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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog ❥ for Peace ✌

Conflict is likely to occur when we fail to listen, react or empathize appropriately with the person we are engaged with. When conflict starts to burn between two individuals, it can spread quickly and wither not only their families but also divide our communities, and destroy our nation.

Peace, though a seemingly easy point for discussion, is a more complicated concept, often misunderstood, and overlooked. The lack, thereof, often results to conflict. The peace settlement in Mindanao has gone on a roller coaster ride and its painful to hear that the youth are suffering from its impact. 

Manila highschool students join the call for peace in Mindanao

For decades, the misperceived peace and order situation in Mindanao has made life more difficult for Filipinos living in Mindanao.  Where tradition, heritage and upbringing as major source of influence, the younger generation has inherited an attitude of hatred with the belief that non-believers were inferior, untrustworthy and a perennial enemy. I remember how family and friends had reacted when my parents decided to move to Mindanao in 2005. They echoed the same concern, "Bakit sa Mindanao? Di ba magulo dun?"  Mom hails from Sultan Kudarat and would simply reply, "Why not?" Through the years, mom never regretted returning to her hometown despite popular media coverage which depicted Mindanao as war-torn, calamity-ridden and unsafe due to acts of terrorism. 

Sadly, thats how the rest of the Philippines (and the world) see Mindanao, 'war-torn, calamity-ridden and unsafe due to acts of terrorism'. The imagery and profiling has become so popular and common, it has become second nature. Many have associated Mindanao folk, especially the Bangsa Moro, as obstruction to peace.


I have long wondered why Christians discriminate non-Christians and vice versa. I feel guilty that despite my liberal education and my craving for adventure, I used to hesitate when my itinerary includes passing by Cotabato or Maguindanao. Since more are lured to Western influence, and are likely to convert, Christians form the majority of our population. However, having more followers doesn't mean that what they believe in is the right thing (bandwagon fallacy). It is false to say that a statement is true because a lot of people believe it as true.  So no culture/religion/sect has more right to make prejudiced statements about others.


Have we forgotten about the  cultural diversity of the Philippines? In the Philippines, followers of Islam belong to different indigenous tribes, each with their own level of allegiance and autonomy. The ARMM being annexed to the Philippine government all the more presents problematic discussions. Soon we may realize that more than our natural resources, we will be losing Filipino indigenous culture. Oh I'd hate to see that. I wish we'd all listen before impacts become irreversible.

Peace is built on good relationships with others. I have wasted as much as 6 years trying to dissect a failed relationship when I was still in my teens. It was a very long way to maturity with my eyes tainted with hatred and confusion. It was painful and difficult especially without parental guidance (Well, we all went through adolescence and it wasn't that easy for me). I am worried for the youth of Mindanao. Although, I admire some who were brave enough to explore beyond their comfort zone (and continue to face discrimination) to live amongst 'others'.
'Proud to be a Muslim'
In the process of overcoming failed relationships, I learned that relationships will remain complicated if we make it one. There are no shortcuts or fool-proof means, but a key ingredient to a lasting relationship, personal or professional, is respect.

The peace process will take longer if we stubbornly keep our grudges with our brothers and hold on to our prejudices. A look back in history will show us that we are waging a war that we created for ourselves. Its cliche, but lets stop putting up walls and build bridges, instead. By far, we'll look and feel younger as we smile and shake hands.


Have a look at what PeaceTech has done in recent years. They are using technology to educate and bridge the Christian and Muslim youth. Can technology break traditions? For peace, I sure hope so. You can help by making simple acts of peace and sharing it with your family, friends and community. 

Reactions:

9 comments:

Seems like they have done a great job here. Havent heard of them though but I think they are sincere on their drive. :D

Iam Herbert

Seek peace, pursue it...I hope everyone has that in mind...

c5 @ http://paanoba.info

Idealistic but doable, especially if it comes from within. Kudos to them! - http://viennadaily.blogspot.com/

I've met the young PeaceTech staff and I believe they are genuine and sincere unlike some groups who are believed to profit from the war in Mindanao. Well, they are young and idealistic. I just hope they don't get smudged. It's been a long and painful war. Let's pray the administration can facilitate the settlement of peace and rehabilitation in Mindanao.

Thank you for taking time to drop by, Iam Herbert and C5 :)

With everything that has happened in Mindanao, I came to admire its people. Things has made them tough for any battle there may be.

I've only been to Mindanao once and the people I met there are very hospitable. I also know some friends who hail from that island and they're some of the nicest people I know. It is my dream to go back there someday.

Mindanao was typecast as war freak region, not because of their natured- philosophy but mainly of realism. They fight for something that they felt neglected by the community most esp. the government system, hence the root cause of rebellion of a certain sector. Generally, the locals from Mindanao are as congenial to their neighboring visitors, it's the stereotyping that made Mindanao looks as scary-tourist destination together with its people.

As long as the armed rebel groups are terrorizing in some parts of Mindanao, it will always be perceived as hostile place. I truly hope that true peace will happen in Mindanao before the end of my lifetime.

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