Al-Barka Incident: Can We Just please, be Fair?
The recent incident that took place in Basilan last October 18, 2011 is not a new issue to all of us. It had happened again and again before, and it can always happen again next time. Unless something (and this something is actually a load of things) is changed. Something must be changed, and someone must do it (and that someone is not just one man).
Certainly, I was more disgusted by how the media portrayed the news to the common people. It was so much polarized, biased, misleading and a lot of twitched information was presented that made the people more confused than satisfied. And as how I expected it to be, the people are now divided. Those who were tricked and had fallen into the trap believed that proclaiming all-out-war is the solution. And those who knew what happened, were vigilant in voicing out what they know. Yet they were overpowered by the massive influence of media and they were outnumbered. Only a few would hear them. And a lot fewer would believe them.
Then a lot of side-dishes of bombing incidents, kidnappings and an assassination of a priest occurred within 10 days after the incident. And without even investigating or scrutinizing these separate incidents, they (the media) all tied it up to the Al-Barka Incident. Which I believe is unfair on the part of the Muslim groups and misleading the people.
In effect, what came out to be the opinion of the masses nowadays—I read them in Facebook, Yahoo news, and other online forums—are “They (the Muslim secessionist) must be eliminated, BECAUSE they killed 19 AFP soldiers in the Al-Barka Incident”, “All-out-war is the only solution!”, and I would quote one online comment “Please President, just this time: ‘No Man’s Island! (He’s referring to the burning of Jolo in Martial law which made Jolo the ‘No man’s land’. He wanted the President to do the same). I know this is not the real stand of all the people out there, but this is just a manifestation of how most of these people misunderstood the situation. This is just how ignorant (and arrogant) they are regarding what is the real issue on the questions:
- What really happened in the incident? Who started it? And who must be blamed?
- Is there really a necessity—leave alone the reasonability—of waging war among these groups?
- When an All-out-war would happen, who would suffer most?
- Would you be affected, one way or the other, when a war in Basilan would happen, just as what happened before?
If your answer for the last question is “Yes”, then you know which one is better.
And if you say “No, I am far away anyway” or “No, it’s not my family anyway” or “No, who cares about them?” Then I would be brutally frank with you: You are a worthless person, you know nothing so just please shut up.
A lot of comments under certain news regarding the issue would say: “War! War! War!” And only a few were fighting for the other side: “Peace! Peace! Peace!” This is just one sad thing about us. Only a few now really fights for this cause. It is in this juncture, that I am challenging every single peace advocates—especially the Muslims—out there to maximize our efforts to spread the message of peace. And to eradicate misconceptions that are now fogging the minds of those people. It’s a hard game. But with Allah’s help, Insha’Allah we can still do it.
If they claim that Muslims know nothing but hold guns, then let us show them that we hold pens, papers and microphones as well. If they say that all Muslims are all war-freaks, remind them that they are the ones who are requesting for war. Yes Muslims fight and would defend his rights with his own life. But a real Muslim never starts a war without justified reasons. We defend ourselves for the sake of Allah, our religion Islam, and our family and community. Weonly fight when people are already oppressing us, treating us unfairly, seeing us as animals and not humans (Naudhubillah!). We must persevere, make Sabr and we must be fair at all times.
As our Merciful Allah said in His Qur'an "InnaAllaha laa yughayyiru bi qaumin hattaa yughaiyyiru maa bianfusihim..." "Verily, Allah will not change (the state) of a community, unless they themselves (strive to) change their state."
Let us all be fair.
As much as I wanted to make this post simple and plain, I would never wanted to be driven by my emotions. If I would claim that all Filipinos (esp those far away from us) are UNFAIR, I would be misjudging those people who might be on our side, too. I would be including even those innocent people who know nothing in the blame. I know I am angry with what other people are doing, and how other people think. But it must not be—and would never be—a reason for me to give unfair judgment.
If I say “All Filipinos are stupid, selfish and insensitive people”, then how different would I be with those who say “All Moros are killers and Terrorists.”
Tell me if I am wrong. And I will certainly give you a fair debate about it.