Women Youth Speak Against War
A statement by GABRIELA Youth — La Consolacion College,Mendiola, Manila. (La Consolacion College is an exclusive girls’ school located just a few meters from Malacanang Palace.)
We are a generation bearing witness to wars unfolding in our midst. We have heard our brothers and sisters in Mindanao cry protests against human rights violations committed against them by American and Philippine governments’ war machine. From all over the world, we hear resounding dissent against the looming U.S. war of aggression against Iraq. We saw Iraq, East Timor, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and countless other countries sucked into vortex of war’s destruction.
We look back to World War II, when the U.S. dragged our forbearers into the pits of destruction. We are daughters of women who lived in constant fear and danger of military rape, abuse and dispossession, and of hundreds becoming comfort women for sex-starved attackers. We are daughters of men sent to combat at war’s bidding. We are witness to humanity flailing deep into the embers of biological warfare, deadly air strikes, village scorching, hunger and death due to food blockade and economic sanction, genocide and mass annihilation. We are a generation that has learned that economic, political and military power is acquired and asserted by a few as they leave billions of the world population trampled on their heels.
Our country was caught in a crossfire that it never intended to be dragged into. But the Philippines was, and is still is, America’s economic and military stronghold in the Pacific. And so we are again at war’s door. With U.S. President George W. Bush’s declaration of war against Iraq, our people will again suffer the wrath of war, all in the bloody name of the U.S. government’s thirst for oil, military power and economic resurgence. With President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo following Bush, our fellow Filipinos and our country are wont to suffer from this imminent war of aggression. The lives and livelihood of 1.5 million Filipino workers in the Middle East, of which 65% are women domestic helpers, face outright devastation. Our country’s economy will suffer the crunch of war. The prospect of war has already sent the Philippine peso into the pits of devaluation, and is in danger of falling even deeper when the war in the Middle East eventually erupts. We are a freedom-loving people , yet we are dragged.
Wars of aggression are, indeed, both destructive and oppressive. The struggle of the oppressed is the struggle against forgetting, so history teaches us. We are a generation that struggles to remember war as deadly, dangerous, oppressive. History commands us to recognize and act against the evils of war, or else perish in its wake.
We are a generation that has not lost hope in our collective strength, a generation that struggles to live up to the ideal of being the hope of our nation. We collectively toppled a rotten presidency during EDSA II, let not history remember us as a generation that cowered in the face of war. The US’ war of aggression against Iraq should be stopped, and the united voices of this generation shall make a resounding call of resistance. We are a generation bearing witness to the wars unfolding in our midst, but we vow not to be a generation of acquiescence.
March 7, 2002
Read during a Forum for Peace, La Consolacion College Auditorium, Mendiola, Manila
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002