Accept, forgive, and move on PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 08 August 2014 11:10



In fora  and other types of sessions  on the crafting of peace in Mindanao there invariably  winds up  the use of the word “narrative”.  My understanding of this is that individuals and groups on either side of the conflict have their personal stories to tell of experiences brought about by the conflict, or perhaps stories that make us understand the beginnings of the conflict. We then get a perspective of the conflict beyond the political aspects. It is hoped that the new perspectives make the negotiators take a more human stance and thus the negotiations flow more smoothly.  The stories are sad, telling of violence and loss and a strong sense of injustice having been done to the story teller. But not all stories are of this kind. There are also stories of unbelievable courage and strength, of kindness in the most unexpected way to- or from- someone who is from the “other side”.

Even in the narratives of the horrific Holocaust of WWII  we come across stories  that make our hearts sing of the strength of the human spirit and the capacity for love and kindness and courage in the face of the great evil that can come out of our human nature.

The positive stories, the inspiring stories, are the kind that we should look for and which our media sources should promote.  The happy stories are those that strengthen the bond of people to each other even when we identify with sides that are at odds or are in conflict.

Sadly though it is the opposite that we keep reading about or hearing about. There are historical facts that we cannot simply sweep under the rug, and it would be naïve if we go into denial mode and delude ourselves into thinking that these events never happened or,  conversely, that these events should forever be hung as a sin or fault of one side or the other.

The Jabbidah massacre.  The 1974 attack on Jolo. The beheading of the Marines in Basilan. The September 9 attack on Zamboanga City. These events  and many others of equal import did take place in the last 50 years or so of the  Mindanao conflict.  It would do us little good to go through life pretending that these did not happen. On the flip side we have to realize that being hang-up on these events  will not bring us towards a state of accepting one another as rightful heirs to Mindanao and all that it has to offer. An it is only when we do arrive at this state, when we accept the reality that all who now live in Mindanao  have a right to be here, will peace come between and among us.

I remember a particular occasion when in a forum someone I considered a friend, someone who is active in peace promotion,  said to me “You see, if you did not come to Mindanao we would not have had this problem .”   I have not forgotten to statement but I carry no ill-will towards this person.  We simply learn to forgive each other and move on towards better days.