Saturday, August 29, 2009

Reflecting On Peace Practices

I am now back in Davao. For the next 2 weeks I will be working with colleague Myla Leguro on a project for CDA Collaborative Learning Projects called Reflecting on Peace Practices. We will be traveling around Mindanao meeting peace stakeholders to try to surface what peace practices have worked. The results of our work will be a case study paper posted on the CDA site.

For more information on this project and previous case studies go to: CDA RPP

Monday, August 17, 2009

Loosing Your Head on an F-12

My dad, Carl, suggested that Sol, David and I go to the Rough and Tumble antique tractor/steam show in Kinsers, Pennsylvania last Friday. What a calliope of steam whistles, huffing diesels and slow put puts of ancient stationary engines. In the midst of hundreds of old restored tractors, dad told us of the time he nearly lost his head (literally) in a farming accident as a young man.

He was driving the family International F-12 tractor, pulling 2 heavily loaded hay wagons down a hill. As he looked back, he noticed the tongue of the first hay wagon starting to bend under the pressure. Keeping a cool head (figuratively) he quickly turned right as the pin sheared off and the wagons careened down the hill. The tractor stayed upright and all was well. He told us that, if he would have taken no action, the wagons would have run up over the back wheels and pinned him against the steering wheel.

If that would have happened, I would not be writing this today.
Dad with the International F-12

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Passing of an Icon

Cory Aquino, former president and icon of the EDSA revolution in 1986, succumbed to her bout with cancer while I was here in the Philippines. Beloved by many, she was mourned continuously in many parts of the country from the time of her death last early Saturday morning to the funeral today (Wednesday). The Manila Cathedral was packed and the streets where her casket passed were pressed with people waiting to say good-by. The television stations had nonstop coverage of the events of her life, emotional comments from grieving family and friends and reflections on her presidency. Today was declared a non-working holiday. While out on the streets today many a small vendor had a TV tucked into the corner of their shop, each tuned into the funeral as a majority of the country collectively stopped for a moment in time.

Not everyone has been equally affected by this outpouring of national grief. When Ms. Aquino died I was in Western Mindanao, which has a high population of Bangsamoro people. No one bothered to tell me of Cory's passing and the coverage was more subdued. The recently jumpstarted peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will take a hiatus today. As one Muslim friend told me, “today is an emotional day…. A day for condolences…tomorrow we begin politics again.”