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Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Tipping Point: How 200 Men Can Change History


The Tipping Point: How 235 Tausugs Can Change World History
by Warina Sushil A. Jukuy

Perry Diaz of PerryScope wrote: “…the Federation of Malaysia has enormously benefited from Sabah. Figures from FACTS Global Energy show that Sabah has about 1.5 billion barrels of oil and about 11 trillion cubic feet of gas in its reserves, which represent about 25% and 12% of Malaysia’s oil and gas reserves, respectively.”
For all that it’s worth, Sabah as the object of conflict has been obfuscated askew and almost into oblivion by overwhelming sense of honor and pride or martabbat on the side of the Raayat and overriding sense of expediency on the side of statesmen.

As civil society organizations from Malaysia, the Philippines and abroad appeal to the the Philippine Government, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III (SJK3), and to the Malaysian Government for humanitarian ceasefire with the firm resolve and pure intention to protect the lives and rights of innocent civilians who are non-combatants and are protectively regarded as the vulnerable sectors of women, children and elderly- I am calling out to those who opt to remain silent and for those who do not care at all because they think they are neither involved nor affected.

The first proactive email that I received from my colleagues was "An Open Letter Calling for Sobriety, Calm and Dialogueon Sabah" initiated by Initiatives for International Dialogue and Mindanao Peaceweavers from Lyndee Prieto of IID which I personally signed; and the next one was from our stopthewar.philippines loop, JOINT STATEMENT OF MALAYSIAN-PHILIPPINE CSOs.

Initially, most of us including myself were utterly amazed about the incredible chutzpah which propelled the 200 royal armed forces led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram under the command of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to set foot on Lahad Datu, a foreign territory that is Malaysia.

Consequently, the incredulous action by a "critical mass" was labeled with a bunch of synonyms: incursion to mean both as an invasion and as a bad mistake, harmless sortie (excursion for me but they do have to be armed not for foraging activities but for self-defense); audacious, impertinent, foolhardy, reckless, rash the nerve, maverick, unreasonable, "kalokohan", "matawakkal" as well as brave, courageous, admirable. 

Even the most revered Bangsamoro-MNLF leader, Nur Misuari himself who was allegedly implicated in a conspiracy commented that it was not his way of doing things, citing that when the MNLF decided to resolve the problem about the Abu Sayyaf’s kidnap-for-ransom trade he deployed 4,000 forces. 

Clearly, the harmless sortie intended not to militarily engage with the Malaysian Armed Forces neither did it intend to wage jihad nor to allow blood to shed unjustly. In a civilization where you have to be armed to be respected (controversial debate on gunless society), you would as a human being naturally ensure your longevity. Had they been unarmed they would have been unceremoniously hoisted by their tails like rats! Unfazed by the might and power of the sovereign power of Malaysia, they valiantly brave the foreign terrain imploring only the help of the Malikul Mulk because they believe they must defend their rights. The secret of their courage stands on the assertion of justice and its fulfillment which for them is above death itself.

Come to think of it, when the Royal Security Forces (RSF) of  Kiram set foot on Sabah's territory, did they launch an offensive? Did they commit any atrocities or “terroristic acts” on the civilians? Did they hostage anyone to insure a leverage? Did they launch any air or ground attacks on Lahad Datu?  Who committed an incursion if incursion denotes and connotes hostile invasion or attack and pillaging? Was it the Raja Muda's 200 men or was it the Malaysian commandos and a Prime Minister who ordered air and ground strikes?

Can Sultan Jamalul Kiram III along with his 200 men be branded as rash and foolhardy? After decades of enduring shrug offs despite letters of appeal to local and international authorities, being duped in an “indeterminate” lease--- it is but crucially relevant for him to take a hard stance just so the United Nations (UN) and the international community most especially Malaysia will realize that the legal heirs and their proprietary rights are real and not imagined. 

It is a swan's song so-to-speak, in a bid to protect, to assert, to defend and to promote the proprietary rights of all its heirs, its Royal kins. Sultan Jamalul Kiram III  believes that it is his last remaining moments of striving to fulfill the amanat (trust) which he owes to the Raayat (Sulu citizenry) being mindful that he and all of his blood relatives were nurtured from one root, the Shariful Hashim, who belonged to the Ahlul Bayt. There was a golden era in Sulu when the Sultanate was ruled by the Sultan who ruled holding the Qur'an on his right hand while holding the "legendary kris" on his left hand fully aware as he did that if he were to violate the Qur'an while in power then the kris that he wields will be the very sword that will behead him.

