The Price of Peace

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Now, in a previous article, I’ve already mentioned that peace wasn’t exactly easy back in the day. For instance, before the turn of the 20th century when the World Wars and the Cold War with its “mini-wars” showed the world just how terrible war was, war was generally glorified and encouraged. To have taken part in any kind of war back then was something to be proud of and just about every male in the family will probably have put some time in the military even if it’s just a simple deskjob or just minor training on how to handle a firearm.

In the ancient days, things were even worse with every male in a country required to be part of a standing army as life was expected to be quite turbulent back then. You would be very lucky in those days if you never once saw an invasion of barbarians or bandits ransacking your beloved home village. Indeed, as already mentioned, the Greeks saw the idea of safety as simply being not in any immediate danger. So you were technically safe even if the local king or warlord was starving your family as long as there weren’t any bandits around to set fire to your home and slaughter your children. Try comparing how they lived and died to the way we live in this day and age.

Arrival honors for fallen SAF police officers at the Villamor Air Base(Source: Philippine Air Force)
Arrival honors for fallen SAF police officers at the Villamor Air Base
(Source: Philippine Air Force)
Now that you know that, is it really any surprise that peace can be so difficult for some countries? First off, if you’ll notice, feudal societies are all too often easy prey for petty conflicts as their leaders are often competing (often through violence and fear) for territory and dominance. Now, when you stop to think just how similar our politics work to the way that the feudal system works (you know, leadership positions being hereditary and nobles had the divine right to rule), you begin to see why the Philippines and its citizens seems to be trapped in an unending cycle of corruption, poverty and violence.

For there to be true peace for a country, there are facts to think about. Peace isn’t easy and it often comes at a heavy price. While the media and a lot of pro peace talk people might claim otherwise, appeasement isn’t always the answer to conflicts either just as violence isn’t the right solution for all problems. Before World War II became the horrific war it is remembered as today, it can be noted that there were always those who thought they could bargain with the Axis Powers. There were actually those who thought that the Nazis, the Italian Fascists and Imperial Japan would keep their ends of the bargain if people chose to negotiate with and appease them. Unfortunately, we all know how those “peace talks” ended.

Achieving Peace is Hard

I’m not saying that peace for Mindanao is impossible. I’m just saying that if we really want to go about it, then we have to be willing to make sacrifices. And no, it won’t be just some people who’ll be making sacrifices. Everyone will have to make sacrifices in order to finally bring the bloody conflicts of the south to an end. It doesn’t just involve the military and the rebels, it must also include the cooperation of civilians in Mindanao, strong participation of the Philippine government (which means they must make sacrifices too) and even the passive support of bystanders like you and me.

It may be difficult, but if we really want lasting peace with minimal bloodshed, we must first root out the problem in our own society before we can proceed to clean up the mess we’ve made. It has to start with throwing out the old methods that have repeatedly failed and exploded in our faces.

Also, everyone must play a part if we ever want to rid ourselves of our petty conflicts. There must be no exceptions because that will only allow bitterness to fester in our society and sabotage any future arrangements for peace.

Peace Begins with Tolerance

If we’re really interested in making any kind of peace, we first have to establish simple boundaries. What is tolerable and what is not tolerable. It’s like playing a game with rules but with dead serious consequences. If you want to play the game, then you have to play by the rules.

If you don’t like the rules, then go play another game. It’s really that simple. By refusing to play by the rules, it just goes to show that you aren’t really interested in playing at all.

So yes, if we’re going to reach any kind of concession, we must first be willing to put aside our anger and petty emotions and focus on the task at hand.

Consider that Peace Might Not Work

While we don’t really want pointless bloodshed, we have to be prepared for the possibility that things can still go pear-shaped in spite of all our efforts. In life, one can never be too sure about one’s choices and while positive thinking does allow you to be more confident in your actions, it doesn’t always ensure positive outcomes.

I want the peace talks to succeed (if it’s even possible at all) but we also need to consider that perhaps the rebels aren’t interested in any fair deal we have to offer them. While peace is good and that we must work toward it, we can never be too sure that the opposing party might not be willing to cooperate with us at all.

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7 Comments on “The Price of Peace”

  1. Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.

    1. If Spain and the U.S., in spite of their superiority in men and arms, never succeeded to integrate the Muslim population of Mindanao during their occupation, how could it be possible for the Philippines to win against them? Eventually, there will always be tension and conflict between the separatists and the authorities until they obtain their independence.

      Just look at the case of Sabah, which should have been part of the Philippines as a heritage of the Sultan of Sulu but through the wish of the Sabahans chose to join the Malaysian Federation in 1963 instead of the Philippines. In the course of its history, it has never known any internal conflicts ever since except in 2013 when Sultan Kiram III staged a standoff to make a claim on Sabah that only ended tragically to the death of a number of his followers and the locals.

      Taking into account that there had never been any massacre in Sabah, why not grant the Muslims of Bangsamoro the right to self-government so that unnecessary killings in the future would cease completely?

      The 2013 Lahad Datu standoff was a military conflict standoff that started on 11 February 2013 and ended on 24 March 2013, it arose after 235 militants, some of whom were armed, arrived by boats in Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia from Simunul island, Tawi-Tawi in the southern Philippines on 11 February 2013. The group, calling themselves the “Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo”, was sent by Jamalul Kiram III, one of the claimants to the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu. Kiram stated that their objective was to assert the unresolved territorial claim of the Philippines to eastern Sabah (the former North Borneo). Malaysian security forces surrounded the village of Tanduo in Lahad Datu where the group had gathered and after several weeks of negotiations and broken deadlines for the intruders to withdraw, security forces moved in and routed the Sulu militants.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Lahad_Datu_standoff

      1. Taking into account that there had never been any massacre in Sabah, why not grant the Muslims of Bangsamoro the right to self-government so that unnecessary killings in the future would cease completely?
        ========
        The right to self government has already been granted under the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

  2. Peace without strength is no Peace. If your enemies know, you are strong. He will think twice, before he mess with you. Appeasement for the price of Peace, will never work.

    This is not the first time that Filipino soldiers/Police were murdered by the MILF. They know that Aquino is not willing to fight, and is a weak President. So, they go on killing soldiers and police…And for Aquino, the lives of these soldiers and police does not matter to him…Wake Up Philippines, these traitors are ruling you…

  3. In the untimely loss of your noble son, our affliction here, is scarcely less than your own. So much of promised usefulness to one’s country, and of bright hopes for one’s self and friends, have rarely been so suddenly dashed, as in his fall.

  4. Let me first apologize to the writer of the article for what I’m about to say on the part that I think needs some elaboration to avoid any misinterpretation. And I said that because I’m aware that the writer is a prolific one and I have been a regular poster on his outputs. Here goes.

    Reading the piece I noticed the absence of concrete and clear picture of what the writer was suggesting. Lines such as, ‘establish simple boundaries’, ‘play by the rules’, ‘we have to be willing to make sacrifices’, etc. are just some expressions that I found to have been left hanging for the readers to ponder. I mean, those are not really novel terms about the subject matter, hence, I was thinking there may be some surprises backing up those overused words that will show the old picture from the new angle. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

    However, I’m on the same page with the writer on the issue of the possibility that peace might not work. Given the time and the resources that has been given on the problem of autonomy, the on-going negotiation and the usual setbacks that accompanies it indicates to me that we are just gliding along and not really in control of the situation.

    This is what I can say, if the peace we’re trying to achieve is a 50-50 kind of peace, meaning both sides will have equal say and equal influence, etc., I don’t think peace, genuine peace is even possible in the next 10 years. 🙁

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