CRUCIBLE: Marawi Crisis and CVE – “Without us crossing swords, ha ha”

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QUEZON CITY (MindaNews / 27 Feb) – Below are exchanges of email and SMS between me and a head of sub-contracting agency that show the connectedness of a supposed local issue like Marawi crisis (e.g., war, rehab) with geopolitics of aid and CVE.

I could not reveal specific persons and entities involved as my interest is simply to show the “reality” of any conflict these days under closed watch of “Orwellian Dystopia” amongst Big powers through their agencies, proxies, contractors, and sub-contractors.

The aim in sharing this experience is also to surface how honest exchange of messages, albeit brief, could reveal people’s civility while they share light banter despite their differences.

XX (Email): My colleague (XY) and I enjoyed your CNN interview that was just broadcast. Can we discuss as soon as possible with you our proposal to (XYZ) to conduct preliminary assessment of Marawi?

JW: Thanks for your positive impression of that interview…

XX (Email): I have attached a copy of our Concept Paper that we prepared in early August for XYZ’s consideration as an unsolicited proposal building on our experience in the area and in post-conflict / post-disaster responses…

We have assembled a veteran team for this assessment but are in need of a team member / adviser who is an expert in the field of Combating Violent Extremism / CVE in the ARMM (ideally including Marawi and Lanao del Sur areas).  

Does this sound of interest to you…?

XX (SMS): Good morning…Can I give you a call…

JW (SMS): Had read your email attachment. Re: proposal. It’s superb. F you are inviting me to be part of your group or team…I regret I cud not participate…

XX: Great and thanks for your compliment! Would you have any recommendees?

(I did not respond).

XX: Hi! Again Prof. Wadi…What if we consider an alternative approach? What if we propose a panel of senior advisers such as yourself who could contribute even remotely to the assessment in your respective areas of expertise since CVE is really a bit of a new, cross-cutting science that does not easily get address by individual consultants?

JW: What is CVE?

XX: Combatting violent extremism. It is a new acronym for a lot of the same old things that lead to violent extremism.

JW: Haha! Better am not on board w/ yur project. I have an unconventional view on CVE that may jeopardize your proposal.

You know XX, I am an alumnus of UVW…I visited XYZ in …. (the office that decides on foreign assistance and monitors XX’s office and fund)… I’d crossed swords with OPQ officials (that set policy on XYZ)…made some of them uncomfortable. With all modesty, avoidance of me can be a virtue.

XX: Ha ha, it is often easy to cross swords when u turn out to be right perhaps later plus you were younger then. I believe we would benefit from diverse views and backgrounds.

JW: We call it persistence ha? What I value most is my freedom to articulate n to question; yet I also don’t want to jeopardize others. Don’t worry. Will keep your attachment for safe keeping. Anyway, gud luck to you n yur team!

XX: Roger that! Look forward to meeting you some day.

JW: Ya. Visit me anytime. We can exchange views on lot of things – without us crossing swords, haha.

XX: I haven’t carried a sword for a long time!

[MindaViews is opinion section of MindaNews. Julkipli Wadi is Professor of Islamic Studies, University of the Philippines.]

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