The words are from a friend activist-poet, Aida Santos.
On the way to Tacloban airport, she saw people awaiting the bodies of some SAF (Special Action Forces) who were killed in Mamapasano.
The words introduce three short poems she wrote.
The week-long national conversation about the killings in Mamapasano have been cacophonous. My work schedule did not allow me to join in, but also because I couldn’t find words that are superior to silence.
Cautionary words in prison
When I was in prison during the martial law years, fellow activist-prisoners from Mindanao expressed to me their criticism about “Imperial Manila.”
They said that Manila-based people, whether elite or ordinary citizens, including activists, tend to think we have the solutions to Mindanao issues, and that our intervention is always helpful and welcome.
Since then, I have followed this rule. I don’t go to Mindanao unless invited. And in judging events and issues in Mindanao, I give greater weight to Mindanao-based friends and kindred spirits.
Silence. Tears. Words.
When the news broke about the death of 44 SAF fighters (with little mention of MILF fighters killed, nor of civilians), there was understandable outrage, expressed publicly, targeting not just what happened but directed to those in authority.
At the same time, there were fears, also publicly expressed, that he emotions of the moment would be exploited by those who do not agree with the peace process and initial peace agreements that the government has signed with the MILF.
I wondered what public comment my friends from Balay Mindanaw would post.
Kaloy Manlupig chose the response we learned and liked from the recent visit of Pope Francis. How fast things change. The deaths in Mamapasano happened only 10 days after the Pope left..
Silence. Because realities are greater than our ideas.
Tears. Because eyes washed by tears see more clearly. But only after tears have dried. Tears cloud our eyes and hearts.
And difficult it may be, words. To help each other understand what is in our hearts and minds.
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