As expected, the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN, as well as world leaders like American President Donald Trump, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang were silent on the just concluded Rape of Marawi as well as the genocide of Rohingyas and the Extrajudicial Killings in Manila and nearby provinces.
Marawi City was ravaged by the Philippine government for more than 6 months with heavy aerial bombings and tank and artillery attacks. The city’s buildings, houses, and mosques were totally destroyed. And the houses and buildings were looted. And many civilians were killed.
On May 23, 2017, the government of President Duterte declared Martial Law in Marawi and the whole island of Mindanao. Duterte, with the collusion of the political leaders of Marawi and the governor and vice governor of Lanao del Sur, demanded that the city dwellers leave their city for other places. An exodus was immediately organized.
The reason for the evacuation of the whole city and the declaration of Martial Law was the presence of some 50 armed people of the Maute clan claiming to be ISIS soldiers.
After the evacuation of the city, the military still did not enter Marawi. Instead, they gave the Maute supporters time to deploy themselves all over the city, choosing the choicest spots for snipers. After 3 days or so, the government entered Marawi with hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles and thousands of soldiers. And the bombings started. Every day. For six months.
The media, local and foreign, dubbed the Rape of Marawi as the “Marawi Siege”, with the Maute family and supporters doing the siege. The Cambridge dictionary online defines siege as “the surrounding of a place by an armed force in order to defeat those defending it.”
The Philippine Armed Forces surrounded Marawi City and the ones defending their positions inside the city were the Maute family and their supporters. But the media made it appear that the Mautes were the ones doing the siege.
And now, with the “war” officially over, the government and the military still control Marawi. Marawi is now a garrison city. The government announced a team composed of Christian Filipino officials to “rehabilitate” Marawi. Reportedly, there are plans to put a large military base in the city.
President Duterte proclaimed the end of the war on Oct. 17, but up to today, most residents of Marawi are still not allowed to return to their homes. Everything is under the control of the military. Residents’ movements are controlled and they all must present IDs.
Martial Law is still in place and it is expected that it will continue to be in place, esp. in Marawi City.
The supposed representatives of the Bangsa Moro, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are totally quiet. Both groups’ leaders expect themselves to be made rulers of two Moro federal states that will be created by President Duterte. The MILF is predominantly Maguindanaon while MNLF is predominantly TauSug. Marawi City and Lanao del Sur province are inhabited by the Mranaos, a distinct nation of more than a million people with a history and culture quite different from other Moro groups
FILIPINO SOLDIERS NOT HEROES
Contrary to government propaganda, the Filipino soldiers who destroyed and looted Marawi, aside from killing civilians, are not heroes. The Mranaos themselves could have easily fought off the Maute family – without destroying the city. In fact, Mranao top government officials supposedly told President Duterte that the Mranaos can handle the Mautes themselves, but Duterte insisted on letting his military do it.
The Mranaw and Moro political leaders are partly to blame. They somehow lost their balls.
As one Facebook Page admin wrote: “Marawi did not fall before the might of the Spanish Empire. But it fell before the tanks and aerial bombings of the Philippine government (with the help of US drones and military advisers) playing war games with a ragtag “army” of Moro fundamentalists belonging to one clan, while Marawi inhabitants evacuated to nearby places, abandoning their homes and territory and thus losing soooo much more..”
Hopefully, the Mranaos and the rest of the Bangsa Moro have learned their lessons. First, never trust the Philippine government. Second, never trust the so-called representatives of the Bangsa Moro to the Peace Talks, the MILF and the MNLF. They are there for their vested interests. Third, a handful of Mranaos, including a lot of children, can take on the full might of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for 6 months. There’s no telling what an organized Mranao army, or even a Bangsa Moro army can do.
The Rape of Marawi is a game changer. The Mranaos have a long memory. This will never be forgotten.
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