Searching for peace

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez - The Freeman

Another part of the world broke out in war, Israel and Hamas. Although we are not directly affected, it will be a factor to some economic elements. Some Filipinos are also part of this country too. The death toll of Overseas Filipino Workers working in this supposedly holy land continues to rise. They are those who gave up their lives here for better ones. Most are nurses, others are in the pursuit of knowledge as students.

The search for peace is a perennial struggle. Last time, it was the Russia-Ukraine war that became a global concern. Even in the Philippines, we continue to grapple with internal conflicts. Thus, the search for peace continues. It is notable that our state forces are not done with fighting against so-called insurgent groups such as the New People's Army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. There were peace talks but every administration changes the game in the negotiation. It remains a complex challenge despite initiative.

Even our own locality struggles with conflict. The police has logged violent incidents in connection with the upcoming village polls. The barangay, the most basic unit of society is being coveted and fought over through violent means. Sometimes, I wonder and think if peace walks and covenant signings are only done in vain. It could also be a wasteful effort. At times it scares me, often it makes me overwhelmed.

Like the strife between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the bursts of violence in our country are also intertwined historically, politically, and even in relations to territory. Take the West Philippine Sea for example. Our forces continue to guard what is supposedly ours despite harassment. It is uncertain if we ever reach an agreement or that peace will reign between countries. We search for it within us and outside, it is a relentless journey.

I still think that education is key to eradicating conflict. Peace is achieved if we are knowledgeable and diplomatic to reach a resolve. It is recommended to promote a culture of tolerance and understanding where we also acknowledge historical grievances. To find the root cause of conflicts might be rash, it is best to move forward.

This might sound funny but I do agree with the Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte when she said that literacy can help us defend our country. A well-educated people can help boost national security. All conflicts inside Philippines or those outside such as that of Israel-Hamas, need commitment, empathy, and a genuine willingness.

The dialogues must not just be for show, but those that are meaningful. It is easy to say that the bottom line is mutual respect; a value that we must all cultivate. I’d still like to say that we should “make love, not war” which is an old adage. As Christmas time nears, we are reminded of a different kind of love. This one can search all corners for love that eventually translates to peace. What we must search is for the love in us.

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