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Interconnected struggles of Bangsamoro and Palestinians

A protest with Palestinian flags being waved by several people
Participants during the World Social Forum 2024 in Kathmandu, Nepal participated in a mobilization with a call to free Palestine. (Photo: Oxfam in Asia)

As a Bangsamoro advocate in the Philippines who has fought for our existence and the right to our land, I find it relatable how Palestinians are continuously fighting for their land, which has been occupied for seventy-five (75) years.

Our experiences of injustices such as massacres, land grabbing, and displacement of civilians in every encounter between the Philippine Armed Forces and the Bangsamoro Armed Forces resonate deeply with the Palestinians and their experiences with their occupying state.

During the intercontinental youth forum, a member of the Al-Bustan Association in Silwan, Occupied East Jerusalem, shared her struggles living under occupation. Their organization is labeled as a terrorist organization for assisting women and children who are illegally arrested. She described how their childhood was disrupted by continuous arrests of her family members and the threat of illegal expulsion from their house. Despite the challenges they are facing, they still continue to fight and resist an occupying state until the day they reclaim their right to their land.

Similarly, in our fight for existence and justice in the Philippines, we went to the streets of Marawi, a city in the Philippine island of Mindanao. We demanded the government to recognize that one of the requisites to ending the conflicts in our localities was recognizing us Bangsamoro as partners in achieving peace in our region. We also demanded justice for the victims of injustices and conflict in our region. Though it was challenging, we did not stop and lose our hope until our voice was heard, which resulted in the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), where one of its fruits is the
establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Exploring Justice

Amidst the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people, where their voices are often censored, the World Social Forum (WSF) 2024, held in Kathmandu, Nepal, provided a platform for Palestinians to share their narratives and advocate for their rights. Palestinian discussions at the WSF highlighted the interconnected nature of justice in our world. In the thematic area of climate justice, climate activists emphasized the urgency of calling for a ceasefire and ending the conflicts worldwide, especially the on-going Israel-
Gaza War.

They argued that calling for a ceasefire is interconnected with climate justice because this contributes to the rise in emissions where the war is happening. In fact, the study “Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Israel-Gaza Conflict,” published on the Social Science Research Network, reveals that in the first two months of the war, the estimated emissions were greater than the annual emissions from 20 individual countries and territories. Therefore, calling for a ceasefire will not just save lives but also the environment.

Furthermore, they stressed the need for accountability from those who committed crimes, particularly in the context of war, aligning with international law in order to prevent this from happening again.

Finding Parallels: A Personal Reflection

Confronting environmental implication

It is important to note that the conflicts around the world have implications for our climate. Failure to address these conflicts hinders the implementation of effective mitigation and adaptation strategies in affected regions, which can result in poor environmental management. Moreover, the amount of emissions produced by these conflicts adds to the existing global emissions.

Amplifying Voice, Inspiring Action

In these stories of resistance against injustices–whether they originated from Palestinians, Bangsamoros, or anyone else in the world–it is important to amplify their voices and remind them that they are not alone in the fight towards a better world.

Hodaifa Hilmie is the Assistant Local Head Coordinator in Maguindanao-Cotabato City
of Reboot Philippines Renewable Energy Transition Institute.