Pursue Our Journey: Let us March Together
By: Valtimore Fenis
30 May 2015
The Peace March Experience 2015
This year is the 70th year since the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombings during the World War II. The devastations of wars and impact of the nuclear radiations pushed more and more people want to make nuclear use a history. More movements and peoples around the world wanted to totally bury atomic and hydrogen bombs in the grave of history.
That part of world and Japan’s history left scarce to survivors and humanity. The National Peace March that have started in year 1958 and the great movement against nuclear weapons in Japan are strong and meaningful efforts not making that tragic incident happen again.
The sad but real stories of the Hibakushas (nuclear survivors) moved and inspired me and many others to hold on our feet in the ground. Their real life stories are more than enough evidences to hear their plea – total abolition of nuclear weapons and plants anywhere in the world.
Philippines and Mindanao also suffered damages and deaths during the World War II. Philippines have been used as refueling station and a battle ground for axis and ally powers competing to rule the world.
Marching with the pensioners, men, women, workers, youth, kids, small entrepreneurs, persons with disability, nuclear survivors, grass-roots political leaders and other sectors for the abolition of nuclear weapons and against foreign military occupations is a simple but noble effort of the peoples and communities for peace and for humanity. The diverse composition of the marchers only proved that, peace and the future are concerns of all, particularly of the grass-roots.
A wonderful two-week walking and street education experience from Tokyo to Kanagawa Prefecture marked an important part of my journey, our journey – to liberate humanity and the world from fears, dominance and injustices.
Our Peace Journey
For more than 50 years in Japan, citizens have been marching annually to protest nuclear weapons and plants use and after 70 years the survivors of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Atomic bombing have been very active in the same demand but have been pushed beyond the margins and their calls.
Japanese citizens have stood consistently with their resistance to foreign military facilities in their shores and lands. But world power and their elite rulers acted like they did not hear any resistance.
Like in the Philippines and Mindanao – the long struggles of the Indigenous Peoples, Bangsamoro and mass population of Filipino migrants in Mindanao for equal opportunities, democratic rights and access to social services remained elusive and the political and economic powers are in the hands of the few ruling elites collaborating with the international interests.
The resistance of the Philippine population against foreign military forces in their lands and shores have been unheard instead the Philippine Presidents and administrations in the past and present (Aquino III) continuously submitted the country to foreign powers’ control. Concrete here is the Visiting Forces Agreement between Philippines and United States of America in the guise of Mutual Defense and exchange of technology and upgrading combat capacities and recently the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement of both States still. Well, it is basically to host again US and foreign allied troops to have full control in Asia and the Pacific regions. It is not to combat terrorism; instead it is creating peoples’ resistance more radical.
Countries like Japan, Canada, Australia, USA, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and even China have poured investments in Mindanao. Their entry points are the Peace Process, Military and Development Aids to name a few. Upon invitation by the Philippine government opening the rich natural resources of the island (lands, water, minerals, cheap labor), the above-mentioned countries and investors flew in hauled and exploited the natural and human resources we have and they wanted to go on and on until the last drop of these resources.
The Bangsamoro and Indigenous Peoples’ ancestral domains were directly targeted and Philippine government do not care of the impacts of these destructive, extractive and exploitative development policies it is promoting and implementing. The same with the investors and foreign interests, all they want are profits and control.
The few mentioned concerns and struggles are all inter-related and inter-connected to our peace efforts. The campaign against the use and production of nuclear weapons to rights of the survivors to the democratic rights of women, youth and workers to indigenous peoples’ rights to ancestral domains to peoples’ right to self-determination and to safe, sound and balance environment among others are all linked with each other.
We wanted to build and establish a world order that is free from greed, hunger, threats, divide, marginalization and exploitation. We want to put Humanity and Ecology at the center of all to have sustainable world and inclusive peace as our common call. This is our connection, this is our link. We are made to work together and fight for this noble cause.
Fighting against Dominance
More than enough proofs around the world of being tired from war, hunger, displacements and be ruled by the elites. And the world political and economic powers continued to fool us all in the name of “development aids,” “peace and security,” “war against terror,” “employment and development,” and others but there is only one reason for these disguises, dominance. The world powers with their alliances are competing to dominate the world sacrificing and using all means even dividing and destroying countries.
The resistance of opposing world powers to totally ban the production and use of nuclear weapons is just one of the evidence why I said it is a competition of dominating the world. The extraction and control over territories with rich natural and human reserves is simply to compliment this dominance.
The peoples’ actions and resistance all over the world for a sustainable environment and agriculture, for fair trade and economy, for peoples’ rights, for peace and unity, for sectors’ rights and welfare, for real democracy, and against militarism are the strong powers and strengths that the broadest working and toiling masses across the world have. Our duty is to make these struggles be advanced at the world scale while we are more than ready for our alternatives.
The nuclear survivors, peace activists, war veterans turned peace activists and anti foreign military bases movements in Japan and the movements for peace and human rights in Mindanao and Philippines have shared common aspirations – it is the well being of the future generations and sustainability of that peacefulness. We have to start building and strengthening it today.
The Sun is Here and We Will Overcome
Sittie Marxylenn’s The Sun is Here song tells us more than many messages, but I wanted to expound only one. In our conscious, collective and deeply rooted actions success is always reachable. For others it maybe an impossible dream, but we can make it happens if we only believe. We Shall Overcome as Pete Seeger said in his song, and We Will Overcome if we are convinced to make those dreams real. We Will Overcome if we continue to March more together with strong commitment and tomorrow let us be greeted by the Sun shining.
Our participation to Japan Peace March against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs as Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement have been resolved by the Council of Peoples’ Representatives during its regular meeting to be regular upon regular invitation from fellow activists in Japan. Believing in the principle of Solidarity and connectedness of the struggles, we are to march with the peoples of the world for sustainable and inclusive peace.
Let us continue marching on.
Valtimore Fenis, is currently the Deputy Secretary General for Mindanao Migrants and their Descendants of MPPM. He has been an active youth and student activist prior to MPPM’s task.