PHILIPPINE – BANGSAMORO CONFLICT
By O. S. Miharbi
Is Ethnic Cleansing Possible In Mindanaw?
BEYOND MINDANAW SEA in the not too distant past, the American
Muslims – men and women alike as well as the old and the young
– gathered one day in Chicago, USA, to discuss and to condemn
the ugliest issue of that day. Ethnic cleansing of the Bosnian
Muslims by the Christian Serbians right in the heart of Europe!
truth, although it came too late, the condemnation of ethnic
cleansing – the ugly forms of burying alive Bosnian Muslims
(the aged, women and children), raping wantonly Bosnian women
right in their sanctified homes, killing any Bosnian Muslim on
sight and resulting to any horrible and despicable acts in order
to drive them away from their sacred homes and homeland – was
welcomed by every civilized community of the world. Except, of
course, by the modern Hitlers – the Christian Serbians, who
were spearheaded by their leader Sloban Milosovich, who is now
facing his day in the international tribunal being charged with
genocide and abuse of human rights.
the contemporary history of the world, the shocking human crime
that is ethnic cleaning is quite similar to the past “holocaust”
that marked the mass killing of the Jews in Germany by the
Hitlerian fanatics. And, alas, what the Jews are presently doing
to the Palestinians in their own homeland.
only a wicked mind like that of Adolph Hitler can commit this
heinous crime and become proud of it. And only the abusive Jews
can do this kind of injustice to the Palestinian Arabs and get
away with it.
the Chicago meeting of Muslims from all over the United States
of America did help to awaken the consciousness of humanity on
the ugliest side of ethnic cleansing. In truth, this was one
pivotal factor that moved the free world to act to do what it
did – save and protect the Bosnians from mass slaughter and
possible extinction from the hands of the Serbians.
leading all the way to uphold justice and to bring about peace
and order in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the U.S. initiative made all
the peoples of the free world proud and contented.
the condemnation of the Chicago conference on ethnic cleansing
did not only end in Bosnia and in the other parts of the former
Yugoslavia as well as in Palestine that has had led to the
tragic diaspora of the Arabs over the wicked hands of the Jews.
historic Chicago Assembly also passed judgement on ethnic
cleansing in Mindanaw, particularly under the Philippine Marcos
the American Muslim delegates were unanimous to point out that
the “Moros of Mindanaw were subjected to ethnic cleansing by
their Christian oppressors”.
is ethnic cleansing possible in Mindanaw?
course, the judgement of the auspicious Chicago conference
cannot be disputed. Neither can it be taken lightly. It has to
be given serious thought because the Bangsamoro problem or
Mindanaw conflict or the Filipino-Moro war is far from over.
Just like the once Bosnian dilemma and the Palestine question,
the Mindanaw problem needs concrete solution. Although a correct
solution is long over due, yet this is now imperative.
was ethnic cleansing possible in Mindanaw?
was unfortunate that the word “ethnic cleansing” was not put
to use while the ethnic nationalities of Mindanaw – the Moros
and Highlanders – were subjected to systematic extinction from
their native lands.
there been a free press during the turbulent period of the
minoritization and bastardization of the natives of Mindanaw by
the piratical western colonizers and eventually by the homegrown
oppressors- Filipino colonizers- it could have been revealed as
the same nightmare experience, or even worse, like what happened
to the Bosnian Muslims in Europe.
put, the unabated genocidal wars waged by the piratical Spanish
and American colonizers and later on by their colonial
inheritors upon the aboriginal inhabitants of Mindanaw to
land-grab their ethnic lands and to reduce them to extinction
was no less “ethnic cleansing” in today’s language.
was this possible?
– as all responsible historians have had acknowledged – was
a free sovereign nation before the coming of the Spanish
buccaneers. The Bangsamoro Sultanate State was strategically
rich and prosperously peaceful. Because of the natural blessings
endowed by the Divine Providence over Mindanaw, this made the
Sultanate rulers and native inhabitants zealous to safeguard the
island’s tranquility and riches.
when the megalomaniac Spanish aggressors, who had to sustain
their ugly wars in Europe for the sake of political and economic
survival, invaded repeatedly Mindanaw to rob the natives of
their belongings and prosperity, the Moros and other ethnic
tribes had to defend their homeland.
