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Speech of
His Excellency Prof. Nur Misuari,
Chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
During the 5th Bangsamoro Peopleís National Congress,
Silangkan, Parang, Sulu, November 3-4, 2001



(Note: This is the last speech delivered by the H.E. Chairman Misuari before his illegal arrest and detention by the government of Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia on November 22, 2001. The dictator and arrogant Mahathir has done another grave betrayal and treachery to the Bangsamoro people when he illegally turned-over Chairman Misuari to another dictator, arrogant and more treacherous government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines).  

MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari delivering his speech at the 5th Congress

 

         
Bismillah Hirrahman Nirrahim.

          The delegates to this very important and historic gathering from different parts of Mindanao and the Islands, our tens of thousands freedom fighters, our ulama, the youth, our brave women, families of our shuhada, my brothers and sisters, let me greet you with the Islamic noble greeting of peace -- Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi Taala wabarakatuhu.

          Once again, we are gathered here in this very important and historic occasion, the 5th Bangsamoro Peopleís National Congress, to decide our future and the future of Homeland and our posterity.

          I am very, very confident that we are in the right side of history. I am very, very confident that the peoples of the world will vindicate us, and I am also very, very confident that our brothers in the Islamic world, starting with the OIC, which is the embodiment of the conscience and the aspiration of the Islamic World including us, the none self-governing Islamic nations in this world, I am very, very sure that they, too, will vindicate us in the end.

          So now your destiny is back in you hands. The chain has been smashed. This past of a quarter of a century now since we signed the peace agreement in Tripoli, Libya in 1976, and in Malacanang Palace on September 2, 1996, since the time we signed the peace agreements we had put ourselves in a vine so to speak.

          We had allowed them to put the chain on our hands. That is why we lost our options. Despite the fact that we had been betrayed so many times, yet we had no choice but to continue to persevere. But alhamdulillah, I am very, very sure, it is the wisdom of the Almighty Allah that we are now back where we were before.

          Donít forget the first time when they (OIC) brought to me the Kuala Lumpur Resolution in 1974. I have told you just as I have told the summit of Muslim heads of states and also of the series of the ICFM (Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers) meetings, I told them that, to us in the beginning, to accept that resolution of the 5th ICFM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, could be likened to have pushing a bar of hot iron down our throat. But we had no choice because we could not go against the decision of our brothers in the Islamic world.

          Now the Philippine government has chosen to betray us, not only the MNLF and the Bangsamoro people but also the OIC and the entire Islamic world. So, therefore as I said earlier, it is now my feeling that your destiny is back in your hands.

          As your leader and as your chairman, it has been always our policy for me not to make any decision at all. It is you, who are many times wiser than I am, members of the Congress and later on members of the Central Committee, who are going to meet after your session, to evaluate and to pass on your decision here. It is you, my brothers and sisters, who are going to decide the future of our people and of our beloved homeland Mindanao and all its Islands, including Palawan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Camiguin and all other historic parts of the Bangsamoro homeland.

          Now you must face your responsibility before our people and before history. Donít run away from them, because on the basis of your collective wisdom, you will find the future of our people. And therefore, face the challenge as brave men and women, scions of famous warriors of the past centuries. Donít forget, we have always been dubbed as the bravest warriors in the whole world. You may not be the bravest but at least you are one of the bravest warriors in the whole world. And as brave people donít run away from this challenge. I placed the whole decision in your hands and, therefore, please do your part. This is the message I wanted to deliver to you.

                   And in addition to that my brothers and sisters, I ask you in your prayers, when you return back to your homes, you must praise Allah for His guidance and for his mercy because I believe that all of these are blessings from Him. Because only Allah could have decided for us, could have decided in all of these. Donít forget that this is now the best moment in our life. I would like to inform you that few days ago, by the guidance of the Almighty Allah, a team of ten (10) from the MNLF met a team of ten (10) from their brothers in the MILF. And they have decided to continue with the exploratory talks for unity and solidarity and common purpose.

          While there are still some vagueness and obscurity in their undertakings, but I am very, very optimistic my brothers and sisters, that both the MNLF leaders and the MILF leaders are now quite aware of their responsibility before God and before our people and posterity. And therefore you can expect that very near they will come up with a final decision how to unify the two fraternal organizations. And with this, with the unity and solidarity of the MNLF and the MILF, I am very, very optimistic that we can now rewrite and rewrite our history.

          Whatever political decision you may make, you can rest assured tens of thousands of valiant warriors in every part of Mindanao and the Islands will be behind that. You will not be dismayed. You will not be disappointed, biiznillah. I am sure our brave warriors and fighters are listening to my speech.  

          It was all for the sake of peace that I agreed to sign the peace agreement on behalf of the MNLF and on behalf of our people. Nothing more and nothing less. The Almighty Allah tells us ďWhen the enemy leans towards peace so thou you must lean also towards peace.Ē So we followed that. That is exactly what we did.

          You cannot find in the annals of revolutions in the world where you have such a powerful organization like the MNLF signing 3 peace agreements. Ordinarily after the signing of the peace agreement they should have turned over to us the authority to form our government here. But what did they do? They manipulated, they dilly-dallied with all those in order to be able to put one over us and ultimately to destroy the peace agreement.