I quote Director Fatmawati T. Salapuddin of  the Bureau of Peace and Conflict Resolution-NCMF: 

"To the ordinary "raayat" it does not really matter who is chosen to be Sultan, for now Jamalul III is the one, they are all cousins and came from just one tree. What matters is the Sultanate that includes the "raayat" who are being killed in that war while others are silently hurt and just praying hard, the support may not be understood by outsiders but it is there. Allah is all knowing and merciful."  
Dir. Salapuddin is one of the commissioners to the Transition Commission of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Likewise, I laud the gallantry of Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario who apologized for the Kiram’s missing letter on the Sabah claim, and who publicly and remorsefully took full responsibility for his oversight."  

I commend Sultan Ibrahim Q. Bahjin Shakirullah II, who despite being proclaimed by a Sulu Majlis from multi-stakeholders as Paramount Sultan- in a magnificent display of prudence and chivalry declared unselfishly in the spirit of solidarity during the wake of the Sabah standoff:
 “We are supporting the sultanate cause. And if that cause is suppressed and a sultan is being threatened to jail, here is another Sultan who is willing to go to jail if that is what this government is all about. And if this government thinks that by suppressing us they will solve the problem, they will never solve it. This is about ideology. And ideologies never die. The dreamer may perish but the dream is indestructible. Forever in our horizon awaiting the next dreamer to be reborn. This is what Ninoy Aquino stood and died for. We wept for his death. Let not his ideology die with his SON.”
Moreover, I admire the selflessness of MNLF Founding Chairman Nur Misuari for rushing to the defense of the vulnerable Sultan when the latter was imperiled of imprisonment. According to media, Misuari lambasted Aquino for the mishandling of the Sabah standoff and warned that any attempt to arrest Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III would plunge the country in “total chaos.” The MNLF leader manifested true compassion for a Muslim brother, that a true Muslim would never wish for another what he would not for himself. A rare man of elevated status Chairman Misuari is, masha'ALLAH who never intends to forsake his brethren even when most of them have forsaken him when he was in distress. Qadarullaahi wa ma'shaa afa alaa...fa inna maal usri yusra.


Woefully I believe that the same cannot be said with "some" of the royal kins and personalities who only after the unilateral ceasefire suddenly materialize from nowhere to point accusing fingers unmindful of the hadith to avoid spying and suspicion in order to avoid chewing on the carcass of his brethren as well as to desist from pronouncing judgment by giving his brethren 70 reasons/alibis before doing so…in legal parlance: the benefit of the doubt and the presumption of innocence unless otherwise proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt! Amidst differences, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III's kins must realize that "at this crucial moment" he is the linchpin to the Sultanate's Sabah Claim.

It cannot be said that maximum forbearance and tolerance was never exerted by the Raayat. Naturally,  apart from the injustice suffered from Sabah claim, the threshold is reached; a series of events (ie enforced disappearances committed against innocent ulama/asatidz/Moros alike; violation of the right to religious freedom visavis infraction of the right to wear hijaab and niqaab; impunity; genocidal acts committed against the perpetuation of Islamic education)  are like dots connected to each other which solidified has now become a critical mass fuelling a gamut of churning emotions from the Bangsamoro masses, the Sulu Raayat and even from Filipino and international citizens bordering from mockery, ridicule, denouncement, indignation, anxiety, rebellion, panic to confusion. However, what was prominent was the feeling of indignation that the President has abandon and forsaken its own people who are now labeled to commit terroristic acts.

The UN Sec Gen has called out to all principal parties to dialogue and to end the cul de sac peacefully. In response to UN’s exhortation the Sultan promptly declared a unilateral ceasefire which the Malaysian Prime Minister rejected by opting for unconditional surrender; while the President of GPH continues to study airtight charges to file against the Kirams. Alhamdulillaahi alaa kulli haal

Now, who among them is truly audacious and unreasonable? A statesman who deals with a harmless sortie using violence and military overkill by indiscriminately affecting innocent, vulnerable civilians who are actuallu non-combatants; an aging Sultan who commits harmless incursion to get UN’s attention in its quest for justice; or another statesman who remains a fence straddler.

