Peace over war-A A +A
The Living Spirit
Friday, January 4, 2013
AT the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the Angels sang: “Peace to all men of good will.”
Christmas is a feast of peace here on earth. The paradox of the first Christmas was violence and war. King Herod was the first one who started the killing.
The paradox of Christmas 2012 is again war all over the place. The Philippines, the only Christian nation in Asia, is more in war than anywhere else in Asia. Mindanao is an area of war. The insurgency war of the CPP/NPA over the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) has lasted for over five decades. The war is still going on and no peace is in sight. Why? The parties are fooling around and are taking each other for a ride. Victims are the Filipino people who always get caught in the crossfire and live in constant fear of being attacked. Clearly, these are not ‘men of good will.’
But peace is also something you have to fight for. Peace is not offered to us on a silver platter. In the 1970s, the Filipino people fought for 14 years a war against the dictator Marcos. During those years, the people were not united in their war against Marcos. Many were passive and many people, even our church leaders, thought that critical collaboration was the right thing to do. Some people even thought that Marcos was a charismatic leader. They refused to see the rampant violations of human rights and the many people who were killed by the military under the Marcos regime.
During World War II, the German soldiers who invaded Holland were wearing a waist belt with the words printed on it: Gott mit uns – God is with us.
These are the peaceful words of Christmas: Immanuel – God is with us. The words are often misused by the enemies of God. When the dictator Marcos had fled to Hawaii, democracy was restored again in our country. But for many Filipinos who had only shown a lukewarm attitude during the time of martial law, it was not a hard-won victory over Marcos. That is the reason why democracy was only restored in name.
Democracy is something you have to choose for, over repression. You have to choose for human rights and justice, over abuse. You have to choose for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, over the repression of church authorities. You have to choose for diversity, over division, transparency and accountability, over corruption. You have to choose for equality of men and women, over discrimination and, above all, you have to choose for peace, over war.
We ourselves are to be blamed when we haven’t been able to stop the war of the rebels in Mindanao. We, the Filipino people, civilians and government officials alike, must demand from the insurgents that they lay down their arms and finally make peace. If they don’t, we must go after them and force them to surrender their arms.
On the international level, we may request the Dutch government for the extradition of Jose Maria Sison. He is a war criminal and he was the one who ordered the killing of Rolando Abadilla, the notorious torturer of political prisoners during martial law. He knows who are the real killers of Abadilla; they are not the so called ‘Abadilla 5’ who are being detained innocently for more than 15 years already. He should be man enough to tell us who are the killers of Abadilla.
Sison is a hardline ideologue who still believes in the Marxist idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat and therefore ordered his people to continue the people’s war until the end. But also those NDF negotiators from Utrecht who want to continue the revolutionary struggle until a perfect society in the Philippines has been reached. We may request the Dutch government the cancellation of their Dutch passports. Let them come home to the Philippines and negotiate here on Philippine soil for a peace settlement with the government.
Christmas is a feast of peace and reconciliation, but let a truth commission first settle the Antongalon massacre of the 48 activists and punish the real culprits of that crime.
May there be peace in the Philippines and may God be our Immanuel, the God with us. Malipayong Bagong Tuig kanatong tanan!
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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 04, 2013.