NASHIZA SPEAKS: Return to Sender

A Letter that I wanted to Send but No Reader*

Assalamu alaikum, brother. As in my past communications, I know you wouldn’t have time to reply, perhaps, not having enough patience to even read this brief note to the finish. Just the same, I am compelled to write as I take you sending me the 20-page or so document containing the Bangsamoro history-situationer-in-one-gulp, a political statement. Thus, this sister-to-a-brother intimation. Yes, I read the whole thing in one breathe, and at the end of the last footnote, sighed, as I usually would, afterall you do it everyday, swallowing hook, line, and sinker. Indeed, it is ‘history’ and ‘political science’ lesson 101 all over again. Perhaps, this exercise of hitting ‘reply’ and pounding the keys are more self-serving than an actual need to correspond; an introspection rather than a reaching-out. To be more precise, yes, a purging ritual for an activist who have lost the gleam in the eyes because of the dusts of deceptions and betrayals that blind rather than enlighten the heart and mind; or better yet a therapeutic massage of whose clenched fists and braced jaw have gone slack and numbed by the many pregnancies of political dreams aborted and child-births of babies-turned-frankensteins. All because Moro men (and women-turned-men) have committed polygamous politics and deny us the right to divorce! And this is speaking not as a teeny bopper having her puppy-love-affair with political activism, believe me, after devoting more than half of my life time since I decided to raise that placard just after turning 14, I ate, dreamt and lived the same idealism. Honestly, I can appreciate, yet is still as baffled, of how people could still speak fondly and nobly of the Moro Liberation Fronts. But I could not muster the right euphemisms anymore. Unless we see scholarly works and political speeches rubbed-off of all the rhetoric, much still remain to be written and un-written. We want concrete outcomes on the ground, in homes, in hearts… not in glossy academic papers and well-researched proposals or political analises certainly not of  those dubious ones by intellectuals and self-claimed religious authorities cum political cadres who have not felt what ‘loss of self-determination’ and ‘oppression’ really are in being invisible and powerless while dumped to the side and assigned roles to weep and heal the wounds (peace-criers, huh!) as men having the sole privilege of digging the grave, burying and avenging the dead are exclusively performing the salatu’l janazah to save souls, too, while women are conveniently excused for having menstruations or hushed off to the kitchen to fetch the snacks. Tell me what oppression is if you have mastered the art of biting off expletives at the tip of your tongue as you help yourself to the same cassava and herring-fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner, after the sons, uncles, fathers and husbands have all taken their fill. Everything tastes the same papery taste, isn’t it? So these 20 pages are waste-basket talks reeking with the stinks of patriarchal nationalist propagandas. Sandwiches that do not fill. Bland to the Moro palate. You’ve just got to admit it, the women have to be sent in to grind more chilly pepper to bring in a real hearty feast to your peace negotiating tables. Salam-du’ah.

* you will also read this return-to-sender letter in G. Mangansakan (ed.) 2007 “Children of Ever-changing Moon” (2007) published by [Anvil]


About Mucha Q. Arquiza
Supports the preservation and promotion of indigenous knowledge systems

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