Monday, August 25, 2008

Discernment and Nationalism

The past week of skirmishes between the AFP and so-called “lost command” elements disowned by the MILF shows the inanity and futility of negotiations with these so-called “insurgents.” The MILF will not even feign control because these groups are clearly moving in cadence with its political agenda -- this time committing atrocities so grave as to make the international headlines. Moreover, the MILF has never consolidated under its wings other Bangsa Moro factions such as the MNLF, the Ampatuans and the Dimaporos, because they have all objected to its claims. So what is there to negotiate with the MILF then? Verily, capitulation calls by such miniscule groups as the “Black and White Movement” only serve to follow the US-MILF-GMA conspiracy.

As the days pass and debates rage over the Arroyo-MILF MoA issues, the stronger the arguments against appeasement and capitulation become. The MILF has been exposed as an empty phantom claiming as its “force” elements that it cannot command, and the “ancestral domain” proposition has been shown to be a vacuous conception, indefensible in moral and historical terms. The best argument we have heard is from our reader and radio volunteer Ka Ferdie who said: “If we are trace the ancestors who first established a high level of civilization in this archipelago, (these were) the Sri Visaya and the Majapahit empires in the first and second millen(nia) that were not Muslim nor Christian but Buddhist, Hindu and Animist in religious orientation.”

Domains and property concepts mutate through historical evolution but in the end, these are fixed by the social, economic and political imperatives of the times. The original migrations to the archipelago tens of thousands of years ago, like those of the Aetas and Negritoes, do not count in the “ancestral domains” claims at all because these have become impotent cultures. As new migrations arrived taking over the rich agricultural lowlands, the old communities retreated to the hinterlands, which had no value until the Industrial Revolution started the rush for minerals and ores. And now that even marshes and seas are coveted for natural gas and oil, Western energy and political powers have begun to redefine such domains to circumvent the need to deal with national entities.

The main question for the Filipino people in the aborted Arroyo-MILF MoA is: Shall we allow hundreds of billions of dollars of natural resources that form part of this nation’s wealth to be taken away from the many citizens of this country and given to foreign greed and a few self-serving bandit-leaders for their own aggrandizement? We should have asked this question even earlier, when the Mining Act was being reviewed by the Supreme Court, which finally decided to give it away to foreign interests. But the issue was not as highlighted as the Arroyo-MILF MoA because it did not involve a bandit group passing itself off as a “state” and claiming large tracks of land where Christians had properties and interests, like in Zamboanga and other cities, which really inflamed the Christians there.

From all accounts, the MILF is only a paper kris as shown by the numerous times the AFP has demolished this so-called force. But behind it is a real power in its staging of the geopolitical wayang kulit on the Mindanao stage -- the US . And so the paper kris waves about menacingly even when it signifies nothing. Time and again, history has shown that the so-called Muslim insurgency cannot sustain itself without direct support from the US and its agents as in the Michael Meiring episode, which implicated the CIA in the Davao bombings of 2003 and Operation Greenbase, where junior officers were ordered to grenade Muslim mosques. Thus, the real enemies of peace and stability in Mindanao are the foreign powers.

I am deliberately repetitive in citing the Michael Meiring incident, where the FBI whisked off the American bomber back to the US, prompting Davao Mayor Duterte to tell Ricciardone, “I just would like now to make it clear, to inform…the US Ambassador and some morons there in the national government who are handling these FBI agents that you better not do that again here or I will have you arrested,” as well as, the Operation Greenbase expos√© as these are crucial to discern what is really happening in the tense areas of Mindanao. Those preaching capitulation to the MILF never discuss these pivotal moments of subversion and terrorism because the only power that can overcome this foreign menace is the power of nationalism.

On my Destiny Cable TV interview last week with retired Commodore Rex Robles, he said: “I know this will sound corny but the answer to all the problems is ‘Love of Country’.” Right away, I caped it off with, “When the Filipino people begin to think of country in terms of their bunso (the youngest child in the family), their grandchildren and great-great grandchildren and their future, then it will not be corny anymore.”

The Sabah we lost to the Malaysians gave them the wherewithal to build the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur , so let’s not lose the Liguasan Marsh and the Sulu Sea wealth this time around. I also make this appeal to the AFP leaders and men for in the end, it is they who will help decide if we remain an impoverished vassal or become a rich and free nation.

Grudgingly, the AFP is still cause for both hope and frustration. For if there are nationalist military leaders like Gen. Danilo Lim, there are also careerists and opportunists who have surrendered their souls to foreign powers, repeatedly abandoning their nationalist comrades whenever the US bars real change by throwing its support to any one of its corrupt local puppets.

We must henceforth learn from South American military-backed nationalist movements, like in Venezuela , which engaged their civilian populations in decades of political education and have now won their liberation from US imperialism. For this reason, the November 29 Movement and this columnist are starting the “Free Danny Lim” movement to symbolize the new AFP and its nationalism.

(Tune in to: Talk News TV on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 3, Tuesday at 8:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with guest Atty. Alan Paguia on the MoA-AD; Kape’t Kamulatan, Kabansa on 1098AM, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; and Sul√≥ ng Pilipino every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the same station. Also, check out: http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)