David Byrne Discusses the Disco Musical He Wrote with Fatboy Slim About a Filipino Dictator

It's Called Here Lies Love and It Opens at Seattle Repertory Theatre on April 7

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This is not my beautiful wife
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How is the Stranger giving a free pass to a play that glosses over and trivializes the atrocities of the Marcos regime? Seattle even has a local connection to the violence of the Marcos dictatorship. Intelligence agents for Marcos assassinated two Filipinos in Seattle who were opposed to the Marcos regime. See the articles in the Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, and New York Times for background.

"The pop-iconization of Imelda and the success of “Here Lies Love” is an affront to the Marcoses’ surviving victims. A spokesman for Mr. Byrne told me that he was editing his libretto over the summer. Yet I’d be surprised if he adds even a passing mention of Hilda Narciso, a former church worker who was taken to a safe house for “interrogation” and repeatedly gang-raped by soldiers in Davao City in 1983. Or Mariano Pimentel, who was held for four years without charges, beaten by soldiers, buried up to his neck in a remote field and left for dead, before his serendipitous rescue by local children.

"While Ms. Narciso’s and Mr. Pimentel’s stories may not easily lend themselves to a disco beat, they represent 7,526 plaintiffs in a suit against the Marcos estate, one of the world’s first certified class actions for human rights abuses. It was first filed in 1986. Nine years later, an American judge ordered payment of a total of nearly $2 billion to the victims. Yet Filipino officials have balked at distributing any of the money collected from the Marcoses and their cronies, despite a scolding by the United Nations Human Rights Commission and a bill pending in the Philippine Senate, where many lawmakers are themselves victims of Marcos-era abuses."
--Katherine Ellison, "The Steel Butterfly Still Soars," The New York Times, 6 October 2012.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012...

"Two allies of Ferdinand Marcos, the former Philippine President, were found liable in a civil lawsuit today in the killings of two opponents of the Marcos Government who were gunned down in 1981.

"The two allies, Constantine (Tony) Baruso and Leonilo Malabed, were ordered to pay at least $8,396,800 to the survivors of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, who were slain in the Seattle offices of the Alaska Cannery Workers Union.

"The estate of Mr. Marcos, who died last September, and his wife, Imelda, were found liable on Dec. 15 for running an intelligence network that spied on his foes. They were ordered to pay $15 million to the families of Mr. Domingo and Mr. Viernes."
--"Marcos Allies Held Liable in Deaths of Foes," New York Times, 13 January 1990.
http://www.nytimes.com/1990...

--"Marcoses Ruled Liable In Murders," Chicago Tribune, 17 December 1989.
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-…
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"Amnesty International has estimated 70,000 people imprisoned, most were arbitrarily arrested and detained, 34,000 were tortured and 3,240 individuals killed."
--Amnesty International Philippines
http://www.amnesty.org.ph/news/statement…