[Message. Pakighinabi: Promised Legacy of Ending Armed Struggles with Enduring Peace (PLEASE Peace!) 22 July 2021]
With Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmed Al Tayyeb, we at Ateneo de Davao University wholly accept “the culture of dialogue as the path, collaboration as the code of conduct, and mutual understanding as the method and standard.” This is different from the culture of hate-filled passive and active aggression, the culture of killing and terror, and the culture of demonization that eventually accompany conflict and war. It is different from the conviction that victory is possible only through the annihilation of the enemy, and that ultimate power comes through the barrel of a gun.
From this lens it is a blessing that at this pakighinabi representatives of the Government of the Philippines, of the Govt of the Ph Peace Panel, of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and presumably also of the BARMM, and of national and international peacemakers are present to take a step together towards dialogue hopefully eventually once again with the National Democratic Front, the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines and of the National People’s Army (NDF-CPP-NPA).
We all know that many attempts at achieving peace through dialogue were attempted in the past, and failed. But we must not tire of engaging one another in dialogue, especially as over time we tire of othering, hating, killing and damning one another for all eternity as our once shimmering goals pale and against the endlessness of it all. Those goals can emerge from the need to extirpate the heartlessness of capitalistic production through revolution, or to life-sacrificing determination to protect society from the godlessness of revolution. They can be amplified by the need to protect the people against a foreign invader, as happened in Central Luzon, or even the need to protect a nation against a dictator, as happened in Mindanao. They can be motivated by the most profound hopes for social justice and of the extirpation of the unjust, as they can be energized by the passionate desire to protect the freedom of the individual, the freedom to create and build up for him- or herself happiness and prosperity, no matter the suffering of laborers, of peasants and of those excluded from work.
At such a pakighinabi, we have opportunity to ask, “Hey, where are we, and what are we doing to one another?” What happened to the promises for humanity in your ideology or in mine? What happened to PRRD’s Promised Legacy of Ending Armed Struggles with Enduring Peace? What happened to PRRD’s promise to end corruption and to take to heart the welfare of the poor and the marginalized? We can talk about this in this Pakighinabi, which really sounds like a plea from deep within: Please, no more killing! Please no more violence! Please, peace!
And when we say, “Peace,” let’s please talk about what we mean. The peace that comes when state security uses its mailed fist to finally kill or subdue all the revolutionaries? Or the peace when the revolutionaries finally sieze state power to impose their will on all? Please, peace! Let’s talk peace, but as we talk peace, let’s continue to kill one another, so that you understand how seriously I demand peace! Does this make sense? How do we talk peace when there is so much cynicism, so much distrust, so much frustration…? In the Marxian dialectic, this must be the ultimate dialectical contradiction: when the revolutionary negation just no longer negates into the necessary realization of humane humanity, but is prolonged into an endlessness of negativity. It is not just that the revolution is invalidated, but the whole dialectic, the whole conceptual ideal that they call materialism. But if this is so, where is the hope for the excluded and discarded as the technical paradigm that we set into motion in our endless consumerism kills our people and kills our planet?
So, thank you for your participation in this afternoon’s conversation. Whether you represent Government representing the people or the CPP representing the people or the international peace-keeping groups representing the people, in the name of humanity, in the name of God, PLEASE, peace!