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Monday, September 16, 2019
CAGAYAN DE ORO

Latip-Yusoph: Marawi, the home of peace!

I WANTED to be quiet, but I can’t. The whispers from within and from the people I hear shouting for justice is too loud that can even deafen my soul.

It has been two years now. The tremor is still there. These were the exact Ramadhan days in 2017 where I could not even taste the food I was eating. My body was numbed that I could not even realize what is happening to me and my family when we heard that our houses were being bombed and turned into ashes. Can I still be at peace?

Thank Allah I was saved by the friends behind the S’bang Ka (rise-up) Marawi Radio Program who did not hesitate to have me on board as the woman anchor to help disseminate the information for the internally displaced persons (IDPs). The program was aimed then to usher proper information to reach the evacuation centers in Lanao Norte and Lanao del Sur. The program has helped many to realize how important is quality information for the survival of the IDPs.

However, no matter how time healed the pain, two years is still biting us to the bones. We have not seen our homes up until today. We even knew that our houses were already destroyed, and our properties were looted by the demons in that war. After the Kambisita (visitation) in 2018, we have finally concluded that we were victims of this war. Victims of yesterday but must be survivors of today.

Surviving the pain is not a complete recovery, I know. It might be part of the transition. But who would want to be in pain forever? Are we not the servants of Allah who are willing to accept his will? To me, there is wisdom behind this unwanted tremor. It may not be visible to all by now, but I am seeing Marawi as the home of Peace, Inshaa Allah!

If our people are brave enough to stand on their own without the dependency in the government support, waiting for the next box of sardines and relief foods, I know we can win this battle for good and even become the peace advocates of tomorrow.

This is possible. Our Mindanao State University has responded to this challenge the moment it launched its curriculum for peace education as one the courses to be taken by all students of the university in the 2018 academic year. The institution has implemented it throughout Mindanao campuses in order to prevent, if not to counter, the spread of violent extremism.

May 8, 2018, the S’bang Ka Marawi radio program has relaunched its new season of episodes that will forerun the spread of peace and become the instrument in forwarding coherence and making the community people share their roles in achieving inner peace and community harmony. It shall inspire more IDP’s to see Marawi’s plight as the start of our journey towards a lasting peace.

MSU and S’bang Ka Marawi may be dots in the initiatives of the many. They may be new in the platforms of change, but one thing is sure—they both have paved the way towards changing the status quo. We are never certain, yet we can try and be part of this change.

Allah says in the holy Qur’an: “Verily! Allah will not change the condition of a people unless there is a change of what is in themselves...” [Ar-Ra’d: 11]. Hence, we can only be the ones to change this life we are in with his mercy upon us and his protection in guarding us from evil.

In the battle for peace, each one of us has a role to play. Believe and act out the peaceful initiatives we want to see. Let us embrace our plight and change for the better. Our past may be a nightmare, but it can be our means to see the brighter future for the next generation.

Let us stand together. Women and men alike should help disseminate peace and harmony by starting it within ourselves. Reflect, love thyself, stand and rise up for Marawi!


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