Friday, February 13, 2015

The Test for Peace

"Peace cannot be kept by force, it can be only achieved by understanding."
- Albert Einstein

Last night just before I went to sleep my thoughts again went into the issues happening back home. We were all euphoric when Pope Francis visited the Philippines and everything was calm after that. Slowly things went bank to normal, but everyone was still in cloud 9, happy to have felt loved by Pope Francis. Our faith re-energized, putting everyone on a positive mood.

And then, BAM! We all faced the bad news about the murder of 44 special action force policemen.

Our faith shredded once again.

The peace that had settled in after the Pope's visit burst like a bubble and reality set in. There was noise, a lot of noise after the news broke. Finger pointing. Accusations left and right. We were all looking for someone to blame. Facts are being revealed really slowly.

I remember a team building exercise we had to do a few months back. Our team is composed mostly of A personality people and meetings would run to no end because each person had an idea and always had to speak. My boss would complain that I never really shared my thoughts. I didn't because I wanted to listen and not jump in the foray.

So we failed the first run of our team exercise because we didn't communicate well. There were so many cooks in the pot. There was some physical requirements in the activity I couldn't participate in so I stood back most of the time and just helped where I could. Instructions were given left and right by different people. There was a lot of great ideas on how to finish the task, but there was no process to identify the right way. During our debriefing I shared that the biggest problem was everyone wanted to lead, wanted to share their ideas, but no one wanted to listen and follow just one leader. We did the same exercise again after the debriefing and exceeded our targets. After that day we became a much better team and we became a family.

Being away from home I just get my news online. I sometimes watch TV Patrol on TFC, but I read mostly. I see a similar problem as what our team had. Investigations are happening left and right and I'm not even going to point out anymore what our politicians have been doing since I'd like to believe that everyone involved has the objective to bring justice and peace.

I think this is a test of peace for us. Our generation is very lucky because we did not see war. My parents did and my Dad used to tell us the story of how they escaped Lucban during the war. How they had to flee in the middle of the night so they would go undetected by the Japanese. How they had to go by sea hiding between war ships to go to Mindanao to stay away from the war. My Mom, on the other hand, shared how they had to move places everytime my grandfather (then in the Philippine Army) was re-assigned. They didn't have the freedom to move around like we do back then and they had to endure the time when Papa Lolo had to go through the death march in Bataan.

We recently commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Manila and after watching the documentary I realized that our parents had to endure a lot to be liberated, to have peace. The Battle of Manila lasted from February 3 to March 3, 1945. A month long battle where forces started to march from Pangasinan to fight to free our people. One hundred thousand men, women and children died and Manila was left in a rubble. The anniversary comes at a good time where we should remember that war is never a solution.

That was the process that our forefathers had to go through to attain liberation and peace in 1945. And what is happening today is the test we have to go through to attain peace. There is a lot of issues. A lot of things to work out. Justice to be served. Peace to be attained. I hope there would be a way where we can all take a step back, assess the situation and steer towards the process for peace.

I really pray that the Mindanao peace process will work out and that justice will be given to our brave SAF policemen who sacrificed their lives so that others will not suffer.