How do I remember thee? Let me count the ways.
I remember my Inna, our grand aunt, (may Allah have mercy on her) used to scare us to sleep by saying "naa yan na in mawis" (the Maoist [rebels] are coming).
I remember Mimi used to recount her close encounter with the labud kind (millipedes) during their 'escape' from fighting between the rebels and the army: How she would shriek loudly much to my father's bewilderment for his new bride.
I remember an old picture of my grand father Ustadh Ghalib Jundam shaking hand with then president Marcos because of his effort for peace.
I remember my father used to tell us the story how the army massacred innocent civilians during a wedding including her sister babu Rahma who perished with her husband. This was supposedly a revenge act of the army when general Bautista was ambushed days previously.
I remember my aunts Inah Nanah and Inah Illang telling us that their husbands, including other men, were asked to step out from public transports at check points and that they haven't seen them again until this very day.
I remember Amah Papi (Dad's father) used to have hectares and hectares of farmed land including coconuts that were burned down by the army thinking that the rebels may hide in them. That before the war he would have so much produce he had to export lanzones and other exotic fruits out from Jolo to mainland Mindanao.
I remember our elders talk about the' burning of jolo', how horrible it was.
I remember migrating to Manila at a tender age of ten and being nauseated with jeepney's fumes so that Dad had to rent a Calesa to bring me back home from school.
I remember how my classmates in Saint Rita College asked me on the first day of school : How many have I killed already?
I remember SPCPD during my college days when Nur Misuari and President Ramos shared nomination for a peace prize.
I remember Ustadh Hashim Salamat.
I remember I used to write under pseudonyms 'Meem Aliph' and 'albangsamori'
I remember the Mamasapano incident and how senator AP Cayetano grilled Mohagher Iqbal, a man entrusted with peace by a large section of Bangsamoro people.
Truth is I wasn't around when Jabidah happened. It was after full seven years and seven months less one day that I was born. But its effect shaped my memory of my self, my family, my people.
Truth is my cousins were orphaned after the Jabidah massacre when Muslims organized themselves to fight back. Orphaned not because their fathers joined the rebels but because they were just randomly chosen as potential rebels. My aunts until now are silently mourning. Widowed forty seven years before the widows of SAF 44 mourned.
Truth is my grand father haven't recovered financially after the war. How until now, the orphans made by the aftermath of Jabidah, my cousins and even some of their children are working as domestic helpers exposed to potential abused by their employers.
Truth is we Muslims are still suffering from discrimination. That the dream of many Bangsamoro generations of peace in my home land are just like a play thing in the hands of lawmakers headed by an irate senator who seemed to believe he is fighting a crusade against the moors of old.
Fact is Philippines hasn't harnessed its full economic potential to develop Mindanao and its vast resources because of instability in the region.
I remember Jabidah massacre at this very moment because in front of me is an empty bottle of soft drink. Particularly the fact that I don't have to pay for its deposit. Ahh I'm not in the Philippines where I have to pay for its deposit. I'm an OFW because my resource rich homeland cannot sustain me and my family. It reminds me that I am separated from my parents. It reminds me of Jabidah massacre.