Prejudiced Opinion: SAF vs. MILF

What I hate about the internet now is that people have the avenue to make publicly uninformed comments at the comfort of their seats.

In line with the ongoing Mamasapano Clash between the PNP-SAF and the MILF and the BIFF, please don’t comment with prejudice. Understand why peace cannot even be achieved after so many years. Understand the history, the context, and the circumstances that led to the current state of things. By all means, condemn the killing. But never say anything uninformed. Never let emotions run your argument.

And please understand that you cannot generalize the whole just because a small sector is at fault.

For instance, all policemen are corrupt. This is a false statement. This is hasty generalization and can be attributed to ignorance. I think all of us can agree with my conclusion even if there are indeed evidences of a lot of corrupt policemen.

Now take another statement into consideration: All Muslims are terrorists. How come we now have a hard time denying the falsity of this statement? Is terrorism really based on the religious affiliation of a person? The answer should be a resounding NO. This is why it is wrong to attach the words “Muslim terrorists” together. Just as we don’t attach “Muslim-“, “Hindu-“, and “Christian-” to the word “rapist” or any other term related to criminal act. You see the immediate prejudice “Muslim terrorists” suggests, and it’s really unfair (if I still have to tell you).

The mass media (predominantly US-influenced) has bombarded us with that idea. And we took it to heart. Why? I would like to think that it’s because we needed someone to blame. Especially for the 9-11 attack. I know, the 9-11 was totally wrong. But honestly? The Muslims think it’s wrong too. The attack was politically motivated, nothing else. Unfortunately, a lot of unresolved issues continue to haunt us because of this attack. And as a result, Muslim people groups are being condemned, displaced, and even killed because of this (whatever happened to Christian love?).

Now look at this definition of “terrorism”:

The Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms defines terrorism as:

The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.

Ok. Based on this definition, even the United States, guised in their mission to free this world of all evil, can be considered a terrorist as well (ever heard of State Terrorism?). Why is it that they have to meddle with Iraq immediately after the 9-11 attack when Iraq clearly had no link to Al Qaeda? Why do they continue to pursue Sadam only to find out that their claim of weapons of mass destruction were nowhere to be found in Iraq? You think the United States with its sophisticated intelligence system would not know this beforehand?

Now, are the MILF terrorists? Honestly, yes and no. Yes they are terrorists based on the definition, because they sometimes result to unlawful violence for their political, religious, ideological agendas. And I can retort that the army is also a terrorist based on this definition. Definitions aside, however, they are not terrorists because honestly, if you really understood what they are fighting for, you would understand their side.

Yes, the fighters involved in the clash did wrong by killing, overkilling, and shooting a video of their killing. That’s the worst you could do, and frankly, no one should tolerate that – not even the MILF.

What I’m having an issue with is how people are so willing to freely call them terrorists just because. One wrong incident made by a division of MILF should not destroy what they are fighting for in the first place. Just as I wouldn’t condemn the whole PNP just because they failed to coordinate their objectives properly – thus resulting to the clash in the first place. And I wouldn’t condemn the whole government even if a few of their men have committed war crimes and human rights violations (believe me, there are a lot not broadcasted by mass media).

I also have an issue with how little people understand of the situation in Mindanao. I am not an expert, but I have researched enough to understand. Let me make this simple. The Spaniards conquered us, but they never really got hold of Mindanao. Unfortunately, they sold EVERYTHING to the United States – even Mindanao. Thus with the subsequent independence of the Philippines (our real independence was after World War II, mind you), we claimed sovereignty over everything. But they should have never really been part of us. And I would go on to say that we never really made them part of the Philippine discourse. Now we want to claim sovereignty over these people? These people who for so long have also endured enough for their eyes to be opened. What with the Jabidah Massacre (this led to the creation of the MNLF), the land grabbing that went on there, and other things that irked them rather than drew them closer to us.

So the fighting endures to this day. On one hand, the government fighting for their claim of sovereignty over Mindanao. On the other, the MNLF/MILF/Other groups claiming their sovereignty over their lands. Honestly, with the way things are going now, no one’s right anymore. The government insists on one thing, the other groups insist on another. And if we take the suggestion of His Excellency Joseph Estrada, an all out war will never be the solution. War breeds vengeance, and vengeance will come back to haunt everyone in the future. That is why the Bangsamoro Basic Law was such a huge landmark for both sides.

Now, I leave you to your own perspective. I will respect your right to voice out your opinion as much as I will defend my right to voice out mine. But please, I’m begging you. Make informed comments and opinions. Don’t comment based solely on your emotional biases against these people. Honestly, we’re just promoting bigotry with what we are doing. Be informed about their side. Understand them before diving into the void that is prejudice.

OJT Day 16: IGSL Article 2

May 20, 2013

To my surprise, there were only a few people at the office. Apparently, almost everyone was out of the country. The morning sharing was a great reminder of God’s love for us.

The day started quickly but started to pace slowly in the afternoon. I finished my IGSL article, and I’m happy to have come up with an article from a difficult interview. Thank God for perseverance!

It was quite a tough task to finish, but I managed to conquer it. My mind was flying around for a few moments, but I managed to keep it together in time for the article to finish today. Perhaps focus is what I lack to accompany my determination to finish the work. Or maybe I should go transcribe a full set of interview first before writing an article. This does not go well with news writing in media outlets, however it will do in other areas. Noted.

Tomorrow I will layout this article. My OJT is almost done! 🙂

OJT Day 15: IGSL Article 1

May 17, 2013

Today I took the time to start my article on the Bangladeshi Christians studying in the Philippines. It was truly a blessing to hear from them. I learned a lot by simply interacting with them. One thing I have to learn, though, is to understand a foreigner’s English style. I was playing back through the recorded interview, and I realized that they spoke very softly. Their English was hard to understand as well. It was hard to ask follow up questions as I was still processing and understanding what they said. Before I knew it, the next question had to be asked already. There were a few awkward silences.

It took me one whole day, and I’m not yet done. I guess I have to be more prepared next time (and I really took the time to think of questions to ask and some possible follow ups… it was not enough though).

OJT Day 14: Slow Day 2

May 16, 2013

Ok, today was not really slow. I just had the feeling that it was.

I got to layout the article I did earlier, and I started to write the articles from the interviews. That’s about it.

Not everyday is an exciting day, but these are the days where you need to pull yourself together and get things done. Hopefully, I can do it. 🙂

OJT Day 13: International Interview

May 15, 2013

Today I prepared interview questions. I had an interview in IGSL at 4pm. It was a great experience to be hearing stories from people of other countries. I was able to interview 3 couples from Bangladesh. To be honest, it was hard to understand their English; but thank God for the ability to playback through recorders! haha

Interviewing is hard, but facilitating a discussion with an interview mindset is hard. You see, the couples are seated on a table and I asked them questions. They answered individually. I was horrified because they were not “into it” when it’s not their turn to answer. But thank God because they were happy I visited them. So here are some pictures from my “journey”.

OJT Day 12: Slow Day

May 14, 2013

Elections just finished yesterday, and the office was talking about their votes and their experiences in their precinct. I had a splitting headache today, my head was spinning, and I don’t know why. I had a hard time working, so I was not able to do much today. I did some layouts though.

Tomorrow I will be interviewing a group of people so I have to prepare questions. It’s going to be an exciting day tomorrow! 🙂