Certain chat messages attributed to a fraternity have recently been circulating online. The said exchanges contain messages that sow hate on groups inside and outside the campus.
We, the UP Muslim Students’ Association, join the different voices in the university in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the mentality perpetuated in these conversations.
We are particularly appalled by the promotion of violence against Muslims expressed in extremely Islamophobic comments. These do not only decontextualize the struggles of peoples in Mindanao, but also diminish the efforts of our people towards just and lasting peace. The disturbing, sweeping statement, “kung ang sabon ay ginawa para linisin ang katawan, ang bomba ay ginawa para linisin ang Mindanao” reduces these struggles into matters too trivial, that they can even joke about genocide.
With this evident ignorance and utter lack of awareness, it appears necessary to remind these men that the bombings they laugh about have claimed real lives, families, homes, livelihoods, and the very identity of the people so intertwined with their land.
The Lumads were constrained to take refuge in various universities in the metro, including our supposedly safe space, the University of the Philippines. The reparations of war in Marawi is still a dream a year hence.
It appears these men live in their own elite bubble, choosing to remain ignorant of the plight of the marginalized people, that these issues do not merit their sense of noblesse oblige.
It bears repeating: bombing, genocide, and the historical injustices in Mindanao are not, and should never be, subjects to be taken in jest.
This brotherhood of men claims to be a premier leadership formation. Indeed, a number of its alumni have occupied powerful positions in the government as they have claimed. With this brotherhood as their training ground, we are very much concerned about the future of governance in the country. What kind of biases and prejudices will government offices hold against the marginalized groups that they have thoughtlessly dragged into their conversations? We challenge their alumni, especially those in power, to hold the members of this fraternity accountable. There is no place for such an entity in the university of the people.
We call on every Iskolar ng Bayan to fight against Islamophobia and all forms of discrimination. Let us all aim to eliminate this backward mentality perpetuated by this group and by the institutions that enable them.
We highly encourage everyone to arm themselves with knowledge on the issues that beset the Moro and Lumad peoples, as well as other marginalized communities. Let us not be ignorant. We also encourage everyone to lend their voices and speak out against this vulgar mentality and feudal tradition.
The UP Muslim Students’ Association is open to anyone who wants to be educated about these issues.