Written by Atty. Caesar Europa, Governor for IBP Eastern Mindanao Region
“If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu (South African social activist and religious leader)
The road to peace is a winding one, full of potholes and fraught with danger. To say that achieving peace is difficult is an understatement to say the least. It will involve a lot of sacrifice, heartache and, most of all, understanding.
Two sides to a conflict have to begin with understanding and knowing where the other side is coming from so that a joint vision of where to go from there can be achieved. Seeking peace can only be fueled by a true and genuine desire to save future generations from the suffering and senseless violence of war.
It is not easy for a soldier to lay down his arms after seeing his buddy shot dead right beside him nor for an NPA rebel to do the same when he joined the rebellion because he helplessly watched his family starve because of an oppressive and influential landlord. Differences in ideologies and political beliefs can be dealt with and discussed but it is the HATE in one’s heart that is the most difficult hindrance to true and lasting peace. The irony of it is that as time goes by without peace, this hate will only continue to grow making it more and more difficult to achieve peace.
This is why we have to support the peacemakers on both sides and be thankful that there are people like them. They are ones who, though enemies by name, try and LOOK PAST THE HATE and see the commonalities upon which peace can be built. They are ones who are willing to exert the extraordinary effort, patience, and sacrifice necessary to thresh out differences so that conflicts may be resolved through words and good actions rather than through the barrel of a gun.
As the Peace Talks between the GRP and the NDF are underway in Rome, Italy, let us take the time to express our hope, gratitude and support for the PEACEMAKERS on both sides and offer our prayers for Divine guidance and intervention so that we may dream of the day when Filipinos will stop killing Filipinos and we will see a light at the end of this winding and potholed road to true and lasting PEACE.
PEACE IS NOT EASY BUT IT IS WORTH IT!