Thursday, September 28, 2006

fragile peace

about two weeks ago, a man together with his friends were fishing in the small kakal creek in buliok.

one youth, approached him and they talked about small things. they parted with:

youth: sinong kasama mo dyan?
man: mga kasama ko mga bente kami nandun sa kabilang dulo...

a moment later, the young man shot the elder one at the back. died on the spot.

the youth escaped immediately.

the aggrieved party gave the young man seven days to surrender. otherwise, they would shoot the first of his kind in sight. as retribution.

this is a serious matter and puts into a real test, the sanctuaries for peace in carmen. sanctuaries for peace are communities that have resolved to grasp peace and to hold it gently in their communities. they practice tolerance among cultures and they put in place a peace keeping council to oversee the peace building efforts in their communities. most importantly, the leaders have decided to work hand in hand among themselves and among their neighbors for them to settle more permanently in their land that were ravaged by the war in 2001 and 2003.

since 2001, all is well. there were few problems but were quickly resolved by the peace council. that is until the said incident.

on the seventh day, i spoke with a leader from the other party. he told me that ammicable settlement was reached. the suspect would not get out into the open, but they agreed to pay php60k, php10k as downpayment.

my first reaction was one of disbelief. a life for php60k! wow. and it is going to be paid in installment, double wow....

both leaders agreed. my heart and mind are screaming! no fair. my co-worker argued, that settlement is better than no settlement at all. most crimes, especially in this part of the country, go unsettled. at least this time, said he, leaders are talking and there is justice... or some disfigured form of it.

somehow i do not agree.

i would have to say that i am not satisfied with how people are treating the issue. but the past few busyhectic days proved fatal as i put the issue to sleep. at least for the time being.

but talking to jopuz today made me realize that there is no putting the issue to rest. there must be a way, a creative way to treat this issue. definitely more than just accepting the ammicable settlement, but never getting near the part on violent means.

i told him to start thinking of ways to let his young members come together and talk about the issue. the threat (to communities, and to the general peace and order situation in the area) is definitely there, but it should not be feared. it should be faced and discussed openly. the intention, however, is not to arouse more hate, rather to open doors of understanding, within their sanctuary and the other community and the party that has aggrieved them.

the idea is not to stop with that for it is not enough to secure the lessons and imprint it into the minds of young people. the direction is to continue working together, both communities that is so that this sort of thing never happens again. the intent is to heal without covering up the hate and the failures of the system. the hope is that people would still believe that peace and justice and love can still overcome the failures of human systems.

i do not know if jopuz sees it the way i do. i would definitely move with them, if at least one soul believes.

for now, i pray that the peace that their mothers and fathers have worked hard for could sustain and carry the people through their grief.

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