Saturday, March 08, 2003

Solving Armed Conflicts

It is true that there will always be those who will never be satisfied in any system; after all, you cannot please everybody.

But the fact that discontent has translated to armed struggle over a large part of the country means that a substantial portion of the populace finds things too oppressive for themselves not to take up arms.

It is no different from the way Bonifacio developed. He was originally for reforms; in fact he was one of the leading organizers of La Liga Filipina, but after seeing the reformist organization's leader Rizal arrested and exiled, he came to the conclusion that struggle without arms would come to nothing.

As John F. Kennedy said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."

With regard to the military solution to the insurgency, we have seen it applied many times--even if only in part--and it has amounted to nothing but sweeping violations of the rights of rural and indigenous communities. Yes, the militatry may unleash its full force, but there will always be armed rebels in any society where people are mostly treated like pigs. The military defeated the Huks with the surrender of Luis Taruc in 1954; but neocolonial domination, social injustice, and corruption in government remained. Fifteen years later the New People's Army was born.

In Sweden there are also political oppositionists, but there is no intense armed conflict like what the Philippines has. This is because conditions there are infinitely less oppressive than in the Philippines.

Of course there is always the possibility of solving the conflict through peaceful means.

But chances of it happening under the present administration are almost nil, with the way the government has been conducting itself in the peace talks. Let us look at how it has violated the ceasefire agreement in North Cotabato.

Under more rational leaders, like Guingona and Legarda, the peace talks have more than a fair chance.

Slightly revised version of a comment on Ederic@Cyberspace.

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