Who can blame the Malaysian Prime Minister for instinctively rushing rashly to the defense upon what he views as an unlawful encroachment upon his territory? 
Why would 200 harmless men provoke him to use military overkill against them? 
Why would his threshold break to the point of declaring "for as long as it takes he would pursue these 200 men"? 
Who can blame President P-Noy whose instinct seemingly overruled his probity by being more anxious of sustaining diplomatic ties rather than abandoning or severing kinship ties with Tausugs who are undoubtedly very much Filipino citizens? 
Clearly, now is not the time for senseless blaming and deprecations; now is the time for all principal parties “to right” the incursions that they have understandably committed against each other because the best judgment of each of them have been obfuscated by the sudden emergence of critical mass of events. 

I strongly believe that bi idhnillah the tipping point can STILL be directed towards a common ground which is: peace anchored on justice. insha'ALLAH.

When we think of the welfare and well-being of the majority; we have to make decisions that are grounded on human rights and justice for ALL.

In this cul de sac that was a defensive stance initially but now has been tackled using offensive engagement by the Malaysian government, we implement solutions by not issuing verdict and judgment without due process of law. 

When the scales are tipped, and the oppressed are push to the edge, they naturally take drastic decisions which the PRESIDENT must bear in mind that he did not order in the first place. The instinct of a statesman must be to contain an imminent smoke not to rage into a lethal explosion and not to outweigh ethical and moral considerations by reasons of expediency . The key is to LISTEN: the condition of the Sultan was dialogue about Sabah claim. Now, what we have now is a “standoff with a potential explosive situation” which could have easily been curtailed by tolerance for dialogue.

A leader no matter how mighty but who refuses to budge just to hold on tight to his pride reduces himself into a loser by default. Is it so hard to accept truce? Is it so hard to listen and dialogue? Can truce and listening via dialogue be achieved only by use of aggression such as by threat using hostages?

Perry Diaz of PerryScope wrote: “…the Federation of Malaysia has enormously benefited from Sabah. Figures from FACTS Global Energy show that Sabah has about 1.5 billion barrels of oil and about 11 trillion cubic feet of gas in its reserves, which represent about 25% and 12% of Malaysia’s oil and gas reserves, respectively.” 

For all that it’s worth, Sabah as the object of conflict has been obfuscated askew and almost into oblivion by overwhelming sense of honor and pride or martabbat on the side of the Raayat and overriding sense of expediency on the side of statesmen.

INTEREST AND WELFARE OF THE MAJORITY

THUS, by virtue of humans patriae as Vanguard of the State, the PRESIDENT of the Philippines must protect the oppressed and the down-trodden be they a measly number of Filipino citizens, nonetheless, they have the right to be protected and defended.

As it is, the PRESIDENT appealed censoriously; he did not exhibit any semblance of compassion for Raja Muda Agbimuddin and his men or for the Sultanate of Sulu’s claim who are in the brink of utter desperation when the President in all probity could have acted as a 3rd-Party Interventionist to protect the proprietary rights of Sulu Sultanate and the lives that are currently endangered.

Can you blame the Sulu Sultan and his royal forces for their stubborn stance? Where there is unfounded injustice, repression and suppression; there is spiral of HRV and concomitant violence. Consequently, there is LOSS OF TRUST and CONFIDENCE in the GOVERNMENT to promote, RESPECT and FULFILL the rights of MUSLIMS. The President’s appeal sounded as an ultimatum and made the Sulu Sultan and his royal forces that their President has relinquished his responsibility on them because it seemed that the President is more concern with bilateral ties with Malaysia. Showing respect for a human being’s dignity is not a sign of weakness even for a State President.

Not only the Filipinos are worth dying for, even Tausugs are worth dying for unless you regard them not as citizens of the Philippines. National integrity and honor and is not endemic to the President unless he is unconsciously severing off the Sulu Sultanate from the ties that bind the Philippine National Security, Intergrity and Honor. Why would he even doubt the legitimacy of Sulu Sultanate’s claim when since 1878 until present the Sultan and his heirs are still receiving the annual lease from Malaysia?