          They thought that the MNLF has been closing its eyes. They donít understand that Nur Misuari goes to bed only after 2 oíclock in the morning and he wakes up among the first human being to wake up early in the morning for his prayers. And throughout the day seldom do I take any nap or any relaxation at all. I always devote my time to the service of God, to the service of my people and to the service of the MNLF and our Jihad Fisabilillah.

So it is not possible for them to say that we are spent force. Our brothers from the media, if you could only see the forces all around, you will see thousands and thousands of forces. If only those forces who are stranded will be able to come and join us here together, the more so you will see more forces who are ready to defend the decision of the Congress and the decision of the Central Committee of the MNLF, insha Allah.

What you are seeing here is just a small fragment of the forces of the MNLF. And that means we have not been sleeping on our task because we knew all along the Philippine government is going to betray us. They cannot betray us without betraying themselves.

One army general was asked by Malacanang if why Nur Misuari and Salamat Hashim have decided to allow their people to sign this declaration (of unity and solidarity). The general said, ďMay be itís our fault. We have already found the right man to work for peace in Mindanao but we are only fooling him.Ē

And now they want to anchor the future of this country on the words and self-serving propaganda of those traitors who have betrayed us.

Senator (Gregorio) Honasan was quoted as saying, calling on Malacanang. He said, ďBe careful of those people who formed the so-called the Executive Council of 15. They are like sons and daughters of the MNLF chairman. It was he who brought them up. I was he who gave them all those responsibilities and it was he who made them what they are now. Now they have decided to betray him. Do you think these people, after betraying Nur Misuari, will not betray the government? If they can betray Nur Misuari who is like a brother to them, who is like a father to them, the more so they can also betray the government the moment the government is not able to cater to their greed anymore.Ē

Believe me. This is not the first time. This is the 7th time (to oust him as MNLF chairman). (Philippine) government has always been conniving and conspiring and colluding against us. But every time all they have done have boomeranged on them. How many times they have done this to us but what happened? They (government) gave thousands and thousands of arms to those people. Were they able to destroy the MNLF? Were they able to achieve their objectives? No, they did not. Allah is protecting us and the heroic people of Mindanao and the Islands are protecting their own sacred cause. They will not abandon that cause.

It is really wrong on the part of the government to do this to us. But since that is what they want, then let it be. What can we do? But I only hope that the good media people and the people of this country, and the people of the world will not blame us if something will happen, if there will be adverse consequences of what they are doing to us.

So that is my great message to you. That is our perception now. Therefore, we are now waiting for the OIC for the final words from them. We cannot afford to do anything only to be mistaken for having violated the peace agreement. The OIC must be convinced that, like in the past, it was not our fault.

We signed the peace agreement with President Marcos. But what happened? The OIC sat together and they decided that it was the Philippine government that was at fault. And therefore, they said, let us make Nur Misuari and the MNLF observer in the OIC. And also when I asked them to stop the flow of oil, immediately they stopped the flow of oil (to the Philippine). I am not saying that I will do that. No, I will not. We donít need to do that to be able to redress our grievances. We will not call on the OIC to punish them (government). It is up for the OIC if what they want because they have to defend their honor and integrity.

The OIC met in November last year (2000). Fifty-six (56) Muslim heads of states met in Qatar. I was present. They read out the Resolution before us. The Resolution was a product of a fringe meeting among us, the OIC Ministerial Committee of the Seven at that time before the entry of Malaysia recently, and also the Philippine delegation.

They decided to pass a resolution calling upon the Philippine government, the MNLF and the OIC Ministerial Committee of the Eight to hold a Tripartite Meeting to draw up a timetable for the launching of a genuine political autonomy and its eventual turnover to the hands of the MNLF leadership. But nothing happened.

At the same time they (OIC) asked the Philippine government not to unilaterally   hold any referendum and election at all. Everything has to be decided by the tripartite meeting. 

But what happened. On the 14th of August they held the referendum, which was a big, big slap on the face of the OIC and its member-states.

Then in June (2001) there was the meeting of the 28th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Bamako, Republic of Mali in West Africa. We were present in that meeting. And they (OIC) passed a Resolution calling upon the Philippine government not to hold any referendum and election until the year 2003.

But what happened? They held the referendum as we said, and now they are preparing to hold the election, which is going to be a big, big slap again on the OIC, not to say of the MNLF.

So with all of these violations, and with all of these actions on the part of the government, I am very, very clear in my conscience that the people will understand that we are not going to be at fault, it is going to be the Philippine government. And therefore, being at fault, the Philippine government should be held solely responsible for whatever adverse consequences that may come.

So, for your guidance, I would like you to muster all your courage and heroism to face your responsibility before God and before the conscience of mankind. We have been betrayed again. Countless times we were betrayed by the Philippine government to show that they donít want peace in Mindanao. They want that we are always be in a state of war. I donít know why. I donít know what kind of government is this. Let us see if their foolishness will succeed. Let us see what will be the consequence of their treachery and their betrayal of the peace agreement.

