Our small team from Peacebuilders Community was here during the 2013 Zamboanga Crisis to help in fact-finding and to help train and organize a group of Christian leaders to be a part of a larger peacebuilding network.
Today, 11 months after, I visited the grandstand where some 75,000 internally displaced persons were jampacked “temporarily” as we were told by the authorities last September 2013.
Here they are right now, 16 August 2014, still in their “temporary” shelters. I’m wondering, how temporary is “temporary” in the dictionary of the ‘Matuwid na Daan’ (Straight Path)?
How long will these human beings, my sisters and brothers, be treated like this? How long will they have to suffer in this condition?
It’s not manly for me to be seen crying while momentarily immersed in this open sea of human suffering. So I hid my eyes behind my sunglasses and soon people looked at me as if I was a lost, stupid tourist. Immediately, I felt the need to distance myself from this tragic reality. I wanted to get out. I can’t stand the fact that I’m part of the many social structures and systems — church, government, civil society organizations, aid agencies, etc. — who have neglected them. Of course the officials can show me fact sheets of the many good things they are doing. I see their logos all over.
Yet, the IDPs are still here.
Beyond my imagination.