Spanish-Moro wars of attrition lengthily lasted for 333 years,
yet the piratical Spanish invaders used their most superior
armaments to annihilate the native defenders of the Bangsamoro
the end days of the closing 1890s, albeit unable to conquer the
Bangsamoro freedom fighters and other ethnic defenders, the
Spanish pirates, who were to surrender to American supremacy in
the Treaty of Paris of September 10, 1898, hoodwinked still
America to believe that Mindanaw was part of their conquered
together with Filipe – the Spanish given name to the land of
the Indios (inhabitants of the islands now called Luzon and
Visayas) in honor of King Philip II, and later on changed to
Filipinas (Philippines) – the piratical Spanish conquistadores
sold Mindanao to the Americans for 20 million Mexican dollars.
the American depredations, the ethnic nationalities of Mindanao
time and again defended the sovereignty and independence of
their ancestral homeland.
the Indios, who later on adopted to be called Filipinos, of
Luzon and Visayas eventually surrendered totally to American
rule, the ethnic communities of Mindanao fought fiercely the
western invaders to the very end.
historians noted this violent era as the American-Moro war
period that even contributed to the invention by the Americans
of a caliber .45 pistol because the 38-caliber firearm could not
just easily kill a courageous Moro freedom fighter.
hiding their piratical motive in the beginning, the American
invaders unilaterally established the so-called Moro Province to
appease the Mindanawan natives and to avoid any immediate
violent confrontation with them.
after systematically and easily erasing half-hearted resistance
from the Indios-converted-Filipinos in Luzon and Visayas, led by
Emilio Aguinaldo, who masterminded the killing of Andres
Bonifacio and sought the help of the Bangsamoro Sultanate
government of Sulu but was diplomatically rejected, the American
aggressors gradually declared violent war on the ethnic
nationalities and callously ransacked Mindanaw.
the systematic ethnic cleansing of the Mindanao natives did not
only end during the attempted American colonization. Worse, it
extended far beyond when the Bangsamoro people came face to face
with the colonial strategy employed by the Americans to subdue
the aboriginal Indians of the West that eventually led to the
latter’s extinction as a free sovereign nation.
with the colonial trademark of ‘divide and rule’ scheme and
the carrot and stick policy, the American depredators maneuvered
to deceive the Moro Sultanate rulers to gain their friendship
and support, but on the other hand waged genocidal war over the
Bangsamoro masses to crush any form of resistance against
American hegemony in Mindanaw.
penetrating the heartland of Moroland, the American invaders
encouraged Christian settlers from Luzon and Visayas to
land-grab ethnic lands in the “Moro Province”, reducing
gradually the ancestral domain of the natives.
inspired by the extinction of the aboriginal red skin Indians in
America, the piratical American invaders pushed hard to cleanse
ethnically Mindanaw of any Moro sovereignty. Instead, the
American buccaneers shrewdly schemed to “Indioisize or
Filipinize” the Moros and everything in Mindanaw, disregarding
altogether the on-going native protests and scourge of the
American-Moro conflict as well as the impending hostilities
between the prospective oppressed ethnic nationalities and their
no thanks to the piratical American expedition, ethnic cleansing
in Mindanao continued to take its toll until today!
the Chicago Assembly right, the ethnic cleansing of the Muslims
in Mindanao became uglier after the immoral annexation of
Moroland in July 4, 1946 by the American-made Republic of the
the Chicago concern on ethnic cleansing in Mindanaw was both
timely and an eye-opener.
the Filipino-Moro conflict is still pestering both the
oppressors and the oppressed!
can only worsen if the solution conceived by the oppressors is
akin to that of Hitler’s and Milosovich’s. Or those of the
war-freak Jews, like Moshe Dayan and Benyamin Nathanyahu and now
the other hand, the Filipinos and the Moros can’t forever live
as co-annihilators. Surely, they are better off permanent
friendly neighbors. They owe this to their children and their
sad lessons of the tragic past have to be learned that brute
force can’t achieve respect and peace.
can only create bitterest enemies divided forever by hatred and
recent history, this saddest experience was proven true by the
case of East Timor and her colonizers. Only until a real
definite denouement was conceived and correctly implemented.
the final analysis, the American-made “imperial Manila” and
the Moro victims should not lost sight of this stark reality!
are the Filipino colonizers and the colonized Bangsamoro people
capable of achieving permanent peace without resulting to
continuous war of genocide and ethnic cleansing?
to: NOTES ON PHILIPPINE - BANGSAMORO CONFLICT