Brother Karl M. Gaspar, CSsR, in his foreword for the book, “Mindanao Muslim History”, that was launched at the Ateneo de Davao University Finster Auditorium Wednesday night, wrote:
“For in the words of the poet-philosopher George Santayana — ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ Indeed, how can we even remember the past, if we have not heard or learned about what the past in Mindanao was?”
This is the crux of all this talk about historical injustices, neglect, diregard, and everything else in between that has made Filipinos in general look down on Mindanao and Mindanaoans as if the island group remains in the prehistoric times and the people are not worthy of their company; worse, not worthy of crafting their own peace and development.
What made the booklaunch different from all other booklaunch so far is that it was held at night, after the breaking of the fast. After all, we are well into the Ramadan season. Ramadan started last May 26, 2017, a Friday. The book launching came the week after, on June 1.
There were two things launched that night, by the way. The first was the Mindanao-Sulu Timeline by the Mindanao Peace and Education History Project of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, in partnership with the World Bank. The timeline, aimed to support the peace process highlights covering Political, Cultural, Economic and Ecological strands in history that provide a multi-dimensional context for understanding that the “Legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, historical injustice, human rights violations, and marginalization through land dispossession” are “the consequences of three mutually reinforcing phenomena: deep neglect by the State (and lack of a vision for the common good), violence (including systematic socioeconomic, political and cultural exclusion, and disproportionate use of direct violence), supported by a deeply embedded (nationwide culture and practice of) impunity”, the root cause of which “lies in the imposition of a monolithic Filipino identity and Philippine State by force on multiple ethnic groups in Mindanao and Sulu that saw themselves as already preexisting nations and nation-states”, as the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) says.
It starts from the Upper Cretacious Period somewhere between 145- to 65-million years ago to 320 AD during which the balangays of Butuan were said to have been sailing for global trade, off to April 21, 900, the date indicated in te Laguna Copperplate granting perpetial pardon to a certain Lord Namwaan and his descendants by Lord Minister of Dewata (now Butuan), the Islmization of Mindanao starting year 1200 until 2016.
It being Ramadhan, after dinner and the timeline launching it was time to take a break for Tarawee or Tarawih prayer. As defined, Tarawih (Arabic: تراويح) refers to extra prayers performed by Sunni Muslims at night in the month of Ramadhan. The break took some 20 minutes as the Muslims in the audience went to Rooms 711 and 712 for their prayer.
After that, the book launching.
The book, published by Ateneo de Davao University was welcomed by all, academic community, clergy, and private sector alike considering that you can hardly access historical documents of Muslim Mindanao that date back from the time the Spaniards came.
Here at last, in one book, and in one timeline evidence that yes, Mindanao was an autonomous and burgeoning trade center long before the Spaniards came and relegated it to the back burner.
Copies of the book are available at the Ateneo de Davao University Publications Office for only Php350.00 at the 8th Floor Community Center of the First Companions, Ateneo de Davao University, Roxas Avenue, Davao City. Landline is (082) 221-24-11 local 8213 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org.