Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Very Red Soles Of The Feet


I would love never having to write this post. This message will be black. Black as the grief that has invaded the entire community of journalists in the Philippines yesterday, and across the archipelago, journalists worldwide. Black as the anger inside me today.

Yesterday, Monday, November 23, a convoy led by a campaign team was ambushed by a group of nearly 100 gunmen in Maguindanao province, west of the island of Mindanao. The convoy was going to file the nomination of a local politician, member of the clan Mangudadatu for the post of governor of Maguindanao. A few hours later, dozens of bodies have been found dead, some mutilated. 46 bodies were found. Including those of 12 journalists who accompanied the convoy.

This bloody massacre in the Philippines has a name: Rido. In Mindanao, a Rido is a clan war between two Muslim families, which arises for reasons of honor, litigation land, or as in this case, a confrontation for political domination. Ampatuan take the entire province of Maguindanao, and even part of the region without sharing nearly 10 years. Twenty family members are elected at different local positions, and most of them are never unopposed at elections. Everyone knows that running against the Ampatuan is a lien on his life. And yet that is what makes the clan Mangudadatu, posing against them for the 2010 elections.

The big difference, raising the national outrage in the archipelago, is that this massacre has exceeded the rules of Rido. Never members outside the clan had been deliberately hit in Rido. And in this case, even the journalists were savagely murdered. Reporters Without Borders called today as the most tragic in modern history: "Never in the history journalism, the profession had also paid a heavy price in one day ," RSF said solemnly on its website . What

revolt even more is to see how the barbarism mingles with impunity in the Philippines Wild West. The Ampatuan is a clan of warriors, which has a militia of hundreds of armed men, and protected by the national government, which uses it to "protect" her votes. In 2004 and 2007, Ampatuan assured the Arroyo camp a complete victory in his province. The cheating was so massive that in some cities, not one vote has been counted for the opposition, while the latter won in all other provinces, or almost.

The question now is what will do with Gloria Arroyo ally barbaric? It is feared that on the eve of national elections as sensitive as those of May, the Ampatuan clan does it so well too. And the victims are abandoned to the law of the most revolting fort, in this climate of injustice and impunity.

For further reading, here are many links

Explanations, raw, on RFI

article in The Times analysis of Geneva

bloody footprint private militias in Cross

Conviction RSF

The Ampatuan clan, the Godfathers of Mindanao

the latest news about the massacre

PS January 10: After more a month of excavations, the count of victims is 57 people killed, including 30 journalists. Two more journalists are still missing from the rest and could be in the grave.


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