Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In mourning, again

By Jan San Andres

October 20 marks Conflict Resolution Day. However, as of this morning, 19 soldiers have been confirmed dead from Tuesday’s bloodbath between military troops and MILF rebels in Basilan. Twelve more were injured and some were allegedly captured by the armed rebels. Flags now fly half-mast in all military camps all over the country.

Such great loss reminds us that it is time again to mourn.


via [‘THEY KEPT COMING’ A soldier carries a wounded comrade airlifted by helicopter from Al-Barka, Basilan, for treatment in Zamboanga City on Tuesday. At least 19 soldiers of the Special Action Forces were killed in a clash with Moro rebels. A survivor of the ambush said they were outnumbered and overwhelmed. AP]

Back in grade school, I often asked why sometimes the Philippine flag is suspended at the pole’s half-way mark. People would say “Somebody died”. I often felt the explanation lacking. As a kid, the picture of a flag at half-mast felt that there was something great missing. Flags were supposed to fly the highest it could reach. At half mast, I felt that the flag was not able to fly in the highest possible way, that it has been forced to stay half-way.

Mourning. Limitation. Missing.

Maybe, something really is missing. The one very important thing missing in this country is peace. For decades now, we’re at half mast. Limited. Half-way. Lacking.

It’s Conflict Resolution Day today. However, once again it has been set aside because of the violence plaguing this country. There is violence, fighting, conflict. So once again, we mourn. We mourn for the lives of fallen soldiers whom death we hope will not be in vain.

I hope something will come up today. Something that will make us all say in the future that once there were 19 soldiers who fell and whose lives are instrumental to solve the protracted Mindanao armed struggle. Call it daydreaming, I call it faith.

In the end, I still believe everything will work for the good. There’s too much grief, negativity, and conflict that surround us – there’s no harm dreaming for even a glimpse of peace and resolution. That someday we can just smile, and just smile. And know that tomorrow… is morning again.

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