Sunday, December 06, 2009

Silsilah Davao Gathering

Over 50 members of the Silsilah Davao gathered yesterday at the Samson Institute from 11 am to 5 pm today for our occasional get together. We shared the food that we brought (potluck), we had time for prayer and for sharing.

I was asked to share my reflections on the topic: the Role of Silsilah in the Dialogue for Peace.
Here is the gist of my talks which I delivered in Cebuano:

For the Muslims and Indigenous Peoples, Mindanao is their homeland. For Christians who settled in Mindanao, is the promised land. Yet often, Mindanao has become a No Man's Land. Through the years, armed conflict have erupted and many have suffered and died. There is a longing for peace among many of us.

Does Silsilah have a role in bringing about peace in Mindanao?

If our understanding of peace is the cessation of hostilities and coming up with a peace agreement between the government and the MILF, it would appear that Silsilah has little or no role in bringing about peace. We are just a small movement, we do not have any influence on the government and the MILF.

But peace is nore the the silencing of the guns. It is more than a piece of paper - a memorandum of agreement - signed by the government and the MILF.

There have been ceasefire in the past, peace agreements in the past - the Tripoli Agreement, the Peace Agreement between the MNLF and the Government, yet genuine and lasting peace has not been attained.

Genuine peace can only be attained when Christians, Muslims and Lumad learn to live in peace and harmony, as brothers and sisters and as friends, sharing the resources of Mindanao.

This requires dialogue at the grassroots level - a dialogue of life, a dialogue of faith, a dialogue of action (working together to address our common problems, bringing about development, justice and peace, and defending the environment).

This is what we in Silsilah are doing. We are just a small group, but we are planting the seeds that will grow and expand. We are showing to the world that dialogue is possible and this is the basis for a genuine and lasting peace.

No comments: