It has been more than 10 days that I kept on reading something that breaks my heart on Facebook. This fighting in Zamboanga City between MNLF (Misuari faction) and AFP has a very depressing effect on me. I’m really really saddened not only for the casualties from both ends but especially for the displaced families from the baranggays of Rio Hondo, Mariki and Sta. Catalina. Latest number say it has gone more than 126,000 evacuees are now scattered in Zamboanga mostly without a decent place to sleep, food to eat and water to drink.
What more, these baranggays mentioned are the baranggays I always visit whenever I’m in Zamboanga City. I have known and befriended a lot of Muslims in these areas. I have shared some of the best experiences with the locals in Mariki and Rio Hondo. I wrote and promoted these places to fellow travelers and bloggers and encouraged people to visit these places because its very safe here. I even led a Zamboanga tour and the highlight was sleeping in stilt houses in Rio Hondo. But now I can see these efforts going down the drain. It seems like the ten good things I say about Zamboanga (and Mindanao in general) were gone just after a war rose between MNLF (Misuari faction) and AFP.
I’m not going to blame anyone on this. Rather, I want to be proactive and prayerful in these times of crises.
Earlier I was reading a reflection from Charles Ringma and the title was “Prayer and Activism” and it says (words in paretheses and black are mine),
“It is easier to be a social activist than a person of prayer. (a lot of people choose to be activists but are there people who choose to be pray-er) The activist can at least see some immediate results even though these may be short-term and project-focussed rather than long-term and transformative. The person of prayer seldom sees quick results. The social activist, moreover, is usually lauded for the good work done. The praying person is alone in the struggle of faith and the agony of the heart where no one sees and no one applauds. (Which is actually sad. We laud the tangible and forget that intangible works are what really matters)
Thus prayer is made all the harder. For though we desire to be socially valued persons, prayer is not a socially valued activity. (We sometimes laugh at the thought of praying or with the sight of people praying. We have become hard-hearted that we forget that we need help, we have coated this self-sufficiency by saying to ourselves that nothing is wrong when in fact everything is a mess) Its pursuit is hardly encouraged, seldom appreciated, inadequately understood and without public commendation. Little wonder that people with spiritual concerns are great doers, but infrequent at prayer.” We have become experts in doing something but forget being someone.
I’m no religious person. I don’t belong to any religion but I believe in God. But here in this blog I will offer a prayer to God for Zamboanga, for people displaced because of this war, for the families of those caught in the firefight, for the AFP soldiers, for the MNLF, and for everyone affected in this situation in Zamboanga City.
“Oh God, would you show yourself God above this situation in Zamboanga. I know that You are the God of Peace and would you make that be felt right now. I know you are a God of justice and mercy. Please correct the situation and have mercy with the kids and the families in the evacuation centers and also those who were not able to go to evacuation centers. Would you also stop the people who want to use this crisis for their own personal and political agendas. Would you be God in Zamboanga. Show us your power and might. Amen.”
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You can read my past articles about Zamboanga City below: