Local personalities recite Tagalized Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’ speech in video protest

July 7, 2020 - 6:00 PM

Actors, lawmakers, activists, journalists and other individuals from different industries came together in one video to recite a Tagalized version of Hollywood icon Charlie Chaplin‘s speech against tyrants in protest of the recently-signed anti-terror law.

The speech was originally delivered by Chaplin who played a dual role in his first film with dialogue, “The Great Dictator.”

It was a political satire that condemned German dictator Adolf Hilter and fascism as told in the story of a Jewish barber who was mistaken for a dictator that he was asked to replace.

By the end of the film, the barber rejects the position and delivers a speech that has become famous in film history. Some articles note that it was Chaplin himself who had delivered the lines and not his actor persona.

A film historian and archivist said that the speech was Chaplin’s way of “conveying his view that people must rise up against dictators and unite in peace.”

The movie was released in the middle of World War 2 when Nazi Germany was on the rise and invading other countries.

“The final speech of ‘The Great Dictator’ remains relevant and valuable in the twenty-first century and likely will remain so as long as conflict corrupts human interaction and despots endure,” historian-archivist Jeffrey Vance wrote in an essay.

Speech in today’s context 

Chaplin’s speech came into consciousness recently when playwright Rody Vera directly translated it into Filipino and was uttered by several personalities against the highly controversial anti-terror bill.

On Monday, Voyage studios uploaded a video protest directed by Chuck Gutierrez, who also edited the almost six-minute-long clip.

Among those who participated in the video include actors John Lloyd Cruz, Janine Gutierrez and Iza Calzado, as well as lawmakers Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna party-list) and Rep. Kit Belmonte (Sixth District, Quezon City).

Other notable appearances are former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, embattled journalist Maria Ressa, auteur Lav Diaz and performance activist Mae Paner or “Juana Change.”

Below is an excerpt of the Tagalized speech:

“Mga kababayan! Huwag niyong ipaglaban ang pagkaalipin Ipaglaban niyo ang kalayaan! Kayo, ang mga tao, ang may kapangyarihan – Kapangyarihang lumikha ng kaligayahan! Kayo, ang mga tao, ang may kapangyarihang gawing malaya at maganda ang buhay. Sa ngalan ng demokrasya – gamitin natin ang kapangyarihang iyan – magkaisa tayo.” 

“Lumaban tayo’t palayain ang daigdig, iwaksi ang kasakiman, ang poot, at kawalan ng pag-unawa. Ipaglaban natin ang isang daigdig na nakasandig sa katuwiran, kung saan ang siyensya at pag-unlad ay tuon sa kaligayahan ng mga tao. Mga kababayan, sa ngalan ng demokrasya, magkaisa tayo!” 

The video also includes the hashtags “#JunkTerrorLaw” and “#UnitedForDemocracy.”

In an interview with ABS-CBN, Gutierrez said that the video’s message “is perfect at a time when freedom of expression is under threat.”

The anti-terror law, which has been signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, grants sweeping powers to the police and military in terms of tackling security threats.

Law and civic organizations, activists and experts have expressed strong opposition against the law that is feared to stifle dissent and curtail constitutionally-protected civil liberties.

Some of its provisions include the legalization of wiretapping, granting of warrantless arrests without redress of grievances and having a vague definition of terrorism.   

Four petitions have already been filed at the Supreme Court by law experts and lawmakers in a bid to challenge the anti-terror law’s constitutionality.

RELATED: A roundup of petitions challenging the Duterte-backed anti-terrorism law

The high court, meanwhile, is ordering the respondents in the petition to address the legal challenges.

The respondents include Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and members of the Anti-Terrorism Council which are composed of Cabinet members.