Thursday, September 19, 2013

Across the Land

We can not hold ground that we do not hold first in our hearts

Thank you, Army Boots. 

To all who through our most recent crisis in Mindanao gave to our Nation, their best, their bravest, and their finest to defend the life of the national community in Zamboanga City and preserve the hope of the dawning of better days in our Mindanao, salamat po. 

May God bless all those who saw us through the crisis - civilians, police, and armed forces personnel - citizens not unlike each of us, who honor us by the shining example of their citizenship, along with those who now live in our eternal remembrance. 

May the sacrifices that they made together never be in vain.

Salaam. Shalom. Peace.

Personal Reflection -

20130920, Friday - I look again toward Zamboanga, contemplating whether I was too overzealous in believing the crisis to be over in that besieged City of our beloved Republic, and observe that - yes, it had already peaked. It's tide is turned.

Conflicts, especially armed conflict, when they are fought from within a nation is never a contest that is fought on ground, air, or sea, but in the spirit; their battles won and lost from inside the soul of the people.

We are not a nation at war with another. As such, we can not apply ourselves to the task of overcoming with military force, "the enemy" - in the conventional sense of the word.

To do so would only create and re-create the conditions that propagate the divisions that plague the soul of our nationhood and afflict our spirit like a lingering, festering, sickening malaise.

We can not use the arms of our own nation to annihilate itself - our nationhood would soon also act to afflict us with the pain of burdens (debt of remembrance) meant to pierce the darkness that hold us back from the memory of ourselves as ourselves.

We are a nation involved in a struggle to overthrow the bondage of a war within ourselves. We do not aim to overcome, nor can we, our own nationhood against each other - our aim must be to allow a space for it and establish an equilibrium whereby our spirit as a human people can compose and settle itself in our minds and in our hearts - that we may stir no more with the stirring of war - this is why a meaningful peace to all of us is important. 

Because relief to our Muslim brothers and sisters does not mean to feed them, clothe them, shelter them, and offer them opportunities in places far from their hearts.

Relief to our Muslim brothers and sisters means to obtain for them, and with their help, relief from hunger, the safety of law, protection from war in a place near to their hearts wherein their community can prosper and grow, thriving in peace alongside all the communities within our nation.

This is how we shall give them relief. We will help them establish themselves in community at peace within the peace of our Republic.

I think this is the aspiration behind the Bangsamoro - and this is why we must help them - because there is no them and us - only a "we". And to ignore this is to call down upon ourselves a dark and deepening madness of a night without a twilight.

But are we not the Land of the Morning?

Therefore, as regards to the particular situation we find ourselves now in Zamboanga -

The less strong the enemy will - only in this particular - the less strenuous should be our exertion to do battle with them in the field. They fight on our terms now. For this is the time, at the waning away of each of their greatest advantages in warfare, that we are able to expose the strategy that brought their cause into conflict with our military and the politics behind it, that needs unmasking, that it may revert once again into mere opinion and thus, be permanently undone.

Our mercy should fall only on those deceived by the art of their warfare - for indeed, they have fallen short of it's craft and it's intended truth. They fight for the benefit of fighting, while our soldiery defend against their violence. For they hate the love unto which we all must return to when the call to the greater building of the national community is issued once again, particularly in the City of Zamboanga, as it must, for all the days of war are numbered, but numberless are the ages of peace - and we do not stand as a nation to add to the life of the spirit of war but to hasten it's eventual extinction.

We should always leave an avenue of surrender - a way of return to the Nation - and break them by their bones by stripping their command structure bare who needs breaking - that their violence against the peace of our people cease - that they who with all their hostage taking, their murdering, their abusing, their will of death - reap the consequences of the freedom they embraced.

To a man with no sense of remembrance, one hundred people murdered in war and one million people murdered in war makes no difference.

But to those who know of sacred remembrance - to save one life, is to save all of mankind.

20130928 Saturday - At the conclusion of military operations in Zamboanga City -

Within that 20 day siege we lost more than 200 people - all of them human beings, all of them citizens of this Nation - 23 of whom are from the ranks of our soldiers and police with more than 100,000 - Muslim and Christian alike - displaced by the fighting with some Muslims reportedly prevented by the outbreak of hostilities from doing their Hajj.

This is not to mention the physical, emotional and psychological wounds of those civilians who were taken hostage agaisnt their by the rogue MNLF contingent along with the deep spiritual wounding that the whole community of Zamboanga must  now be suffering from.

The material cost of this episode may be something that experts can qualitatively surmise but of our deeper immaterial losses here, we can only maintain a vigilance, because while it's easy to tell when the blood stops bleeding, the guns stop firing, and the building stop burning, the end of tears are harder to tell - for there are tears that flow invisibly - shed from the soul long after the eyes have stopped weeping.

It will take the whole Nation to hope to contain all that hurt - a hurt that I am sure shall linger on - and linger on long after the event has quietly slipped away from the attention of the press, the politics, and the majority of the public. Therefore, their community shall require - for their longer term healing - the focus of pertinent national institutions and related civic and religious organizations concerned about the relief of human suffering and the quality of life of human community.

All Cities in our Republic share an equality of function and this is the most important equality that dictates the strength of the freedom they possess to continually realize, in the lives of their citizens, the hopes they are by this Republic our entrusted with - an equality of being - for their most certain endowment is their simply existing and to affirm and to continually recognize this equality is to strengthen - collectively - our sovereignty.

Zamboanga needs the help of her sister Cities in the Republic - here, at the conclusion of the fight - our military, police, firemen, emergency personnel and various other first responders showed - in exemplary fashion - how they honor our Nation by their citizenship through faithfulness and excellence, each in their respective calling to serve. What must now flow in - is the rest of us - who with willing hands and helping hearts shall deliver another decisive blow - this time against that spirit of division that has no place in our communities and help Zamboanga to eventually heal.