Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lincoln's Message Also Applies to Mindanao

ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, 1861, Abraham Lincoln addressed a Special Session of the American Congress. I think his words are as fresh and insightful today in respect of our own problems in Mindanao. His demand that secession is conscionable only "for a just cause" is equally applicable to the warlords, terrorists, and politicians of our own South, who would re-enslave the Bangsamoro People to the "sanctified inequality" of theocratic Islamic sultanates that they have nonetheless successfully disguised as a glorious past and harnessed for restoration through a movement of "national liberation":
It might seem at first thought to be of little difference whether the present movement at the South be called "secession" or "rebellion." The movers, however, well understand the difference. At the beginning they knew they could never raise their treason to any respectable magnitude by any name which implies violation of law. They knew their people possessed as much of moral sense, as much of devotion to law and order, and as much pride in and reverence for the history and Government of their common country as any other civilized and patriotic people. They knew they could make no advancement directly in the teeth of these strong and noble sentiments. Accordingly, they commenced by an insidious debauching of the public mind. They invented an ingenious sophism, which, if conceded, was followed by perfectly logical steps through all the incidents to the complete destruction of the Union. The sophism itself is that any State of the Union may consistently with the National Constitution, and therefore lawfully and peacefully , withdraw from the Union without the consent of the Union or of any other State. The little disguise that the supposed right is to be exercised only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judge of its justice, is too thin to merit any notice.
Perhaps the only difference is that their disguise is not so thin and is abetted by so-called peace advocates in our own polity, and by historians who ignore and paper over the brutality and cruelty of those ancien regimes now glorified and glamorized by pundits. So before any grand ransom for a whole nation hostaged to a false history is once more paid by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, such as a homeland for the MILF/MNLF/ASG warlords and politicians, we must insist on a free, fair and internationally supervised referendum. The Constitution may not simply be cast aside so she can have her "peace legacy" in exchange for the electoral "favors" she got in Lanao (2004) and Maguindanao (2006). The utter disaster and failure of the ARMM since 1996 only proves that those with whom the government is negotiating today also do not have the full support of the people of Mindanao and are only the latest in a series of extortionists and pretenders, acceding to whom would not lead to peace but further instability and war, mostly among themselves.

These two audio recordings are my readings from Thomas McKenna, Muslim Rulers and Rebels (Everyday Politics and Armed Separatism in Southern Philippines, Chapter 3), Anvil Publishing House, Copyright 1998, Regents of the University of California.

Islamic Rule in Cotabato (read by Dean Jorge Bocobo)

European Impositions and the Myth of Morohood (read by Dean Jorge Bocobo)


blackshama said...

Mindanao has always been part of the Philippines. The American colonizers recognized the fact that Muslims in Mindanao weren't a separate ethnic group from all Filipinos but recognized that they are not Christian.

The Muslim "homeland" is really the Philippines. If they want a homeland the Philippines is it!

Any move to declare a separate homeland in Mindanao will be strongly opposed by Mindanao citizens.

There was one instance where I blew my top in a symposium at ANU. A liberal Aussie likened Mindanao to Timor Leste!

If a Mindanao homeland is declared, my Ilocano relatives will declare a separate "Ilocoslovak" homeland :). They have a cultural and religious identity of their own? right?

DJB Rizalist said...

Ilocoslovak! haha. Nationalism breeds nationalism. Or tribalism. somehow the whole discussion needs to be framed in the public sphere better the way Abe Lincoln did. right now media and ideologues are paralyzed by their anti colonial sentiments and are egging on the centrifugal forces of separatism and dis-union. I think it will be very dangerous going forward as the economic crisis worsens.