Friday, March 27, 2015

Filipino Fridays: Some Massacres in Philippine History

If you know something about the Philippines, you'd certainly know that it's a predominantly Catholic country in Asia. However, you might not know what we mean when we talk about the Moros.

According to Wikipedia:

The Moro people or Bangsamoro are a population of indigenous Muslims in the Philippines, forming the largest non-Catholic group in the country, and comprising about 5% of the total Philippine population.

You can imagine that there are tensions -- long-simmering, occasionally explosive tensions -- in the country. However, it's also source of rich cultural material, and an eminently mineable history of promises, betrayals, and conflict.

Something that you may wish to take a look at when tackling this kind of thing in your games is to research several key elements in our history and extrapolate them for your own use in your games. But be sensitive in your use -- these are people's lives, after all -- and the wounds may still be fresh in some families.

I offer this as a sort of reversal in the more positive posts on my beloved country -- we are, like every other country -- filled with agendas, personalities, and organisations always in conflict over scarce (or ridiculously valuable) resources.

Moro Insurgency in the Philippines [ Wikipedia ]

Details the emergence of the Moro Insurgency from the late 1960s to the present, with a sympathetic slant toward the Moros' plight. It talks about several key events and policies that led to the current situation.

A key event, still discussed to this day, is the Jabidah Massacre -- something that I'd long accepted as de facto history. A varying number of muslims, it's said, were recruited into the Philippine military to perform a secret mission. But when it was revealed to them that they'd be fomenting dissent in a nearby island against fellow muslims they refused, and were (allegedly?) killed to silence them. It has long been a rallying point for local muslim insurgent movements.

More recently, the Mampasano Massacre (clash, to some) involved members of the Philippine military entering ares controlled by MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) & BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) forces, intending to serve arrest warrants for high-ranking terrorists. In the ensuing clash, 44 members of the Philippine National Police's Special Action Force (PNP SAF) were surrounded, and -- after they'd surrendered -- were slaughtered.

Right now, the media narratives are talking about how the Jabidah Massacre might've been a hoax, and how the Mampasano Massacre might be a reverse Jabidah operation. It's hard to sort out true history from the shouting between camps.

Maguindanao Massacre [ Wikipedia ]

On the morning of November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, 58 victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, were kidnapped and brutally killed. The people killed included Mangudadatu's wife, his two sisters, a large number of journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the convoy. They were killed because Mangudadatu was challenging the incumbent Mayor (Mayor Ampatuan) for his mayoral seat.

The case is still ongoing.

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