Aim for the Heart. To make that part malfunction, tell it to the Commander in Chief, to shoot at the heart For women who fight, fight for love That women die in the battlefield not as women But as humanity loving humanity. dying for humanity. So when you want that malfunction Shoot her while giving birth, Shoot her as breast-milk wells from her chest, when she loves her man, shoot her pointblank in the heart and humanity dies with her. . . . WOMEN OF BUD DAHU.
Nine hundred men, women and children fell. It had been into the third day of campaign, on March 7, 1906 under the command of Major General Leonard Wood then Governor of Mindanao-Sulu. There were Tausug statesmen in the colonial government then but none of them was known to have sounded any resentment — not to mention the royal guardian leadership and its Ottoman cohorts [earlier on 1898, Ottoman empire Sultan Abdul Hamed II brokered on behalf of the American Jewish Oscar Strauss, USAmbassador to Ottoman Turkey, to advise the Sulu sultans to cooperate with America).
Photo courtesy of https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/moro-insurgents-1906/
So then killed but never captured went the 900, but was it with royal approval and Ottoman acquiesence? Dr. Najeeb Saleeby who was Superintendent of Schools expressed his dissenting opinion and for that was never promoted to become the next governor of Moro Province even as he had been qualified more than Bliss.”The Moros were hostile and bitter against US, because we [US] have been trying for eight years to take their liberties away from them” — Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens)… WOMEN OF BANGSAMORO
“When the fire broke out, [they were] talking about how to make the new peace deal work. Outside their sixth-floor window, a plastic rope was dangling. Sharif Zain Jali grabbed it, but unbeknown to him another desperate man was also trying to shimmy to safety. Three seconds later, the rope broke” (https://www.raissarobles.com/…/misuaris-spiritual-adviser-…/)
This was how journalist Raissa Robles in a memoriam of her friendship with MNLF’s Nur Misuari’s spiritual adviser, Ustadh Zain Jali, had described the Muslim scholar’s escape a near-death ambush in the burning of the New Imperial Hotel in a Cotabato City on April 27, 1997, barely a half-year into the signing of the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement.
What was not mentioned and hence never known to us were of two women: had they tried to make it to the door, or attempted dangling by plastic rope too, or if they had wrapped themselves and rolled up in wet towels and sought the bathroom sanctuary as most of the casualties that burnt beyond recognition were later reported to be found?. But we would never know of how among the 25 that went that day were these two brave women, unmentioned in any memoriam, names that faded and seemed forgotten in the thick pages of project reports come Peace and Development era.
Basilan Revolutionary Women’s committee head, Norma Salahuddin-Jakilan and lady commander Jean Intan Yahsin (who had also been former Mayor of Maluso municipality in Basilan) were two among many women of the “minor tribes” – (i.e. that is mine, for want of proper categorical emphasis) whom those who have now joined the mainstream and survived through politics of ‘self-preservation’ must consider only but minor for the nomination. But “minor women” too, matter, that they had offered their lives to the Bangsamoro nationalist cause.
Women participating in the violence of war were not always self-consciously nationalists or patriots in the first place. War took them there principally as wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. One can say, they fight primarily as lovers whose beloved have taken that path of resistance. In many cases, it is for the people they loved that they have chosen to accompany in what could be their most perilous journeys and hardest moments of their lives. That way they become conscripted into war placing them there where they become displaced and their homes uprooted.
One who went by the name of ‘Neneng’ saved her father and brother from a revolutionary court marstial. She had to lair an alleged traitor – who betrayed his comrades – to his death, and delivered his head in a paperbag before the tribunal to ransom out her loved ones.
Women have very vivid memories of the wars. Like little girls they giggle when asked to recall their most unforgettable roles in combat. Interestingly, in their narratives, they are not always combatants. Easy to switch into roles, it mattered little that the story’s heroine were themselves as protagonists or other women who had played villain roles but whom they admired. One thing common is how they mostly speak of how they’d loved.
Such is how a tale is kept being told and still lovingly retold by MNLF women cadres among them the living sisters of Kumander Munong of Tampakan, Simunul island. Their teary eyes had twinkled as they talked about the love life of Sofia and her romantic tryst with Philippine soldier Colonel Martelino. Beauteous Sofia has become immortalized as that training camp where the blueprint for infamous Oplan Jabidah was laid-out and its fiasco that midwifed the birth of Moro liberation movement.
[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mucha-Shim Lahaman Quiling considers herself a cultural translator and political interpreter who has chosen to hover in the margins and live in diaspora. Having no permanent residence and academic affiliation for the last ten years, her searching allowed her to experience roaming and transiting in the littoral rims of NE Indonesia, and here at home, from Basilan strait to the waters of Sulu and Tawitawi, simulating as close as possible the traditional homes of Bajau and Suluk nations of Nusantara (maritime Southeast Asia). Arung Mucha is a hybrid of the Sama and Suk; a daughter of the clan of Panglima Saipuddin from Laminusa island, Siasi, Sulu; with mixed-ethnic grandparents, of Suk minSilangkan, and Suk-Ilanun of Luuk, Sulu]