Friday, November 27, 2009

Mindanao: the next killing fields?

There's a little known conflict going on that's getting very little notice by the news media, but goes to show what happens when Islam gets mixed in with politics and it's escalating. In a providence in Mindanao, there's an upcoming election for governor. The current governor, til recent events, was an ally of President Arroyo and her war on terror in the southern Island. That could change. Monday, a envoy was on the way with a wife of a rival Muslim family with the wife on the candidate (I wonder why he didn't do it himself. The reason will become clear: he's not an idiot) with several reporters were on their way to file his candidacy when they were ambushed by 100 armed men, shot, killed, mutilated and buried. Oh, not just the dismembered bodies, but the vehicles as well. It's come out it was a well planed and executed ambushed with government agencies involved since the civil agency's equipment was used to bury the cars and several trucks.

As I look at what's going on because elections, unlike what we take for granted here in the State, though I wonder for how much longer, rarely go without violence, especially in the Muslim dominated southern islands. Death and destruction are often tied together in Filipino elections, but this is something that goes beyond the norm as it was over a candidacy. Arroyo has suspended the governor suspected (as of this writing, has been formally arrested with) of being involved in the massacre. Troops are being sent, but if recent history is any indication, this is starting to be the beginning of a much larger conflict.

To spare everyone the bore of Filipino politics, they're mainly run by a handful of rich and power families. Their democracy is far from a government "by the People" as we like to think of ours here. In the southern providence, there are basically two rival Muslim families duking it out for political power not only of the south, but the entire country but they're mainly focused on Mindanao and the smaller southern islands. Now two Muslim families are acting like gangster ready to shoot it out. Remember, in Islam, they don't fight for liberty, freedom, or even benevolent or even malevolent advancement of their citizens, but for which thug gets to be in power. This fight is looking to be no different.

What's got my wife worried is that her mother (my mother-in-law) works for the family that just got massacred. We have inside information on what's brewing, and I sure hope I'm wrong, but there's talk of amassing "the boys" by the offending family, whether the governor is punished or not by the courts (which a murder investigation, unfortunately, can be bought off as little as a $1000) are going to go get retribution. Basically, this a Fatwa against the governor. What's worse is that the government of Mindanao is believed to be involved as the governor has been arrested and there news that more are on the way. There's an old adage: "Who do you call when the gang wear blue? (showing a bunch of police men beating a man). Well, you got the government going out against a family just because they seek to run against them. Now they're shooting and murdering people and don't care, especially journalists, get in the way.

As I see how this plays out, it all reminds me of the Rwandan massacre when two tribes, the 85% majority Hutu's went after the Tusis. A third party, the Belgians and later (laugh) the UN got involved. What ended up happening, the Hutu's first attacked small outposts (many ordered to surrender) and murdered the Belgians and they ran out. Then the UN was called but decided to be IMPARTIAL til the massacre was nearly over and then stepped in when it was too late. Once the Belgians were out, many leaving security zone, one a school with 2000 refugees (400 of them children) who left while Hutu soldiers were drinking beer and chatting "Hutu Power". Many pleaded with them to not abandon them. The panic got so bad, the Belgians had to shoot over the refugee's head to stem them away as they made their escaped. As they left the city, the Hutu's open fired with machine gun fire and grenades.

I don't see much different happening here. Arroyo already has shown her weakness in appeasing Muslims as she tried to give the Island over to the Moro's. The supreme court ruled the agreement unconstitutional and ordered the troops back in just in the nick of time. As the Moro's were taking the lands promised, they were starting the executions and be headings of the Catholics living in the towns. Now these same Muslims are on one side in this conflict and they're willing to do worse to their own kind over political rule. Think what they'll do to infidels in the way in this conflict. Arroyo has been wanting to get the troops out of the conflict which has been savage in it's brutality and fighting as the Moro's and their more vicious cousin, the Abu Sayyaf (father of the sword) have fought off the Filipino military. Should these two families start to attack the Catholic Filipino Army, I fear she'll call it a domestic problem and leave them to fight it out just like in Rwanda. After all, she's allied with one of them. She's cut it off for now, but she's trying to change the government to a parliamentary system and buy 8 more years in office (she'll have to do it by the end of 2010 when her 2nd and final term runs out) and need money and political capital to gain that victory (though it's failed now 3 times) and losing southern support will be the final nail in the coffin.

As with Rwanda, the world media and political bodies did nothing to stop the massacre. So it is today. Most aren't reporting it. With Obama in office, even the US won't even hint at interference, though two terrorist organization tied to Al-Quida are involved (hence one difference between McCain and Obama). That's going to leave 15 million Filipinos (and God knows how many more if this spreads out to the nearby islands, especially Cebu) in the cross hair and in the cross fire. 62 people were butchered for no more than one Muslim thug that wants to keep his power. Who knows how many more, with government backing, will be sacrificed in this conflict. What's worse, if both side weaken, there are several more that would be more than willing and tied to these terrorist organization, that would take their place, ally or attempt coups and intensify the conflict even more. God I hope I'm wrong. If not, my advice for my in-laws: GET OUT NOW! As 20th century history has taught, this will get ugly fast and there will be no Calvary, until the carnage is over. As Islamic conflict has demonstrated in the past, this has the potential to make the Cambodian killing fields look Rosy in comparison.

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