(Speech delivered by Khayriyyah Faykha Alonto Ala on the commemoration of 50th anniversary of the Jabidah Massacre during the “Kalilintad sa Marawi: People’s Solidarity for Peace” on March 18, 2018 at Kilometer Zero in Marawi City.
MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 18 March) — Peace? I can talk endlessly when it comes to peace. So what is peace or kapayapaan? Some will have different definitions of peace. May makakasalubong nga tayo na for them peace is the time when the clock stops ticking for them. It took me time to define what is peace for me, but as I engage myself in public service, stay in the field and see different situations of life, I now define peace as a state of being understood, accepted, and loved and that will give birth to that one great happiness, a priceless happiness.
I have always defined myself as a YOUTH, maybe just a regular youth, with advocacies and few achievements. Those were the times that I had struggles finding my edge over the others. I mean, you can find a list of high achievers in the youth sector from all over the Philippines and I would be at the bottom part of that list but after years of gathering knowledge, educating myself and discovering what I have and what potentials I hold, removing ignorance of the past and fear of the future, I can now fully scream to the world what is my edge over other youths from all over the globe.
I AM A MORO YOUTH, one of the sons and daughters of the brave and great fighters of the Philippines. I came from a culture with nothing but beauty and harmony, realizing that in my shoulders I am blessed with the responsibility to preserve, protect and stand for our Dearest land, the Bangsamoro Land, knowing that since birth, my blood and flesh held my identity, my responsibilities and my purpose and that is the reason why I am in front of you.
Americano, Haponis at marami pang iba, di kami natibag.
Mawalan ng minamahal, kahirapan, pang-aapi, discrimination, pagpapahirap, pagkatalo — lahat na namin pinagdaanan yan. Lahat nang yan ang nagbigay ng dahilan sa amin na bigyang halaga lahat ang mga buhay na nawala, lahat nang yan ang nagbigay sa amin ng mga leksyon at aral kung bakit kada kami ay matutumba ay kailangan naming bumangon na mas magaling, mas matapang at mas hangarin pa namin ang tunay na kapayapaan.
Masakit rin sa amin na isipin na aming nakakatapat ay kapwa Pilipino sa aming pag abot sa kapayapaan. Masakit isipin na ilang buhay na ang nawala mula sa iba’t ibang panig para sa iisang hangad.
Sigaw nila ay kapayapaan, sigaw natin ay kapayaan, iisang hangad, iisang pangarap pero bakit? Bakit ang dami pang kailangan isakripisyo, mawala at maghirap para sa iisang hangad? Inyong pansinin na at inyong intindihin na ang aming hangad sa inyong hangad ay iisa, na ang aming pinaglalaban ay ang tunay na amin. Aming hiling ay ang inyong pagtanggap, pagtanggap na kami ay katulad niyo rin, mapagmahal sa bayan, may pamilya at minamahal rin na katulad niyo rin na Pilipino sa dugo at laman. Aming pangarap ay ang inyong pag respito at pagmamahal sa ating pagkakaiba at tanggapin kami bilang Morong Pilipino.
We are made to be different. It is not a matter of difference, it is a matter of fearing what the difference may bring. Why not just understand those differences, consider them as gifts? Why not just accept, accept that we might have those differences but in the end we are all Filipinos dreaming, and aiming for peace?
Love us for who we are and respect that what we are fighting for is what is ours.
Countless lives had ended in battles, sacrifices have been made and tears had been shed already. Days, months and years will come but the Moro people will assure you that the wisdom, knowledge and love of those who came before us will be used in the most righteous and peaceful way as we work our way to the peace our ancestors dreamed for us. We will turn that Peaceful dream into the greatest reality where we will not let the sweat and blood of our forefathers go to waste.
Let me end this speech with a poem written by Ms. Cora Palagawad a dear instructor of mine from the Mindanao State University Marawi Senior High School entitled
I AM A MORO
By Cora M. Palagawad
I am a Moro
It runs in my veins and blood,
Mindanao is my ancestral land,
Rich in natural beauty and resources,
So colorful, as its culture and heritage,
The Bangsamoro Land.
I am a Moro
Living for my aspirations,
Living for my dreams,
Aspiring for my freedom, justice and peace.
I am a Moro
A Muslim Filipino
Descendant of my great forefathers,
Struggling for centuries against the Spanish Colonizers,
Revolted against the American Regime,
Struggling and fighting for our ancestral rights,
The Bangsamoro as to the present.
I am a Moro
A peace-loving Muslim Filipino,
Born in the midst of fighting and bloodshed,
Craving for liberty and justice,
Sick and tired of indiscrimination and exploitation,
As a Bangsamoro, I adhere to protect my culture,
my heritage and my people.
I am a Moro
A Modern Peace-loving Muslim Filipino,
What history can paint me more?
What history can tell us more?
What future can guarantee
To guard my pride, my honor
and my dignity?
I am a Moro
I am a Filipino
May the history lead me
for my PRESERVATION,
May the history bring me TRANQUILITY
For I AM A PROUD MORO YESTERDAY, TODAY and TOMORROW.
Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullah hi Wabarakatu.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Khayriyyah Faykha Alonto Ala, 17, is a Grade 12 student at the Mindanao State University Senior High School in Marawi City. She delivered this piece at Kilometer Zero, Marawi City, during the Kalilintad sa Marawi, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Jabidah Massacre. Ala, who is among thousands of Marawi residents displaced by the five-month siege last year, wants to pursue Human Resource Management in college).