Restrained Anger and Numb Thoughts On Mamapasano massacre

Stare at the simple folks and uniformed men expressing their restrained anger and numb thoughts. In every corner where Filipinos converge, grief wafts like a hot wind on our blank faces, wondering why lives are lost on so young, and the air is so thick with pain that you can slice it.


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Shall we pause and start asking the same questions again?

Can we even struggle and to mask emotions so we can ponder why this must happen?

Is there a clear rationale why we are even drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law?

As far back as the Hukbalahap uprising, studies on peace negotiations have filled a big chunk of our collective research work that included resolution of foreign conflicts as well, but now that we are relatively jaded by reality, the redundant outcome screams that although tensions are broken and accords reached, after a short impasse reappears the ugly head of armed hostilities. Then true to form, resumption of talks are again reestablished.

Systems friends’ techie term is “endless loop”, while tennis buddies say it’s a “lingering death”.

For a moment, keeping hope against hope, we would be glad that for the nth time, initiatives for peaceful settlement were being fostered, but in a quick while, talks are stalled by mundane questions on the minutaĆ©. Again and again, no one wants to move forward. German chess grandmasters have a catchy term for this dilemma calling it a “zugzwang”. Perhaps, even the celebrated negotiator Herb Cohen would be scratching his head in desperation.

The name of the game has always been “deal, but hold”. And again, the wheel turns..

We know that the Mindanao problem did not start when the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) came to life. Not even when Lapu-lapu was hurriedly sent by the Sultan of Sulu to check on Rajah Humabon’s overpriced parking building in Cebu and how he acquired five wives, but the angst felt by Muslims have been fomenting for centuries.

Perhaps, even a temporary solution won’t be crafted in our lifetime as we are reminded that resentment started when Abraham banished the maid Hagar and their son Ishmael, from whom the fiesty Muslims emerged. With the wild adventure of fanatic jihadists, the whole world now hastily believes all Muslims are wanton terrorists.

Exacerbated by the reemergence of the Israeli nation who regained the Promised Land (with a little help from a Filipino, a UN Secretary General), sympathy from most of the powerful Western countries has been repeatedly won by the Jews whose lineage came from the Abraham’s favored son Isaac, who later sired Jacob.

As for us, added to our nefarious and perennial problems on rebel Muslims is the meddling of foreign countries in policy and decision making. The unjust influence of powerful Western countries rubs the salt into our wounds when economic and political manipulators continue to arm twist our officials to favor their vested interests since they know too well that we are economically and militarily handicapped.

We must keep reminding ourselves that we are fed only filtered information by the muzzled local and foreign media. The grim reality is that a vast majority of us are detached from these daily “newsworthy” events for we must first scrounge for ways to put food on the table and only at the end of the tiresome day, when we see our children innocently dozing, can we heave a deep sigh and pray that their morrow will bring them to the relative safety of school, far from the sinister bombs of jihadists.

We must keep hoping..
no, not hoping, but wishing solutions may be found in this lifetime.

Wishing that we can again stare at the simple folks and uniformed men expressing their delight in laughter.


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And to once again feel the warmth of a bright morning sun on our smiling faces.


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To finally declare with grim determination that peace is within grasp and that we can hack it.