ON DYING IN A USELESS WAR
War is an acceptable option when there is a principle being fought for. It is useless when there is none. In Mindanao, there is constant struggle, a war if you may, between forces out to annihilate one another. And in between these two forces are civilians, bystanders who are merely coasting along, eking for daily subsistence, struggling also to get a piece of the sun. War in this side of the archipelago is almost a carry over of past sentiments. And even if the persuasion has changed, the protagonists are almost a cut from the usual tradition.
The casualties in the war are never an encouraging sight and consequence. While death is a natural, an eventual occurrence, it should never be an effect of something useless. There are instances when accidents, negligence, diseases—self imposed or epidemic borne, that bring about the demise of a person but fatalities during conflict, during a period known as war is plain and simple foolishness. Violence is man made and can be remedied. It should never be a basis for trouble that would result in the extermination of a given humanity.
Note the following:
Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 22, 2014. “The remains of six elite soldiers killed on Thursday in an encounter with Abu Sayaf bandits in Patikul, Sulu arrived at the Villamor Air Base yesterday afternoon…
Mortar rounds fired by the bandits reportedly killed the six soldiers.
Aside from the six JSOG troopers, also killed was Marine 1Lt Roger Flores of Philippine Military Academy Class of 2009. Flores was killed in an encounter earlier with a band of Abu Sayaf terrorists headed by Hairula Asbang.”
That is just the recent incident although as expected, in time, it will be buried with more current cases as conflict would escalate for years to come. There has been countless of casualties from displaced homes and communities, destruction of properties and untold misery for countless people, not to mention the terrible effect of the atrocities on the limb and lives of people. Deaths have become a common occurrence, a regular feature of daily life; and to think that we are already in a significant moment of the century when life is treated with sacredness and inviolability.
And this is just a speck of a long list of incidents involving the protracted conflict in Mindanao. For those affected in the area, the experience is gruesome. It is like watching an undesirable movie, or eating an unpalatable food. Or, spending time with unwholesome people, or forced to enrol in a hated course.
War in Mindanao unlike any other war anywhere is based on pride. World War I is more on conquest and control. World War II is more on power and politics. War in the Middle East is more corporate and slanted on business. War in Russia is more on independence and assertion of self-rule. Most wars are based on righting wrongs, correcting errors, all in the pursuit of peace.
War in the Mindanao however is exactly the reverse. There are no principles involved. There are even no values and philosophy. Both warring camps are there merely to exterminate one another. It is only their leaders who have the stake to claim. Those who are at the front are there as cogs to a fireplace. There is no significance, there is no importance. If either camp wins, nothing substantial is achieved. Therefore, to fight and die in a useless war, viewed in a less calibrated way, is like receiving diploma from a diploma mill, or undergoing surgery based on false diagnosis, or having pulled the wrong tooth.
Worst, those who perished in this unfortunate game have bright tomorrows, a great future and a promising prospect. Conflict of this magnitude is almost a joke. One is never amused seeing brothers’ fight over something inconsequential.
It is not even worth writing about it in history books except as a chapter in a comic pamphlet.