In Mamasapano, they perished



Whether encounter or mis-encounter,
be it slaughter or massacre,
perhaps somebody’s tactical blunder,
the label does not much matter.

What matters the most
is that many lives were lost,
by gunfire brutally cut short,
sacrificed to the war god’s blood-lust.

Police commando, Moro mujahideen fighter,
or civilian caught in the crossfire,
the label does not much matter
for every life is as precious as the other.

For every soul that in Mamasapano perished,
there is a mother, a wife, a sibling, a child who cherished
whose heart is now overcome with unfathomable anguish,
weeping for the loved one whose life was violently extinguished.

Moro, Christian or whatever,
the label does not much matter
for the tears of grief shed by every mourner
brings the same pain as that of the other.


Now, amidst the widows’ and orphans’ weeping,
do you hear the dogs of war lustily howling
to be let loose and bloody vengeance bring,
promising peace through the power of guns blazing?

For some time now the guns have been silent
as adversaries the path of peace went exploring,
together step by small step a common ground finding.
Shall we now allow the guns again to do the talking?

Walking the path of peace is by no means at all easy
in a landscape shaped by decades of distrust and animosity,
where generations have been raised to gain a mastery
of the art of outwitting, attacking and destroying an enemy.

Walking the path of peace is by no means an easy task
for difficult it is to shed the past and learn to build trust,
to not strike out in anger for every real or imagined hurt,
to listen, understand and feel what is in the other’s heart.

Yes, our hearts are filled with anguish
for all those who in Mamasapano did perish;
but be that not reason for the dogs of war to unleash
and waver in our journey along the path of peace.

1 February 2015

Eric S.B. Libre is a Mindanawon freelance development consultant who has done some work in a number of conflict-affected areas of Mindanao and occasionally dabbles in creative writing. He lives in Digos City, and is proud to be a senior citizen.