MNLF Founder and
Chairman Nur Misuari: Indonesia should be able to produce a
PEACE talks between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in
the southern Philippines and the government in Manila first
began in 1976. But it remains unresolved. The Organization of
the Islamic Conference (OIC), which has been mediating from the
start, held another meeting of the parties in Solo, Central Java
on June 20 to 22.
Indonesian diplomat Reslan Jenie, who heads the Peace Committee
for Southern Philippines, chaired the meeting. The Philippine
government was represented by Teresita Deles, Secretary to the
Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process, and the MNLF was
represented by its leader, 69-year-old Nur Misuari. “We are
mandated by the Secretary of the Islamic Conference to complete
our work before flying to Astana, Kazakhstan,” Misuari told
will attend the 38th session of the OIC Conference of Foreign
Ministers which will be held on June 28 to 30, in Astana. But
Misuari said he was dissatisfied with developments, or lack of
them. “This is supposed to be our last and final talk but we
have not finished our major agendas. We continue to be moving
around issues of medium importance until we finish,” he said, in
At the end of his visit to Indonesia last week, Misuari took
time to visit the Wahid Institute in Central Jakarta, where he
spoke with Tempo reporters Sadika Hamid, Syari Fani, Purwani
Dyah Prabandari, and Sunaria. Excerpts:
What are the results of the tripartite meeting in Solo?
This is a peace process between the MNLF high
representative, the chairman and other high authority. Reslan
Jenie is Chairman of the Peace Committee for Southern
Philippines. The Philippine government was represented by Madame
Theresita Deles. She is the Secretary for the Presidential
Advisor on the Peace Process. So, this was a tripartite, high
level, and ad hoc working group meeting. We are mandated by the
OIC Secretary to finish our work before we fly to Astana in
Kazakhstan for the 38th session of the OIC Conference of Foreign
What kind of support do you expect from Indonesia out of
these peace talks?
Indonesia is the chairman of the PCSC (Peace Committee for
Southern Philippines). They should have come up with a miracle.
What kind of miracle do you mean?
If the Philippine government doesn’t give us autonomy, Indonesia
should be convincing the Philippines about this, otherwise,
what’s the point of Indonesia being a big power with a
population of 234 million of which 90 percent are Muslims? We
are not asking more than what we deserve. We ask for Muslim
brothers around the world, including Indonesia, to help us get
our rights, because we are weak. We have no tanks, no naval
boats, no aircraft, no nothing. We only want you to help us
recognize our rights to become free.
Free in what way: independence or autonomy?
We will get the independence if they (the Philippine
government—Ed.) will not provide a good autonomy. We have no
choice. I told them, if you don’t want to give us autonomy, I
will go to Kazakhstan and declare our independence from there.
How do you see the unity of your people—so far?
People are united more than ever before.
Some people say you have been the MNLF chairman for too long,
that there has been no regeneration in the organization.
If you get the new generation, they have to learn again. It’s
not easy for them to learn what we have gone through. I was
capsized on the high seas, almost eaten by sharks, hit by a
naval boat. I have been a victim of assassination attempts, many
times. My family comes from a long line of warriors. It will not
be easy for the young generation and new people to take over and
By Sadika Hamid, Syari Fani, Purwani Dyah Prabandari and
No. 44/XI/29 June-05 July 2011