Jabidah Massacre: Time for transitional justice

Today, we commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the Jabidah Massacre. We may not know all their names, but they deserve to be honored and remembered.

Over the past decades, we rallied fervently to have the injustices committed against our people be acknowledged, we fought hard to achieve a greater autonomy, to be given a chance at peace, and to aspire for our inherent self-determination—for this Bangsamoro Government.

As one of the many transgressions committed against the Bangsamoro, the Jabidah Massacre remains to be one of the large-scale human rights abuses that afflicted our people which subsequently led the Bangsamoro cause.

As members of the interim parliament, as one Bangsamoro, it is imperative that we take every step to ensure that NEVER AGAIN we have to see its likes again and bring these stories into the forefront of public consciousness. One of the measures that we have taken is the passage of a resolution on Jabidah Massacre last February 19, 2020, entitled, Resolution Requiring All Ministries and Offices Including Schools to Initiate and Develop Comprehensive Policies, Programs and Activities in Commemoration of the Anniversary of Jabidah Massacre as a Transitional Justice Mechanism.

It is only befitting to let the children of today be fully aware of the things that happened leading to the establishment of the Bangsamoro government. They will not understand and fully grasp the story behind the Bangsamoro Struggle unless we tell them the story ourselves. In this age of spin and misinformation, we must rise above the lies and propaganda to make sure our history will not be erased or twisted, and our people be misled. The grievances of our people are beyond the political dichotomy that divides this country.
We do not succumb to history revisionism, today and in the future.

They say, “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Dealing with transitional justice is dealing with a legacy of a dark past. Painful as it is to remember, but it needs redress to heal.

We should act on implementing the transitional justice mechanisms, the first basic right under RA 11504.

Section 1, Article 9 of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, provides that the Bangsamoro Parliament shall enact a transitional justice mechanism to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people and the indigenous peoples, such as historical injustices, human rights violations, and marginalization.

As a framework for sustainable peace and conflict transformation, transitional justice is anchored on four mechanisms that primarily addresses the needs of victims: citizens’ right to know, right to justice, right to reparation and right to be given assurance that atrocities in the past will not recur anymore (guarantee of nonrecurrence).

Contrary to what others might think, the process of nation building does not abandon the horrors of the past, instead it recognizes its own place in the Bangsamoro narrative. This is not only a mere commitment of the Bangsamoro Government but a mandate as well, to achieve a justice framework actively addressing the legitimate grievances of the people.

We recognize the changes that need to be done, we work on to develop systems and policies to uplift and improve the state of our bangsa, and transitional justice framework is one step in creating conditions for a durable and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro. We have risen above the brutal and pointless violence already. Now we work to rehabilitate and rebuild our nation. Easy said than done, but we can never move forward if we do not take the first step.

And whilst doing so, we must remember. Never forget. Never again.

*This article was originally published in MP Mitmug’s Official Facebook Page on March 18, 2020.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS

A young man saw his primary school teacher on a wedding.
He went to greet him with all the respect and admiration.

He said to him:
“Do you remember me, Teacher?”

The teacher said:
“No, introduce yourself.”

The student said:
“I was your student in the 3rd Grade, I am the one who stole the watch of a child in the classroom. I will remind you but I am sure you remember the story.”

One of the boys in my class had a beautiful watch, so I decided to steal it.
He came to you crying that someone had stolen his watch.
You asked us to stand so as to search our pockets.
I realized that my action would be exposed in front of the Students and Teachers.
I will be called a thief, a liar and my character will be shattered forever.

You asked us to stand and face the wall and close our eyes completely.
You went searching from pocket to pocket, and when you reached my pocket you pulled the watch out of my pocket, and you continued until you searched the last student.

After you finished you asked us to open our eyes and to sit on our chairs.
I was afraid you will expose me in front of the students.

You showed the watch to the class, and gave it back to the boy, and you never mentioned the name of the one who stole the watch.
You never said a word to me, and you never mentioned the story to anyone.

Throughout my school life, none of the teachers nor the students talked about me stealing the watch.
I thought to myself you saved my dignity that day.

Do you remember me?
How can you not remember me, Teacher?
I was your student and I am sure you remember the story, that I stole the watch and you did not want to embarrass me. This story is unforgettable.

The teacher said:
“I can’t remember who stole the watch that day, because I searched the pockets of all of you while my eyes were also closed.”

Education needs wisdom !!!

We should be able to be such Teachers, such Parents, such Leaders and be able to be for people in such circumstances.

We should always calculate the consequences of our actions.

and ALLĀH S.W.T. knows best…