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Mindanao: In the Name of Peace


During the past decadesthe mere sound name Mindanao would instantly entreat the sound of guns. Maybebecause Mindanao provides a good lair for bandits and secessionist elements.Mindanao is multifaceted. It has a lot of faces that could hardly be describedwith words.

Life has always been tough for Mindanaons. Families in many and large part of Mindanao haveencountered the hardships and pains of the war.

Like the story of my mom when she was still young, she didnot know exactly why the war ensues but she has seen the war from herchildhood. She hears about the war that affects Mindanao up to now.
Althoughshe does not know the root causes of the war, she knows very well the effectsof the consistent military operations in Mindanao. She sharply pointed out thatthe war hindered their livelihood and the development of Mindanao greatlybefore in broad, especially in the bounds where they live.

Mom recountedhow many times, her family, her neighbors, and the whole community wouldevacuate from their area like nomads every time the military would attack theirplace in search for the ‘Muslim rebels.’ She did not know what the war was allabout, but she knew exactly how painstaking it was for them to move from oneplace to another in order to evade bullets firing across their homes

*A Muslim problem?

The origin of the conflict go back a long way where everyone is fighting against in a row. Colonization, I guess, hadsomething to do about peace in Mindanao, back to the time that when colonizersspread their wings in Philippines and gradually extended their control overMindanao where they have to “baptized” people with different religions.

Muslims in war worn out Mindanaoconfront more injustice in economic and social issues. Amid the ensuing war andmisery, people from Mindanao face a bigger challenge to survive. Even in lieuof shattered households and broken families, they opted to migrate for theurgent need to survive. Civilian Muslims are even harassedand irrationally arrested by the military.

Mindanao being the second largest Philippines Island is theonly area in the country with a significant Muslim presence. Now,the conflict has risen to acts of violence, including a recent bombing of aChristian area of Mindanao. The conflict is often framed as a religious one;Muslims versus Christians. This is not really a Muslim problem, as time haspassed the fact that there is a religious difference has become apparent. Religion discriminations are excessive.Both parties doesn’t get the points of each other, extremely, it is worsen!

*Politics and Mindanao, a bitter struggle
While the conflict doeshave some religious implications it is also very politically charged. Conflictalso, has been raging for a long time between the national government and theentire Mindanao. On top of the political trouble we deal with, it is also facinguprising violence.

The violence that has happened to Mindanao has also becomepolitically charged. Theinsolvent lives of people intensify as the war in Mindanao persists. Thegovernment’s military have unceasingly lodged in Mindanao in search of the‘rebel groups’ Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Frontand the ‘terrorist group’ Abu Sayaff. As the battle ensues, countless familiesin Mindanao endure the aggravating poverty and restlessness due to constantevacuation in the hope of evading the ruthless war.

Differentregimes have consistently declared war or ordered military operations inMindanao in order to search for what the government call ‘Muslim rebels,’ whichinclude the groups Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National LiberationFront, and the ‘terrorist group’ Abu Sayyaf. Most people in Mindanao did notexperience a peaceful childhood and the luxury of a peaceful and steadyschooling. In some parts of the island people encounters fights between the‘rebel groups’ and the government’s military, it have been a constant scenario.

A bitter struggle for independence and peace and eveninstability is being waged by the people of Mindanao against successive ones.
*Realities: Why search for peace?

The never ending bombings, killings, kidnappings and the terrorism in the war-torn Mindanao, theunceasing conflicts between the Muslim and the Christians, the worseningpoverty, corruption, over population, political instability, injustices, thehuman rights violations and abuses are not hidden facts about Mindanao. The currentarmed conflict in Mindanao reflects the recurring call for the fulfillment ofthe right to self-determination of the entire population in the Philippines in order to obtain sustainable peace.

*Peace is divine.  Peace is everywhere… but why do people searchfor it? Isn’t it in our hands? Isn’t it peace is in our mind?
Maybe man seeks peacein indifference, no matter how divine peace is; we could never attain itwithout any divine inspiration. People in Mindanao seek peace indifferently.They seek peace as if they want it, but never needed it. They seek peace inways that open the doors of violence; they seek peace without self identity!

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