I would like you to examine the situation clearly and be guided by our address here. Donít forget the important Resolution passed by the 4th Congress. Because of my desire to give peace another chance, I appealed before all of you in the final plenary session of the 4th Congress in Cabatangan, Zamboanga City, to suspend the effectivity of that Resolution. Now, I would like to ask this (5th) Congress to consider that resolution in the light of the present situation for your guidance and the guidance of all of us, especially your brothers in the Central Committee, and also your brothers in the Bangsamoro Armed Forces.

I am sure tens of thousands of the Bangsamoro Armed Forces are listening to my speech. Those who are not present, eventually they will get copy of my speech and will have the chance to listen to this speech. I am asking only one thing to them. Please do your duty and your responsibility before God, before our people and our posterity and our homeland.

And also donít forget our commitment to the OIC. Donít preempt. You wait the final words from the OIC. Donít give any impression as if you are turning your back on the OIC. I have told the OIC that we will always be faithful in following their wise counsel. Donít betray that (commitment) my brothers so that the Philippine government may not succeed in causing any dislocation between us and our brothers in the world. We should always march hand in hand with them. We need the support of the peoples of the world for whatever decision we make. I am very, very sure that you are going to decide to rewrite our history now.

The leaders are here. If you ask me what is going to be the sentiments of these leaders, I am sure they will be behind you all to the last man. So be courageous in making decision for our people. That is all my guidance to you my brothers and sisters.

 I would just like to acknowledge our dear brothers from the Highlander communities. They are around. Some of them even walked hundreds of kilometers from the mountains on foot and they are now with us. I am also very, very sad to note that one of our distinguished highlander leaders has been assassinated recently.

So, I welcome you all. Sulu is your land. You are among your armed brothers who will not abandon you, Insha Allah. I am very sure, our six to eight million-highlander brothers in various parts of Mindanao and the Islands will be just too happy to continue marching side by side with their Muslim brothers and their Christian brothers who have decided to work together for the common good of the people of Mindanao and the Islands.

 I would like also to acknowledge our distinguished brothers from the Central Committee of the MILF who are here with us. Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!

As I told you earlier, by the blessings of the Almighty Allah, the leaders of these two fraternal organizations have finally mustered their wisdom to work together for peace, for justice and for freedom of the Bangsamoro nation. They are here with us, testimony to the fact that we are now sharing a common purpose and a common future.

I salute my brother Salamat Hashim, on behalf of all of you, for his wisdom. Let us give credit to him for his wisdom in inviting me for three consecutive times. The visit of our brothers here is not one by accident. This is the product of our series of meetings (with Salamat Hashim).

I understand from the report of our delegation that a 3-point agreement has been signed and there is an agreement to meet again and again in order to be able to finally realize the dream of all of us here in Mindanao, the unbreakable unity and solidarity of the MILF and the MNLF and all of us, the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao, insha Allah.

I was telling the media when they asked me what would be the consequences of this (unity). I told them, ďWhat do you think will happen if you put the MILF on one side and a plus sign in between and the MNLF in the other side?Ö and they will decide to take the destiny of this land back to their hands?Öwhat do you think will happen?Ē It is not a joke.

And so now, what they did to disunite us has now boomeranged on them. Their foolishness has now boomeranged on them. There is now panic inside Malacanang itself. They have been calling our brother Ghadzali, they have been calling the generals asking why did this (unity) happen. And the generals told them pointblank, ďThis is our fault. We have found the right man to work for peace with us in Mindanao without harming the unity and solidarity of this country. But what have we done? We always betray him.Ē

The government is just exposing the soldiers to danger because they are swallowed up by the tens of thousands of the bravest warriors on the surfaced of the earth.

So, I am asking you once again my brothers, the sons and daughters of our shuhada (martyrs) to please do your duty to the Almighty Allah and donít betray him. Please do your duty to our people. Donít betray them, and please do your duty to our posterity and our homeland. Be courageous and be heroic.  

In this civilized world, there is no country like the Philippine government, betraying such a solemn agreement like the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, the Jeddah Peace accord of 1986 and more importantly, the September 2nd, 1996 Final Peace Agreement in Manila.

You cannot find it in any parts of the world. This is the most brazen and the most shameful part of the history of the Filipino nation. Tell those people in Malacanang.

I did not bend my knees to get those negotiations commenced or started way back in 1975. They were the ones who asked for it. They sent their emissaries as far as London to talk to the late Prime Minister Ali Bhutto. They sent people to Bapak Soeharto and they arranged meeting with me in Menado. They sent people to Saudi Arabia. They sent people to Egypt. They sent people to Pakistan. They sent people to Kuala Lumpur, to many parts of the Islamic world asking that Misuari be brought across the (negotiating) table. They wanted peace negotiations. Marcos said except my wife, my family and my power, everything is negotiable.

They promised that no stabbing in the back, no treachery. But what happened. Who is betraying who? History, as I said, will vindicate us in the end, bisznillah.

Thank you once again to all of you my brothers and sisters. Wabillahi Taufik Walhidaya Wassalamau Alaikum Warahmatullahi Taala Waabarakatuhu. Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!

 

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