'If you were in our shoes'
This editorial originally appeared on the MILF website luwaran.com.
If you were in the shoes of the MILF, what will you do at that precise moment of uncertainty and tense situation? Already there was fierce firefight in not a distant village; and it was 4:00am, the darkest part of the night. Would anyone in his right mind consider armed intruders, whom they never expected, as still friends?
Instinctively, the law of the hour was to shoot or be shot at or kill or be killed. Who fired first is a “chicken and egg” question. It is not material to determine who is guilty simply because he made the first shot, after which hell broke loose! The MILF and the Police commandos literally bumped each other, so that the distance separating them, according to one account, was barely four or five meters apart. Without doubt, the villain, as we said in previous editorial, was the lack of coordination by the SAF-PNP commander.
The MILF has very little way to contain the onslaught of emotions and fit of rage. Prejudice, hatred, and biases earned for centuries had their opening which the oligarchic Machiavellian schemers, using the media as willing tool, seized to advance their demonic agenda. Gutter politics is also clearly at play here. Consequently, the casualties are the MILF and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. President Benigno Aquino III is not spared either. In fact, if one analyzes closely how media spinners calibrate their attacks, the target is clearly the President.
As a result of the death of 44 SAF-PNP, the MILF has been cursed, blamed, and condemned. The MILF became the punching bag, as if it has no right to defend itself even at the throes of annihilation. Some media people described their deaths as a massacre; others called the close encounter as ambush.
Truth is that the MILF had never anticipated nor ever thought of fighting any government forces that fateful dawn of January 25; more so now that the BBL is already up for passage in Congress. Imagine that since 2012 there have been zero encounters between MILF and government forces, thanks to the strict observance of the ceasefire agreement!
However, for those who called for all-out war against the MILF, would it be better that the first bloody firefight would take place in his house or backyard, so that he or she would be able to understand and taste the horrors of war. War is like the negotiation of the MILF with the government. Those who never tasted the hardships and sacrifices during the four decades of struggle -- many of them are working in government -- were the ones most radical or rigid in their views on issues in the peace talks. Similarly, those who never tasted war, except in reel life, are those who frequently called for war as a solution to the armed conflict in Mindanao.