Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Maguindanao Massacre and other Real Life Massacres
While the whole world led by the United Nations, through its Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, is condemning the mass slaughter of 46 people – including women and journalists – in a poll-related Maguindanao Massacre last Monday, I am recollecting the accounts of known brutal and senseless mass killings from my memory.
There are at least four massacre stories (excluding those turned into movies by Carlo J. Caparas) that I could remember well : the Escalante Massacre and the Mendiola Massacre. I’ve also read from history materials another group killings in the Philippines that gained international attention like the Jabidah Massacre happened in 1968 (which was, by the way, made into film by Jerry O. Tirazona in 1990, starring the late Anthony Alonzo). And another incident of disrespect for life and peace happened in Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro more than 6 years ago – the Talayob Massacre.
In brief, here are the stories : The Escalante Massacre was an incident on September 20, 1985 in Escalante City, Negros Occidental where Regional Special Action Force (RSAF) and the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF) gunned down civilians engaged in a protest-rally in commemoration of the 13th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. The crowd composed of sugar workers, farmers, fisher-folk, students, urban poor, professionals and church people staged a noise protest in the town center.
The Mendiola massacre, also called “Black Thursday” by some Filipino journalists, was an incident that took place in Mendiola Street, San Miguel, Manila, on January 22, 1987, in which state security forces violently dispersed a farmers' march on Malacañang Palace. Thirteen of the peasants were killed and many wounded when government anti-riot forces opened fire on the marchers. Some farmers from Occidental Mindoro belonging to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Philippine Peasants' Movement) or KMP were also wounded.
The Jabidah Massacre, also known as the Corregidor Massacre, refers to an incident which occurred on the night of March 18, 1968 on the Philippine island of Corregidor. It was on this night that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) massacred at least 28 Moro Muslim recruits under their supervision. The Jabidah Massacre is widely regarded as having been the catalyst behind the modern Moro insurgencies in the Southern Philippines.
Lest we forget the Talayob Massacre where entire Mangyan family was fired upon by army soldiers from the 16th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines last July 21, 2003 in So. Talayob, Brgy. Nicolas, Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro. The poor victims who died from the indiscriminate firing were Roger Blanco who expired on the way to the hospital, his wife Oliva, who was then eight-months pregnant and their two sons John Kevin, 3, and Dexter, 2.
All of the four incidents were perpetuated by armed state agents and justice was not rendered to the victims up to now. The whole Filipino people are appealing to concerned authorities to restore justice to the situation. The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in a Press Statement on Maguindanao Massacre issued November 24, 2009 signed by its president, Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, has this to say : “We join the appeal to rightful authorities to restore justice in the situation. We likewise appeal that the common good as well as respect for human life be uppermost in the campaign for political ends. May this painful situation be a strong reason for further pursuing the ongoing peace process in Mindanao.” In the four incidents, especially in Talayob Massacre, our justice system is totally cannot be depended on.
The massacre of about 50 + people in Sharik Aguak reminds us that political syndicates and warlords can take away innocent lives for a partisan political cause. Some quarters also blame AFP for these political warlords, according to them, were used by the military in their counter-terrorism campaigns in Mindanao. Some politicians elsewhere also coddle terrorists and rebels. Politicians as “tactical allies” of these armed non-state groups can now be classified as real terrorists by becoming indirect instigators of these senseless and brutal mass killings. Others say that the massacre is just part of the long time “rido” (clan wars) between the Ampatuans and Mangudadatus and it has nothing to do with the government, elections and ideological or religious groups but it cannot deny the fact the blood of the victims will forever haunt us as a nation.
Last July 5, 2009 in his talk on the Devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Christ addressed to the priests in his office, Benedict XVI said, “Dear brothers, it is written in Genesis that the blood of Abel, killed by his brother Cain, cried out to God from the earth (cf. 4:10). And, unfortunately, today as yesterday, this cry does not cease, since human blood continues to run because of violence, injustice and hatred. When will men learn that life is sacred and belongs to God alone? When will men understand that we are all brothers?”
Indeed, life is sacred and belongs to God alone. In the Bible, life is blood. God answers the taking of human life with the giving of the Blood of His Son. The Blood of Jesus pleads on behalf of all: those who are the victims of violence including massacres,- and even those who perpetrate it, that they may be converted and live.
For Jesus taught us : “Vengeance is mine”…
(Photo from ListOwn.Com : Maguindanao Massacre pictures)