After Marawi, what then?

OVER a week ago, the high command of our armed forces announced the immediate acceleration of clearing operations to liberate the beleaguered city of Marawi --- with no quarters given amid intensive aerial bombardment, and with the single-minded purpose of freeing trapped civilians. That's a tough assignment...a mix of maximizing aggression while minimizing loss of life and limb!

But our troopers will carry out their sworn tasks with the same patriotism that made them troopers, and with the same valor to return to the fields of combat after medical confinement...aaw, doesn't this make one tearfully proud...and they will succeed cuz it's their duty to succeed!

 

Faith fuels patriotism

But then, after Marawi's liberation, would the victory be appreciated not in terms of billions of pesos worth of outlay being released to rebuild the city...because we would be the losers there...but in terms of others being worth dying for, in the vein that the Christ from Nazareth welcomed his own crucifixion over 2000 years ago in order to open the entrance gate of his Father's palace.

Yes, Sister Maria Dolores (dela Fuente), I hope I'm wrong, but it's my gut belief that the raging conflict in Marawi is but one of other battles being waged by the free world against Islamic terrorists.

Perhaps, the tumult we are witnessing in the world these days is the prophesied ultimate confrontation between Good and Evil...between the forces of St. Michael and the forces of Satan. And yes, the so-called "signs of the end of times" abound today, though we can take relief from the thought that "today" is another time in God's time.

 

The nemesis of faith

And as for your other point, Sister, it is my theory that poverty, like money, can be such a root of Evil that: in our own country that is plagued by the neediness of the poor and the greed of the rich, rampant criminality has become the principal scourge in our daily life.

Note that, for example, in the socialist Scandinavian economies where the middle classes abundantly flourish, criminality rates are the lowest in the world. Thus, we urgently need an economic miracle which, along with this faith, will fuel our grit to beat back the engulfing flames of Islamic jihadism.

To be sure, our victory at Marawi will not mark the end of hostilities; it will be a much-needed respite for our soldiers and cops before they resume encounters elsewhere in our country. For, like a deadly virus, Islamic extremism is stealthily taking root in other parts of our benighted land.

 

Viral affliction

The virus now afflicts the peaceful areas of Mindanao; and undercover IS-oriented elements are presently engaged in recruitment operations and, most likely, in planning detonations of crowded public sites in Luzon and the Visayas. Muslims, the good and the bad, are everywhere. Can you tell one from another? How safe are you in your own area of abode?

Trepidation now lurks and stalks in places never before considered as dangerous. But the good news is: religious faith is growing, slowly but surely, not only among Christians, but also among the traditionally conservative Islamists. Verily, let us harness that faith that will enable us to believe what we cannot see: IS's omnipresence.

At this point, let us be reminded that the population in Mindanao consists of 80 percent Christians, 15 percent peaceful Muslims, and 5 percent a misguided mix of Muslim bandits and terrorists, IS-oriented or not, many of whom are indoctrinated teenaged drug addicts. 5 percent is relatively small, yes, but size can be very deceiving. Remember that it took just two relatively small atomic bombs to end the 2nd World War.

 

Only Moros can change themselves

It is good to see Morolandia's political and religious leaders and other elders kneeling in supplication for peace, but it is disheartening to note their conviction that it is government's obligation to deescalate, if not to halt, the war in Marawi City, let alone to stop their own virus from spreading. The Moros' culture can be changed only by themselves.

For instance, we cannot stop them from believing that if they die as a result of slaying non-Islamists, eleven vestal virgins await each of them in heaven. 

Likewise, only they can stop themselves from conscripting 7-year-old boys for warfare training, indoctrination, and now: the use of shabu in order to hasten their development into killing machines.

ML enforcers can do only so much. If they must become more aggressive "to win peace soonest", let it be so. Also, during this crisis let us depend on the judgment of our professionally trained men and women in uniform, not on the rhetoric of the comatose yellow cult nor that of irritating human rights freaks.

 

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