Sunday, May 20, 2007

Is Mindanao A Lost Cause?

As I had expected, Mindanao is once again a hotbed of cheating. I now ask myself why this place seems so unchangeable. How can there be real democracy in Mindanao when almost everyone can be bought for as low as P20? I pity the Muslims who volunteered to safeguard the elections. All they wanted was to change the perception that Mindanao is the cheating capital of the Philippines.

Well the recent polls could even be worst the our Mindanaon brothers and sisters could have witnessed. Is it culture or some societal factor that we couldn't comprehend? We see a lot of Muslim NGO's and even separatists who have been trying to change Mindanao. Muslim NGO's tried their best to make a difference but to no avail. Reports of massive cheating and vote-buying are coming in. Failure of elections are a dime a dozen.

I resent the remarks thrown at our Muslim people as being terrorists and hoodlums. But how I can even start to debate/defend them when all I see is a people bent on keeping the title of cheaters? I can blame the usual suspect, poverty but that would be scraping the bottom of the barrel. I suppose I can blame their social structure. It seems that their social system is stagnated that warlords and their royal families can indeed buy off their rights.

Do they still consider themselves serfs of a sultan or maybe they're just uninformed as to what is at stake in an election? Most of them seem to see elections as a way to make a fast buck. We could also say that our political leaders have never given Mindanao any hope and this has turned Mindanaoans to an apathetic people whose only care is to live by the day and avoid the ire of their leaders.

Whatever the reasons may be, I'm still reeling from the fact that despite the efforts of concerned Muslims, Mindanao will continue to be perceived as the cheating capital of the Philippines. Those with money will continue to dictate the fate of an abused people. The current dispensation has once again used its resources to buy the lords and order their people to sell their future. Unless these opportunistic local leaders are brought down from power, the Mindanaoans will never be free from the bondage of misery and misunderstanding.

I hope not all is lost for the people of Mindanao. I can only pray that the predators in their midst will be finally be replaced by those willing to actually change the path the powerful had taken them to. A misguided people that will continue to blindly follow the few who only think of themselves. When most of our Asian Muslim neighbors have allowed democracy to actually set in, Mindanao rich as it may be, will continue to wallow in desolation.

I thought that Islam is pure and just. What I see in Mindanao, are a few corrupt Muslims abusing their very own people. What makes them different from the leaders of Imperial Manila, nothing, they could even be worst. They terrorize their own people. They use the barrel of the gun to persuade and the power of the purse to sell their people to the highest bidder.

Just like the powerful in government, the abusive local leaders and warlords would like to keep the status quo. They want the power for themselves. What is happening in Mindanao is a microcosm of what is happening to the entire country. We all allow the few and corrupt to dictate on us their will. If indeed Mindanao is a lost cause, the same goes for all of us. As long as we do nothing despite the blatant abuse of the administration, nothing will ever change. We'll all go to the dogs because we allowed authoritarianism get the better of us.