The recent Jolo Cathedral bombing and the Zamboanga City mosque grenade attack have claimed at least 23 lives and wounded more than a hundred innocent victims. All these happened in most sacred places.
The on-going airstrikes and the consequent displacement of communities in Sulu are reminiscent of the Marawi tragedy.
We are shocked and appalled by this madness. This is difficult to understand, much more accept. As peace workers, we have been made to understand that violence could just be an explosion (and implosion) of a deeper conflict. This is a jolting reminder of the deep historical, structural and cultural problems that we have to face.
As we seek to analyze and understand this impunity and cruelty, we seek Divine guidance not to fall into the trap of anger and despair. More than ever, we are called to love and understand, really love and really understand each other.
Some would like us to be afraid. Some would like us to distrust each other, fear each other, hate each other, destroy each other.
As we confront the reality of this senseless violence, we struggle to hold on to our vision of peace and justice in our land.
We join the call for real justice for the victims and their families. We join the call for an end to violence. We join the call for greater accountability especially from among those who are vested with power and authority.
Let us remain strong in unity and in our shared vision and hope for just peace.
We are Mindanawans. We are Filipinos.
We are Christians. We are Moros. We are Lumad.
We refuse fear. We refuse hatred. We refuse violence.
We refuse to be victims.
As Mindanawans, we will not give up. We will continue to work with even greater resolve to help build lasting peace.
We remain committed to our dream of building a Mindanao that is truly a home for all of us.
31 January 2019