Editorial: Our woes their stage-A A +A
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
WE KNOW there is something really wrong with our officials? psyche when conflict that is shedding blood in Zamboanga becomes opportunities to make their mark. That could even be the very cause why nothing is being resolved. Each one going out there is intent on earning the much-coveted pogi points instead of a firm resolve for peace.
Thus, when the outcry on Facebook is war, they speak of war. When the outcry is for peace, they negotiate for peace at the expense of the other. Much like how Vice President Jejomar Binay talked peace with classmate Nur Misuari and painted President Benigno C. Aquino III as the antagonist to peace. The vice president and his supporters can deny that, but we know how the statements made after the talk came out. Whether intentional or not, the message that came across was Binay is for peace, Aquino is not.
It doesn't help that throughout the exchange of fires and words is a very strong anti-Muslim undertone. Again, those in the forefront will deny that. Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle Climaco made that clear when she said, "this is not a problem of religion because we dearly love our Muslims, Christians, and the Lumads in the city." That's the spoken word. What we see and hear and observe doesn’t speak about love.
Zamboanga City's congested settlement areas are now nothing but burnt rubbles, and we know who once lived there -- Sama and Tausugs who have sought shelter from their conflict-ridden barrios and crafted a life along with original settlers, both Muslims and Christians. They lived in harmony. Now, their homes are burned and the government claims it's the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who burned them. Sure.
It doesn’t help that very few national government officials, maybe even nil, truly understand the conflict and the struggles of the Moro people. Again, they will deny this, but we know otherwise. It is in the actions and in what happened.
Now we return to how it all started in the 1960s. If all those national officials really believe they can continue talking peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and expect peace to reign once an agreement is sealed, then they are more stupid than we already think they are.
But there's hope. In the Mindanaoans. It is up to us, who understand the conflict in all its context, who can push our own people to reach out for understanding. Peace, as Dutch philosopher Baruch Espinoza once said, is not the absence of war. It is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. Let us, as a people, nurture that virtue and state of mind because we cannot expect that from people who only see conflicts and disasters as opportunities to further sow popularity.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 17, 2013.