This monograph explores the relationship between human rights and literature through a reading of Ruth Firmeza’s novel Gera [War], which depicts the early years of the world’s longest non-international armed conflict: the communist insurgency in the Philippines. The monograph reads Gera as a literary representation of the state of exception and its corollary, righting—the people’s resistance under such juridical order. Through its discontinuous and episodic narrative consisting of short memories of the martial law years in the Philippines, the novel recalls the chaotic world of the state of exception. This is a world where law and time are suspended, rights dissolve, and force reigns supreme. In this juridical vacuum, the people resist through righting, an “exercise of constituent power” which subsumes both the exercise of non-juridical “democratic rights” and “sovereign vengeance.” The article concludes that, through the theme of memory, the novel—a form of writing—reconstructs not only the state of exception but also the resistance to its violence in the form of righting, which constitutes a new world beyond the imagination of the current statist and individualist international human rights regime. Copyright © 2022 Ateneo de Manila.
|Publication status||Published - 2022|
CitationBagulaya, J. D. (2022). Righting in the novel form: Memories of the state of exception and non-juridical rights in Ruth Firmeza’s Gera. Kritika Kultura, 39, 666-722.
- Constitutional law
- Filipino novel
- Human rights and literature in Southeast Asia
- Martial law
- State of exception