They say: “You teach children to be rebels”.
No, sirs, YOU teach children to be rebels.
You teach them when you kill their parents and teachers, and torch the cooperatives that provide their food.
You teach them when you prod them with guns and force them to watch murder.
You teach them when you lay waste to their lands, fell their trees and dig their soil to death.
Education is a major weapon against poverty. But, yes, it also widens the knowledge and fortifies the spirit to resist what harms the land and people and culture.
You can torch their schools, kill their teachers, maim their parents. But you will not kill their minds or their spirits. And the children will not forget.
Why do they hunt Lumad teachers, Lumad leaders?
Why do they hound the Lumad children?
In the Alcadev and the TRIPPS schools of Lianga, Surigao Sur, they eat better than most lumad children in areas where communities are not organized.
They wake early to farm. They eat the food they plant; learn to share life chores. They also learn to value the land that gives life to their people.
They are taught pride in their culture, in their history. They are taught independence and taught that they are equal to everyone else.
They are taught about the rights of citizens.
This is what their enemies fear.
Because the downtrodden and the weak are easily shoved aside in the stampede for Mindanao’s lush resources.
Because the powers-that-be cannot stand the sight of lumad who do not grovel.
They are hunted for a simple reason.
They are hunted because they act like free humans and not the slaves the powers want them to be.