STIMULUS OF THE PELL MELL?

From my point of view, the Raayat's indignant reaction is provoked (roiled pell mell indeed by PNoy) by the stimulus of how The President of the Philippines ordered and threatened the (Crown Prince) Raja Muda Agbimuddin and his Royal Forces.

The disrespect and rudeness made by the President to the Sultanate of Sulu heirs is actually an affront to the dignity of the Sulu People and their ancestors; it resurrected to life hallowed memories of the past of how the Tausugs have died and been martyred in defense of Islam and Nation: Bud Dajo, Jabidah Massacre, 1974, Defending the Revolt in aid of the Sultan of Brunei and North Borneo in 1704 and the injustice of the Sabah Lease.

This stimulus evoked a havoc of emotions stirring and stoking afire the righteousness and glory to fight back in defense of one's lost honor. That through out these years that the "majority (Raayat) of the minority" Muslims have suffered and tolerated systemic corruption and oppression--- condescended and trusted to be ruled by non-Muslims under the Republic (by chosing to forbear in the name of as-Salaam)--- but these were the very same people who betrayed their sense of kinship by making them feel that they do not belong and have never belonged in the sense that they are not regarded as "karugtong ng pambansang dangal" in terms of National Security and Integrity; That Their President would rather incite the citizenry in defense of Spratlys than it would even bother to protect and defend the symbolical vestiges of the Sulu Sultanate of Sulu.

Not only the Tausugs but even Muslims of other tribes and nations including surprisingly non-Muslim Filipinos- are emotionally stirred by the insult---it was not really the words that PNoy spoke nor the demeanor he projected but the chilling effect of a realization: it is so easy for the President to abandon our people. Our President who avowed he was our boss has forsaken us.

And so the Raayat were reminded cruelly of the oppressive past and how their ancestors have valiantly strove to thrive amidst waves of colonial conquests, and each reminder throughout history spoke of death and countless deaths, and with each dying memory they agonized, bled, and died with them. The traumatic experience of remembering is spiralling towards the need to fight back in order to survive the pain---and if death comes at least the end will pain---and at least they have died fighting and were not just slaughtered like helpless animals in the abbatoir.

THE BOON AND BANE OF THE INCURSION:

To recover from this appalling turn of events, we focus our attention on the positive side. Our Sultan and our ancestry was unconsciously affronted by the insensitive President P-Noy so that:

 1.  the whole world will know that the SULU SULTANATE OWNS SABAH (since 1704) but under lease since 1878 up today; 

2. if a President such as PNOY will not choose to recognize a Sultan of Sulu and will not even bother to talk with the SULU SULTAN diplomatically just to scorn him THEN ALLAH decrees and deems it that the leader of 193 nations no less than UN SECGEN BAN KI-MOON will honor, respect and recognize him before the world. ALLAH indeed is the sole debaser of mortals as well as the sole elevator of rank or status as He wills...ALLAHU AKBAR!

"Hasbunallaahu wa ni'mal wakeel...these sudden series of historical upheaval are amazing. None from amongst us wanted this :) meantime we dua'a and forbear insha'ALLAH. Maraming mga isyu at katanungan ang nabuksan, maaring masama sa unang tingin pero sadyang may kakambal na katotohanan na siyang nagbalot ng liwanag sa kasaysayan ng Sultanato ng Sulu at ng North Borneo.

If in exposing historical truth, consequentially would ultimately bring benefit to the progeny of the Muslim Filipinos to enjoin good and forbid evil...and to finally end the centuries-old perpetuation of injustice and historical and economic genocide upon the Bangsamoro, then the Raja Muda Agbimuddin and his men would never have to die in vain after all...

Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un...Allah indeed is our Sole Protector, The Best To Protect and the Best To Help... this sufficeth more than upgrading one's capability in terms of billions can...

"Yet as we confront this possibility, I affirm that it is totally unacceptable for us to allow any “collateral damage” befalling upon our innocent brothers and sisters who have been suffering long and oftentimes in silence, whenever we’ve allowed the offensive guns to speak loudest." Thus, my only recourse is to hit my keyboards in order to create a resounding statement that will reverberate within the hearts of all principal parties to this conflict most especially to those who are inclined to wield power using the lethal language of their guns to silence justice. 

THE SABAH CLAIM

A Google search for the word "Sabah," the state at the center of Malaysia's biggest security crisis in years, came back with a search results page that quotes "Wikipedia" calling Malaysian control of the state "illegitimate." "Sabah is illegitimately considered one of the 13 member states of Malaysia, and is said to be its easternmost state but in fact, it is part of the Sultanate of Sulu," the passage read, shown in a box previewing the Wikipedia entry for Sabah.

I respectfully affirm Senator Salonga’s statement that “the contract of lease on the basis of British documents and records cannot be disputed here or abroad and that it contains a technical description of the territory in terms of natural boundaries, thus:

“… all the territories and lands being tributary to us on the mainland of the island of Borneo commencing from the Pandassan River on the NW coast and extending along the whole east coast as far as the Sibuco River in the south and comprising, among others, the states of Peitan, Sugut, Bangaya, Labuk, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Muniang and all the other territories and states to the southward thereof bordering on Darvel Bay and as far as the Sibuco River with all the islands within three marine leagues of the coast.”

Further, that “thousands of years ago, what is now known as the Philippines and what is known today as Borneo used to constitute a single historical, cultural, economic unit…Borneo is only 18 miles away from us today…North Borneo, formerly known as Sabah, was originally ruled by the sultan of Brunei. In 1704, in gratitude for help extended to him by the sultan of Sulu in suppressing a revolt, the sultan of Brunei ceded North Borneo to the Sulu sultan.” [http://globalnation.inquirer.net/66739/salonga-explains-sabah-claim/ excerpts from a speech that Sen. Jovito R. Salonga delivered on March 30, 1963]

THE TIES THAT BINDS NATIONAL INTEGRITY

Where has the President’s bravado gone now? Is this the same Pres Noynoy who spoke of national security and patriotism in clear terms (alluding to Spratlys) during his SONA in 2011? “Kung seguridad na rin lang po ang ating pag-uusapan, di ba’t karugtong din nito ang ating pambansang dangal? Dati, hindi man lang natin makuhang pumalag tuwing may sisindak sa atin sa loob mismo ng ating bakuran. Malinaw ang pahiwatig natin ngayon sa buong mundo: Ang sa Pilipinas ay sa Pilipinas; kapag tumapak ka sa Recto Bank, para ka na ring tumapak sa Recto Avenue.” Does his bravado begin only in Spratlys and terminate on Sabah claim?

Perhaps, this is exactly the sentiment that Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and Raja Muda Agbimuddin III are resonating to their State President, to Malaysia and to the rest of the world at the moment: “That like Noynoy, they want peace and they do not have any intention to engage in an offensive skirmish; that they merely wish to proclaim to the world that what is rightfully the Sulu Sultanate’s is the Sulu Sultanate’s; and that they are merely sending a message across that like the President, they are more than ready to defend what is lawfully theirs.”

Kung talagang isinasaalang-alang nga ng ating Pangulo “ang kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino nasaan man sila naroroon---bakit kaya ang mga Pinuno ng mga Bansa kapag yaman at pera na ang usapin---hindi na dinadaan sa 4-way test tulad na lang ng pagbibigay pahintulot sa EXXOn-Mobil sa pagbabarina ng pusod ng Karagatan ng Sulu kahit pa magdudulot ito ng malubhang pinsala at panganib hindi lamang sa mismong buhay ng mga mamamayang Pilipino kundi maging sa kanilang kapaligiran-kalikasan at maging sa paglawig ng mismong buhay ng mundo?!?

Maraming mga isyu at katanungan ang nabuksan, maaring masama sa unang tingin pero sadyang may kakambal na katotohanan na siyang nagbalot ng liwanag sa kasaysayan ng Sultanato ng Sulu at ng North Borneo. If in exposing historical truth, consequentially would ultimately bring benefit to the progeny of the Muslim Filipinos to enjoin good and forbid evil...and to finally end the centuries-old perpetuation of injustice and historical and economic genocide upon the Bangsamoro, then the Raja Muda Agbimuddin and his men would never have to die in vain after all...Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un...Allah indeed is our Sole Protector, The Best To Protect and the Best To Help... this sufficeth more than upgrading one's capability in terms of billions can...