the walls are the publishers of the poor


“The walls are the publishers of the poor”- Eduardo Galeano

The writing on the wall says: “in a society that has abolished all right(s), the only right left is to abolish that society.” It was signed by a man/woman using the alibata script. A friend informed me that the word translates to “bala” or bullet in English. I can only speculate at what statement the person intends to make but I find this piece of work brilliant at any rate. The graffiti was once on the perimeter wall of the National Statistics Office (along East Avenue in Quezon City) where thousands of people flock every day to apply for birth, marriage, and death certificates, among others. That this work calls to attention the need for an act of social awakening right at the very place where official claims on national identity and citizenship are negotiated and legitimized is simply poetic. It is also made even more provocative by the use of the wall as both as a medium and a metaphor—if we consider that this call to action is addressed mostly to the majority of people who are disempowered and are figuratively pressed against the wall, such as the father and child who happened to pass by the graffiti when I took the photo.


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