Editorial: Strife and understanding shouldn’t be belittled-A A +A
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
MONDAY, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) of the renegade Umbra Kato group swooped down barangays Raradangan and Tugal in Midsayap, North Cotabato and engaging the military
in a firefight while holding some civilians hostages.
The BIFF of Umbra Kato is often described as the group under a rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front commander.
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that is putting up a battle in Zamboanga City is, on the other hand, tagged as the Nur Misuari faction.
Pondering on this, we see an attempt to downplay the armed forces. Maybe that serves us good as we find solace in their “smallness”; they are just a faction, a rouge group, the lawless ones, the disgruntled ones, the ones who want more, and whatever else those in authority might want to brand them. But remember, before BIFF came to be, they were tagged by authorities as the rogue elements of the MILF.
How many more times will authorities splinter the restless and Moro people in order to paint a picture of peace and security without truly addressing the cause of the Bangsamoro conflict? Innumerable times, as innumerable as the number of times armed men will attack to prove they have the fire and manpower to do so.
The peace negotiation with the MILF was off to a good start as it sought out greater participation and information dissemination. How and when it returned to the old boys’ club manner, we barely could track. But blaming will not lead us anywhere; there are just too many mistakes and blames to pass around.
Boiling in the corners of our collective psyche is the root cause of the conflict that remains ignored, not even discussed in textbooks; where upto some textbooks cast aspersion on the Muslims of Mindanao, if not barely mention them at all. Understanding can never be hatched when people are fed seeds of bias and prejudice, as many seeds are being sowed today.
Nothing beats dialogue and dissemination through proper channels, like the schools, because a conflict that has a long historical context needs to be understood even from our childhood years. To learn about the sufferings, neglect, and prejudice when we are already adults with our own sets of prejudices and sufferings will be too late to bring forth understanding and a willing hand extended for peace.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 24, 2013.