The Marawi crisis is over but …!

In any competition, the most natural human reaction after it is over is, the winner rejoices and celebrates while the loser grieves, laments, and regrets. However, goal, nay result, cannot be shared. It is like gambling, the winner’s gain is the loser’s loss.

The Marawi Crisis is over. But the big question is: Who won in this bloody conflict that snapped the lives of almost a thousand people and that lasted for almost five months?

For us, the Philippine government did not win the war, but the Maute Group clearly lost it. But for Moros of the city – and we too – it is a tragedy! The damage done to the city is beyond repair. Just to cite one example. The ancestral home of the late Senator Domocao Alonto, which contained and preserved his writings, memorabilia, mementoes, can it be revived? Never, it is gone forever!

The truth is that culture of Moros is preserved and mainly evident in Marawi City. They managed to have their city virtually untouched by hard conflict since 1972. But those in Jolo or Sulu and Cotabato were devastated by wars.  And many of our antiques or artefacts found their way into Manila in the homes of military men who served in Mindanao especially during the height of Martial Law in the seventies. 

Yes, what happened to Marawi City is a tragedy! But can it help us by keeping on wailing and wailing? Like crying over spilled milk? Or seething with anger at those who caused the tragedy?

For Muslims, whatever happens on us is part of the will of Allah. We have to accept it that way! Of course, Allah did not ask those “culprits” to do evil acts, but it is part of the freewill of human beings that Allah has granted us. In the end, we will all be asked to account for our deeds, bad or good, and suffer or rewarded for them. 

The Marawi tragedy is bad in all its angles! But in the infinite knowledge of the Great Unseen, there might be a lesson. We have to look into our selves, individually, collectively, or as a people! We have to discern and reflect deeply and sincerely!

Marawi City is proudly projected and promoted as “Islamic City”.  Have we pondered profoundly on the meaning, implications, and ramifications of the label?

For the government and those decision-makers, we asked them to reflect and asked themselves. “Have they not short-changed the Moros since they took rein of government from 1935 to this day which they refused or unable to acknowledge and address?

The Maute Group never did their “thing” for political reasons. Their obsession had been to go to Heaven via the short route – and at the expense of the people of Marawi City. In fact, this is the signature of ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and Libya; and those inspired by them are doing the same thing.  They choose civilian-populated areas as their favourite battle zones.

But surely, many of those who joined their ranks cited “frustrations” of government systematic failure to solve and address the “historic injustices” committed against the Moros in Mindanao. Accurately or not, they are not alone in expressing those grievances.

The Maute Group can never right what they have done to Marawi City! “Terrorism” is never part of Islam. One thousand four hundred years ago, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had already promulgated these rules of war: Do not kill any child, any woman, or any elder or sick person; Do not practice treachery or mutilation; Do not uproot or burn palms or cut down fruitful trees; Do not slaughter a sheep or a cow or a camel, except for food; If one fights his brother, [he must] avoid striking the face, for God created him in the image of Adam; Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship; Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle; Do not wish for an encounter with the enemy; pray to God to grant you security; but when you [are forced to] encounter them, exercise patience; No one may punish with fire except the Lord of Fire; and  Accustom yourselves to do good if people do good, and to not do wrong even if they commit evil.