed during one union activity. On the tarp were pictures of the farmers' and farm workers' campaign in Luisita to till the land.
Gossip among friends.
On their way to school, via bicycles.
One of only a small number of tractors employed for tilling the land in the hacienda.
There are those who criticize the farmers who ask that the land of Luisita be given them, saying that the hacenderos deserve to be compensated. But the farmers have toiled the land and created the wealth off the land for decades, for little or no pay. Was that, they ask, not enough?
A farmer rests and surveys the land that they have planted on so far.
Irrigation for the rice paddies, made by the farmers.
Part of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway that intruded into the Luisita land.
Before the massacre in 2004, carabaos were banned in Luisita.
I was there in Luisita courtesy of Salinlahi Alliance for Childen’s Concerns, who had a photography workshop program for children. The subject of these prospective child photographers were fellow children who worked in the fields.
A child photographs a fellow child who works the field.
Three of the child photographers who participated in the Salinlahi workshop.
We visited the site of the 2004 massacre. In order for us not to be whisked away by the Hacienda security, we had to pretend to be ordinary tourists (ha, tourists in Luisita) having our pictures taken there. We also were there a month after Cory Aquino's death.
My feet and Luisita.