Topic was Mindanao peace! Yes, it is my concern.
Once Mayor Duterte won the election 2016, Mindanao is in the spot light. I am not obviously from Mindanao however, I am happy that this consequence may lead more people think and talk about Mindanao.
I was invited to the radio program. I was hesitated in the first place to be the part of the program because I am just a foreign national and I thought my personal advocacy for peace cannot be represent the voice of Mindanao. However, if this is one of these opportunities to speak and share my concern...why not?
Who I am?
Radio program started with introduction. I am no one but I have to give information to radio MC, Ma'am Mira. I hesitantly wrote my status such as my job, my educational background and my husband. Last part is the most important part..My husband is Bicolano :D
What was the impression of Mindaao?
2006 was the fist time to travel to Mindanao. Since then, I traveled there several? times. in different places such as..Davao, Kapatagan, Cagayan De Oro, Iligan, Bukidnon, Pikit. Kidapawan, General Santos, Coronadal, Butuan... All of them are work-related.
Place where I landed very fist was Butuan. It is dominantly Christian region. I enjoyed literally fruits of the land., which was Durian! This experience gave me certain impression...Mindanao is the land of Durian :) In fact, ever since I travel to Mindanao, I enjoy Durian.
When I traveled to Pikit, I noticed there are many military check points, which I could not see much in Butuan and Davao trip. Now I got more impression there is influences of prolonged conflict. There are military tanks as well. I was wondering how people see these...some expressed not prefer to see these military presence. But some said no choice.
Why I care?/Why I started to work in the field?
In the movie, people who a main character love died in front of him. I imagined this kind of "personal incidence"is happening during any kind of war or conflict.
7 year-old elementary girl just cried after watching this...(if you are interested in it, you can search it in youtube.) but after that, deep sad feeling turned to anger.
At the age of 16, I read the book about conflict in Mozambique. Rape, order to kill your relatives...I could not stand it. I still remember this book even now.
They did not chose where they were born. Once they were born there is a poverty, violence, injustice... I was angry with the situation.
After the University, I got a chance to be a volunteer in Thailand and Malaysia for a month. By the way, it is totally deviant act because majority got job before the graduation and started working immediately after the graduation. I simply disagreed with that idea.
In both countries, I was warmly welcomed by local people. However, I met some people with animosity against me. They shared the story which they learned from their grandparents..how cruel Japanese soldiers were with their demonstration how soldiers killed people. I could not find any word.
My history teacher was fair enough to tell us what Japanese people had done in Asian countries. I learned these and I was aware of these terrible events. But experiencing these made me reflect more than just reading the books or part of history class discussion.
Make my story short, sad feeling was the entrance of thinking the issue but anger bring me to the field and later learning of healing wound makes me stay in this profession and keep my advocacy alive.
In addition, more I stay here, more I will have connection. Very first time, my feeling is like "one-way-love". Later, happy to say, this love may not be one way. Time to time, some events such as workshop (being a lecturer, participant, facilitator), Job, research bring me back to Mindanao. I hope this is the sign Mindanao is calling me.
How can we engage ourselves to Mindanao Peace advocacy here in Bicol?
In the class-discussion, I asked my students why it is difficult to discuss Mindanao peace. One student honestly mentioned that she is locating far from Mindanao and she thought it won't affect her life here in Bicol.
I could not blame her because she honestly shares her thoughts and it might be a reality. We, peace advocate in Bicol to tackle.
1) to know what is happening in Mindanao/what happened in Mindanao
via News, Books, Movie ....I did this...
2) to meet people who are different from you in terms of sexual orientation, religion and culture.
You can probably participate workcamp, event and so on.
3) to take a small action
If #2 is challenging, why don't we care of our mother nature?
To appreciate nature creates inner peace. I can mediate more in the nature. To clean and care of environment, can be one step forward.
Healing the land where absorb blood...fear, anger, sadness....
One of the great learning though being the part of the NGO was I could observe the ritual healing the land by IP tribe.
Place where they heal was place where bloody incident happened. The owner of the land is Muslim (father of my friend.) He shared the story when the place was affected by exchanging the fire and bombing.
People tend to think Mindanao issue is Christian-Muslim affair. But we also call Mindanao as Tri-people's land.-Christian, Muslim and Lumad.
I, personally want to emphasis their presence can be little bit more highlighted.
The ritual might be treated as superstition in our society. But it functions when we have a common understanding we/our land must be healed. People who have these knowledge are very precious.
Interview in general, I was quite disorganized :( because I had many things to say...In this sense, I was bit shy if you listened the program. But I was really glad and thankful for this chance.
I hope Mindanao will be the place where lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.