Salah Jubair is Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF peace panel chair

DARAPANAN, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews/28 Nov) — Salah Jubair, author of the book on an insider’s account of the GRP-MILF peace process, is Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the peace panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF).

Jubair had been previously described as the pseudonym of an MILF official but he was never introduced to the public as Iqbal, until today, when Datu Michael Mastura, MILF peace panel member, who also wrote the afterword, made the announcement during the book’s launching rites this morning.

Iqbal/Jubair, author of “The Long Road to Peace: Inside the GRP-MILF Peace Process,” earlier wrote “Bangsamoro: A nation under endless tyranny.” The two books, he said, are “complementary.”

Among those who gathered for the launch at the multi-purpose hall here were members of the International Monitoring Team, members of the government and MILF peace panels and ceasefire committees and representatives of civil society groups.

Iqbal/Jubair attended the launching of the 250-page book whose foreword was written in June by Secretary Silvestre Afable, Jr., chair of the government peace panel until mid-July this year.

“It should be made clear,” Iqbal/Jubair said in his preface, that the book is “a personal rendition, analysis, view, and interpretation of the various interactions of the MILF and government journey towards finally addressing the conflict in Mindanao.

The blurbs on the book’s back cover were written by former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles; journalists Manny Mogato and Al Jacinto; lawyer Mary Ann Arnado, deputy executive director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue and Fr. Roberto Layson, former parish priest of Pikit, North Cotabato and vice chair of the Mindanao Peoples’ Caucus.

Deles said Jubair’s insider account of the GRP-MILF peace process, “proceeds from historical roots, delves into present realities, and propels with vision and hope into the future.”

Mogato wrote the book is “valuable not only for journalists and policy-makers but also for a wide audience interested in understanding conflict resolution.”

Jacinto said the book “should inspire everybody to work for real peace in the Philippines and understand the struggle of Muslims for self-determination and freedom and Islam, as away of life and as a religious of peace.”

Arnado said the book is a “must read” if “you want to understand whatwe should do differently and what we should stop doing in order to achieve peace in Mindanao.”

“Politicians, military officials, businessmen, journalists, academe, church leaders, NGOs and peace advocates must read this book,” said Layson.

In a message read for him by government peace panel vice chair Rudy Rodil, Afable said the author “does an enduring service to the Filipino people by writing this book.”

“I am glad that this book shows and celebrates our triumphs in a fair and objective manner. It is a milestone upon which there is no turning back, even as the journey stretches far forward,” he said.

Afable said they “must continue to band together with more courage and faith to overcome tough odds;” to overcome the “residual instinct  in combatants of both sides to pull the trigger when times get rough;” to insulate the process “from those who strive to divide us by stirring the brew of greed, ambition and prejudice.”

He also expressed the need to “enlighten those who believe that a comprehensive peace can be won by the instruments of counterinsurgency, limited development or diplomatic pressure – without serving legitimate aspirations of nationhood.”

“The work must go on until we mop up the enemies within ourselves: bigotry, avarice, envy, hate and all those feelings that weigh down upon the bridge of peace and debilitate the entire Filipino nation,” he said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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