Silsilah Reflection on the November 23 massacre

There is no need to mention the details, but this reflection is to join many in the world who have expressed indignation and pain over the Maguindanao Massacre of November 23. This day will mark forever a dark day in the history of   Mindanao.

For those like us in Silsilah  who have  been  working hard for many  years to promote dialogue  and peace  among people of different  cultures and religions  this massacre  raises  the question “Why does hatred  still prevail  over love and  reconciliation?”   What happened on Nov. 23 was clearly a fight between clans from the same cultural background and the same religion.  But new questions can be raised:  “How have they reached this level of atrocity?  Who have supported them during these years to reach this point?” If we  correctly  answer  these questions  we can identify powerful leaders among Christians and among Muslims  who  are responsible  building this “culture of violence”  for their own interest. Thus,  the next question can be “What happened with the  message  of love  that Christianity and Islam promote in the world?… and why does the  greed for power make  some people so blind  as to reach  the point of violence  that  happened  in Mindanao on Nov. 23?”.
We, the  members of Silsilah, a Movement  of dialogue and peace  composed  of  Christians and Muslims,   cannot say  that those who directly or indirectly are behind  this massacre are  not Christians  nor Muslims. We cannot deny this reality, and we feel bad. They are accountable before God and   society, and we are the ones again challenged to do more to promote dialogue, peace and reconciliation. We appeal to the many friends who work for dialogue and peace not to get discouraged if a number of our leaders today proclaim their commitment for “peace” but are behind war and violence. We have to go on with our mission of dialogue and peace. We have to encourage especially our youth to move together and put   God at the center of their life and to be faithful to the moral values of their religion and work together  for the common good.

We appeal  especially to the youth  who are forced by  cultural practices  of revenge  to reject everything bad  in their cultures  and  believe  that in  the  future, sooner rather than later,  peace is possible  if we respect and love each other.
We hope and pray that no more massacre and violence will happen in our beautiful land of Mindanao and   learn from our families, schools, religions and society beautiful stories of love and reconciliation. It is not too late, but we have to start now and form our personal commitment to find the determination to build together a culture of dialogue, path to peace.
In the Philippines Mindanao was known for a long time as the “land of promise”. Events and happenings in Mindanao in the very recent past have made a mockery of this appellation. May it be in our time that the real promise of Mindanao comes to be.

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