Kaloy Manlupig on the Spirit of the Future – Peace is Possible Forum

Here is a video clip of Kaloy Manlupig at the Spirit of the Future – Peace is Possible panel sessions in Kuala Lumpur last year. This forum is part of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) Conference 2013.

We urge you to listen to the different insights of peace advocates from all over the world in this series of videos. In this video,Kaloy’s piece starts at 25:48. Here is a transcript of his sharing:

Good morning, my friends.

I am Kaloy. I come from the most war-ravaged region of the Philippines, that is Mindanao. I work with a small NGO called Balay Mindanaw meaning “Home for Mindanao” doing modest community-based peacebuilding, trying to help create spaces for dialogue in areas directly affected by violent conflicts.

I am also mediating a peace process between the Philippine Government and the Communist Revolutionary Workers’ Party of Mindanao. In my homeland, I have worked with and among the most violent armed groups,  both state – the Philippine Military and Police – and non-state – the various armed rebel groups.

I must say that working with them has convinced me that there is hope for peace. I have seen the personal transformation even of the most hardline protagonists. I have seen relationships being built, being transformed. This optimism does not diminish the urgency and the necessity of addressing and confronting structural violence, especially issues of injustice, inequity, poverty and underdevelopment. Justice and development are the other names of peace.

Working with the communities in my homeland and working with over 300 asian peace practitioners who are members of a network called Action Asia has convinced me that peoples and communities are capable of winning their own victories, of winning their own peace.

Peace processes are holding because those involved have begun to find common ground. There has been genuine transformation of individuals and of relationships which will hopefully lead to transformation of societal structures. More importantly, there is a growing peace constituency that will not just allow war to continue happening.

Inclusive peace is possible if no one is excluded. It is not about defeating the enemy but transforming relationships and structures. We just want to believe that all our modest peace initiatives will all add up just like a hundred or a thousand flowers blooming. As we, in the peace movement would call it, peace written large.

The winds of change are blowing. And many homes are happy to welcome this change, so they open doors and windows. Trust which takes so much to build is being built among the protagonists in the violent conflicts. Structures of violence are not immortal.

Peace is possible when people refuse to be victims. Peace is possible when people begin to realize that the most basic resources for peace are ourselves. As the late Dekha Ibrahim (Abdi) said it: I refuse to be a victim, I choose to be a resource for peace. Yes, there is hope. Thank you.