User Preferences

  • Language - en | ga
  • text size >>
  • make this your indymedia front page make this your indymedia front page

Blog Feeds

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Kenny says boo – Varadkar and Coveney run away

offsite link Kenny says boo – Varadkar Coveney run away Anthony

offsite link Fergus Finlay: Hypocrite Anthony

offsite link Season’s greetings Anthony

offsite link RTEs Mary Wilson: A woman with some brain… Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2017/02/23 ? Open Thread Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:30 | Herb Swanson
2017/02/23 10:30:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link What does Russia produce? 1 Thu Feb 23, 2017 05:27 | Scott
Past September, a retired  Major General of the Czech army Hynek Bla?ko in one of his regular interviews to the newspaper Parlamentní listy commented on a possibility of a conflict

offsite link American Fascists Co-Opt Trump Protests Hiding Inside Civil Rights Movement Thu Feb 23, 2017 03:26 | The Saker
by GH Eliason Over the last couple of years I’ve written volumes on fascists making inroads into American politics and civil life. With civil and human rights it starts with

offsite link Syrian War Report ? February 22, 2017: Syrian Army Aims ISIS Stronghold Of Deir Hafer Wed Feb 22, 2017 22:41 | Scott
Syrian War Report ? February 22, 2017: Syrian Army Aims ISIS Stronghold Of Deir Hafer     On February 21, the Syrian army?s Tiger Forces, supported by Russian warplanes, liberated

offsite link Syrian War Report ? February 20, 2017: Turkey Further Pushes Its Plan For Raqqah Offensive Wed Feb 22, 2017 22:36 | Scott
Syrian War Report ? February 20, 2017: Turkey Further Pushes Its Plan For Raqqah Offensive     Pro-Turkish militants and the Turkish army have still been facing difficulties in breaking

The Saker >>

Human Rights in Ireland
www.humanrights.ie

offsite link Hague Justice Journal: Call for Papers Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:13 | GuestPost

offsite link Reflections on the Citizen?s Assembly (3): The Presentation of Dr. Joan McCarthy Tue Feb 14, 2017 14:01 | GuestPost

offsite link Reflections on the Citizens Assembly (2): The Presentation of Bobbie Farsides Tue Feb 07, 2017 05:44 | GuestPost

offsite link Languishing in Direct Provision: Rights in ?Reasonable? and ?Unreasonable? Times Mon Feb 06, 2017 18:10 | Liam Thornton

offsite link The Story of King Tex: A Modern Allegory Fri Feb 03, 2017 06:20 | GuestPost

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link Unequal relationships 11:46 Thu Feb 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Men of the people? 10:28 Thu Feb 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Signs of Hope ? A continuing series, Week 8, February 2017 10:10 Thu Feb 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Vague 08:28 Thu Feb 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link The struggle of the age 07:58 Thu Feb 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

PHILIPPINES: The Emotional Calculus of Armed Conflict

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Friday December 07, 2012 03:30author by Jurgette Honculada Report this post to the editors

HOW DO I TREAT THEE? Let me count the ways. Statistics from the AFP-PNP over a 33-year period (1978-2010) report an aggregate of 29,553 fatalities in the ongoing conflict between GPH and the CPP-NPA categorized thus: 13,412 Communists (45%), 8,264 military and police (28%) and 7,877 civilians (21%). This further translates into 80 deaths daily for the period: 36 Communists, 23 soldiers and police, and 21 civilians.

CPP NPA
CPP NPA

When the GPH and CPP-NPA-NDF peace panels met in June in Oslo to declog a peace process mired in a contrapuntal word and ground war, both sides raised their bills of particulars. The CPP-NPA-NDF listed over half a dozen issues pertaining to safety and immunity guarantees for their consultants (JASIG), bilateral agreements, the release of political prisoners, terrorist listing of the CPP-NPA and Jose Ma. Sison, and indemnification of human rights victims. (These issues have been, and will be, addressed elsewhere.)

The GPH panel focused on a demand to “lower the level of violence on the ground”, with particular reference to the use of land mines and child soldiers by the NPA.

