Peace monument unveiled in Zamboanga

Zamboanga City, Dec. 2 – A monument symbolizing Mindanaoans’ steadfast commitment to peace was unveiled on Tuesday as part of the Mindanao Week of Peace celebration.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, who graced the occasion held in Sta. Maria in this city, thanked and congratulated Peace Advocates Zamboanga and the Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP) for “building a permanent monument to the quiet, conscientious, heroic work of peace-building and peacemaking on the ground undertaken by ordinary people from different backgrounds, faiths, and walks of life.”

“It is indeed wondrous and inspiring that new rituals, new symbols continue to be created to match the peace community’s fervor and commitment to achieve a just and lasting peace in Mindanao,” she enthused.

“In our hearts, peace has won. Sapat na itong simula para tahakin ang marami pang malulubak at makikitid na mga daan (This is enough to start many more journeys of rocky and narrow roads [to peace]),” Deles added.

She also referred to the peace monuments as “a revelation of the Mindanao peoples’ determined refusal to surrender their fate to the forces of conflict and violence.”

“By erecting a monument, people ensure the irreversible embedding of its truth and symbolism in their life, culture, and history. It shows in undeniable terms how the people of Mindanao are committed to peace, no matter how overwhelming the challenges may be,” Deles said.

The monument entitled “Salam” (Arabic word for peace) is a combination of three-dimensional and two-dimensional public art.

It has a three-sided base to stabilize the ‘hand-dove’ sculpture on top. The three sides of the base have mosaic representations of the three Zamboangueño cultural influences — the Moros, the Lumads, and the Castillans.  The sculpture is a dove extending out as a hand, “like peace on a handshake” according to the artist, Rameer Tawasil.

Tawasil is a multi-exhibited mix-media artist born in Sulu and based in Zamboanga. He is mainly credited for the bright and richly-colored paintings full of silent discourses of both the good and harsh realities of Mindanao.

His 2006 rendition of the peace dove logo has become an international campaign symbol, earning him a Peace Citation in Peace Advocates Zamboanga’s Peace Weavers Awards. #