Notes on Peace: In Ciudad de Sambuwangan

Nonfiction by | July 31, 2016

The rugged coastline came into view as our plane approached the airport of Zamboanga City, Sambuwangan to the ancient Sama people. This was only my second time to visit this city. The first time was a quick stopover as we transitted for Tawi-Tawi. But this second visit, only days after the Zamboanga Siege, and with the city still trying to salvage itself from the trauma of those days, brings out various emotions in me.

As we neared land, houses on stilts below us grew larger, ships lining the coast called eager young men and women to a better life, perhaps in Sabah. Flooded houses also grew more vivid, reminding the plane’s passengers of yet another recent calamity that hit the city.

I searched within me if I’ve come prepared for the work ahead. Have I read enough materials on this siege? How much do I know of the ethnic diversity in the area, to better understand the situation? How sensitive am I to woundedness? Will anyone be ever really prepared to face such monsters as trauma and grief?

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