Author:Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo (Humboldt University Berlin)
Paper short abstract:
The specific configurations of the Bangsamoro as imagined future that is captured in the subjunctive phrase "once it is Bangsamoro…" point to the plurality of pasts in the sense that this imagined future has various ways of simultaneously constructing and relating to the past(s).
Paper long abstract:
In 2012, the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which has been waging an armed struggle for the right to self-determination in the southern Philippines, signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. The historic signing of this peace document and the succeeding peace agreements thereafter gave the term 'Bangsamoro' prominence and traction, animating the lives of Moros who have been part of the struggle for decades. Drawing on my long-term ethnographic research on imagination and memory among MILF adherents in the Cotabato region, I analyse the subjunctive phrase "once it is Bangsamoro…"—often uttered by my interlocutors when articulating their desires, expectations, hopes, and anxieties during this period in the peace process—as capturing their ideas of an imagined utopian future. I show that the specific configurations of this imagined future propelled by desire and possibility point to the plurality of pasts in the sense that the past does not possess a singular significance or relationship to the imagined future. Rather, the imagined future has various ways of simultaneously constructing and relating to the past(s). In turn, the past(s) and the imagined future shape my interlocutors' subjectivities and the Bangsamoro imaginary in the present. This co-implication of the past, present, and future is informed and moulded by my interlocutors' lived experience with and memories and imaginings of violence, marginalization, and impoverishment, the MILF's messages, memory-making practices, and re-narrativization of history, progress in the peace process, and the vicissitudes, precariousness, and liminality of life in the present.
Temporalities of the past: moments, memories, and futures in the making