PEACETALK: What is there to celebrate?

It’s very difficult to celebrate the anniversary of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement and to welcome Professor Nur Misuari in a gathering full of government officials and polticos who have been responsible for not implementing the agreement and for violating the economic and civil and political rights of the Moro people.

What is there to parade for the people in Mindanao, knowing that their Moro brethren still face poverty ten years after the signing, the Moro areas still high on the list of most impoverished municipalities and provinces.  That war is still raging in the lands of the Moro people, where residents are forced to evacuate, displaced in other poor areas where they thrived on mendicancy and illegal vending.

What kind of peace will they celebrate knowing that there are more than a hundred innocent Moro civilian arrested, tortured and incarcerated because they were tagged as terrorists, bombers and members of Abu Sayyaf and Jeemayat Islamiya.  What kind of peace will they highlight knowing that the current leadership is in a war mode, calling for an intensified anti-terror campaign, her armed forces and US soldiers are rampaging in the Moro areas, Basilan, Sulu and Maguindanao, preying on innocent Moro men and presenting them as terrorists. 

It is very difficult to see Professor Nur Misuari in the company of the very people put him in jail.  How can we Moro people stomach seeing him in the company of Norberto Gonzales and Eduardo Ermita, known butchers and violators of the rights not only of the Moro people but the whole Filipino people in Mindanao and the whole country. 

Suara Bangsamoro celebrates with Professor Nur Misauari and the rest of the fighters and civilian members of the Moro National Liberation Front because of their vision of peace and development for the Moro people, because they have long fought for our generation to enjoy the fruits of their fight for peace and justice in the Bangsamoro land.

However, the Mandaya event is not our way of celebrating peace in Mindanao.  This is a politico’s way of parading peace. A remake of the 1996 event, but beyond Mandaya hotel are Moro people still doubtful of the government’s offer of peace, people and communities who are victims of the government’s anti-terror drive and injustice.

Should Professor Nur Misuari come to this event, we hope that he will tell the truth about the 1996 Peace Agreement, the injustices done to the Moro people and our continuing quest for peace in war-torn Bangsamoro land and Mindanao. 

We suspect that the government will do everything to deodorize their crimes against the Moro people.  We hope that Professor Nur Misuari will consider celebrating peace with the violators of Moro rights, instead celebrate peace and our continuing fight for our right to self-determination with the rest of his Moro brethren. (Amirah Ali Lidasan is vice chair of  Suara Bangsamoro party list)