“There is no meeting of the minds there” Satur Ocampo wrote in his Philippine Star column on Sept. 1, 2012. NDF chair Luis Jalandoni echoed this sentiment when he said, in a forum also on the same day, that peace talks must not be reduced to mere ceasefire negotiations.

For GPH, the issues of child soldiers and land mines are not marginal or peripheral to peace negotiations. Children, in the barest sense, are our future; when we imperil them we risk our future. International humanitarian law and Philippine law prohibit the use of child soldiers, a practice staunchly denied by the CPP-NPA but belied by regular news reports, among the latest, that on a 17-year old (recruited when he was 13) among NPA casualties in an Aug. 31, 2012 Davao encounter.

The CPP-NPA-NDF takes pains to point out that the NPA uses “command-detonated” land mines (as against “pressure-activated” ones which kill anyone) whose use is allowed by international conventions. But land mines do not always obey instructions, time and again killing and maiming hapless civilians, (Recently a grenade targeted at a military site landed on merry making barangay folk in a Davao perya or fair in Paquibato district, injuring 47; the NPA has belatedly owned up to the deed.)

Unlearning war must begin here and now, not who knows when, or with the inking of the final pact. Violence has taken too high a toll on our families and villages and communities, rending them asunder. In the poem Brave Woman by Grace Monte de Ramos, a village woman (perhaps widow?) soliloquizes about her two sons, unschooled and unskilled, joining the army “when they were young”; and her third and youngest son, abducted at 17--by soldiers or rebels? She cannot say. As she seeks his bones, she laments that perhaps her older sons have “given other mothers sorrow … Perhaps my (youngest) son had to pay for what they borrowed.’

And violence has taken too high a toll on our psyches, most especially those who have come within arm’s length of it. The former pastor of a campus Protestant church was one of three children in the 70s serving the NPA as errand boys. His peasant father jailed by the military, his mother in the US to earn money somehow, he had to survive by his wits, thus ending up with the NPA in Isabela, his home province. Decades later, by dint of hard work, struggle and sacrifice, and luck, he became a pastor, as did one of his fellow errand boys. The third took his own life.

The inner wounds inflicted by violence take a lifetime (and amazing grace) to heal. The inner demons one cannot always slay. King Badouin I of Belgium has said, “Youth is the first victim of war; the first fruit of peace. It takes 20 years or more of peace to make a man; it takes only 20 seconds of war to destroy him”.

This is where GPH is coming from. This is the emotional calculus that compels the GPH panel to raise the issues of land mines and child soldiers and press for reduced levels of violence during negotiations. These do not negate the GPH’s commitment to socio-economic-political reforms. For GPH, seeking peace in the here-and-now is a foretaste or token of the just and enduring peace that we all want. Muting the gunfire during peace talks, keeping children and civilians out of harm’s way, will mean one life, or two or three or more saved, and that will have been worth it.

American peace mentor John Paul Lederach once said, when we choose gunfire as the modality by which we communicate, it becomes difficult to go back to words.

Herein lies the challenge: of finding a common ground, of finding the right words to cut through the crap and the gunfire, of matching word with deed, resolve with will, of restoring integrity to words so that we do not engage in wordplay (and verbal sleight-of-hand) but mean what we say and say what we mean, of unlearning war in order to wage peace. :-(

The author is a member of the Philippine peace panel negotiating with the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People's Army and the National Democratic Front.

Philippines - Child Soldiers (CPP-NPA)
Philippines - Child Soldiers (CPP-NPA)

MILF
MILF

author by Mike Novackpublication date Fri Dec 07, 2012 17:48Report this post to the editors

33 years x 365 days/year = 12045 days so 29,553 deaths would be more like 2.5 per day, not 80 per day.

Please, I am NOT meaning this to be interpreted as 2.5 deaths per day not being bad. But we do our causes no good at all by such carelessness. Once people see something like that they tend to disregard whatever you say as possibly being in error.

Note --- I did not start by doing the math. Jumped right out at me as a THAT can't be right (80 is close to 100 so the ballpark for ONE year would be ~30,000 were it 80/day).

 
© 2001-2017 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy