An Open Letter from the Moro Comrades
On the Allegations Re US Intervention
Implying that the US intervened in the crafting of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain is one thing, but accusing the Bangsamoro, particularly the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of collusion with the US and the Arroyo administration to serve the interests of both is another thing. It is unbelievable how a letter and a US report can be enough to discredit the Bangsamoro, totally disregarding our own dark history and current resistance against the United States not only as Moros of this country, but more so as Muslims of the world.
The insult is even more excruciating with this accusation coming from comrades in the progressive movement, and especially with these comrades arriving at this analysis without any attempt to hear our side. Our opinion may not be as highly intellectual as yours, our analysis not as scientific, our political consciousness not at par. But in the spirit of democracy for which we fought along with you once upon a time, we think we deserve to be heard even if our basis is merely common sense.
First Point. As part of this political spectrum, we have always been assured of and thereby honestly believed in the block’s recognition of the Bangsamoro Struggle for Right to Self-Determination. However, raising the issues of constitutionality and national sovereignty leaves us wondering if all these time, RSD has only been a beautiful, empty slogan for you. Doesn’t the line “BJE is treason” sound familiar? Isn’t this the very same line of the very same exploitative and oppressive system you rise up against? For a non-Moro to say that the BJE is a betrayal of the legitimate interests and aspirations (of the Bangsamoro…since this is the currently proposed concrete form of RSD for the Moro people) is to echo the very chauvinism of the very bourgeoisie that you abhor, who looks down upon the Moro people as a stupid bunch, inept to run our own affairs, who must swallow your analysis of things that you shove down our throats, undeserving of the right to make decisions for ourselves. Is this your definition of RSD? We have long accepted the fact that there is indeed no hope for the Bangsamoro with this administration. The earlier discourse on the MOA-AD made us realize that we have no hope with the opposition either. Now, we are again faced with the realization that there is also no hope for us with the so-called progressives, not even with our own comrades. And so far, this is what hurt most.
Second Point. The infamous letter of the late MILF Chair Hashim Salamat to US President Bush in 2003, and the USIP Report released in February of this year, may be enough to cast shadows of doubt. But if we are for an impartial, responsible analysis, other truths and realities should have been considered.
Foremost, an MILF insider clarified that said letter was in response to the branding of the MILF as a terrorist group. It was written purposely to contend the allegation and not for the purpose of asking America’s help. In Chairman Salamat’s letter to President Bush he asks him to "use your good office in rectifying the error that continues to negate and derogate the Bangsamoro People's fundamental right to seek decolonization..”. This has been criticized as ‘selling out’ to US interests. But let us not forget it is the United States that started all this by illegally annexing the Bangsamoro Homeland to the Philippines when it granted the latter Independence in 1898. This mess is their creation, they have the responsibility to help clean it up. This is what the letter could be alluding to.
Nonetheless, the Bangsamoro has always distanced itself from the US, allying solely with other Islamic countries. It has not even relied much on the United Nations, knowing US influence on the body. Anti-US resentment among the Moro people stems not just from ideological differences but from a deeper, faith-based antipathy. Many Muslims believe that after the fall of Communism, Islam is now the greatest enemy of America who only has two policies for the Muslims worldwide, assimilation or annihilation. A collusion with them for the Muslims is tantamount not only to sleeping with the enemy but to sleeping with death itself. Have you forgotten that it is the Moro people that is the subject of the anti-terror policy of the US in the Philippines?
Earlier this year, the Moro people, including Muslim leaders, congressmen, governors, mayors, in Sulu, Lanao and other parts of Mindanao launched massive protest actions against the Balikatan Exercises, with the Moro youth, mostly from the MILF, throwing tomatoes at American soldiers, amidst harassments and persecution. If there are Americans in the Bangsamoro homeland now, that is because of the imposition of the National Government and against the will of the Moro people.
If we receive the extended hand of US, it is only in obedience to the Islamic teaching to be just even to those we do not like. But we have not forgotten that US hands are red with our ancestors’ blood. One hundred years after the Bud Daho Massacre, where almost a thousand of our people, including elders, women and children were helplessly killed, we still commemorate the tragedy every single year, so that we, and those who will come after us will not forget. How dare you now accuse us of selling our homeland, our people, our future, when no amount of billion dollars is enough to pay even for our past?
If America is poised to be the protector of our territory, well thanks, but no thanks. Did you honestly believe that we will allow that? You did not even bother to ask. No less than the USIP report, the instrument you now revere to contain the truth said, “Some Moro and non-Moro leaders and civil society activists assumed that USIP was a Central Intelligence Agency front organization whose true objective was to infiltrate the MILF...,” The report may have claimed that USIP overcame this assumption, but is this enough to judge us? Attendance or participation in their consultations cannot be construed as allegiance with them. Allow us to reiterate that the liberation movement of the Bangsamoro never relied on US intervention. How can it now, in the final stages of the process, just give it to US in a silver platter? And what, just abandon Malaysia, and the Organization of Islamic Countries, which has already given so much and proven their commitment to the cause? Political dynamics between Malaysia and US will tell us that Malaysia will never concur or give in to US dictate.
As for GMA’s Charter Change, we condemn the use of our legitimate struggle to serve her and her cohorts’ interests. We push for the MOA-AD because it contains general principles recognizing Bangsamoro RSD but we say No to Charter Change. We stand by our belief that there is nothing in the MOA-AD which requires Constitutional amendment before 2010. No less than Fr. Joaquin Bernas said so, many times. Fr. Bernas used to be an authority on matters of the Constitution, his opinion sought after in our past debates with this administration. How come these days, on this issue involving the same Constitution, everyone has become expert Constitutionalists, except Fr. Bernas?
Anyway even if we are against GMA’s cha-cha, why should we limit ourselves to the framework of the current constitution? The progressive movement has never limited the struggle to the constitutional framework and has in fact adopted strategies which lie outside the framework of the constitution.
Comrades, we were one with you in the fight to kick out the US from this country. We were one with you in the struggle to kick out GMA. We do not expect you to be one with us on this, we just did not expect that on the slightest provocation of a US report, you will turn against us in this manner and kick us out.