1. At least that’s the most common scenario. A ceasefire has been in place for years – peace talks first began between the two parties over a decade ago – but there have been sporadic breaks and exchanges of gunfire when frustrations ran higher than the desire to put down their weapons. 

    It’s almost become a derogatory term. 

    "As if it’s our fault! Don’t they see we had no choice?" Bitun told us in a recent interview,  her own frustration and sadness clearly evident in her voice. 

    Bakwits like Bitun have been running so long that in many areas it is perceived they stay mobile on purpose. That they don’t look for permanent resettlements so they can keep living on hand-outs from the government and aid agencies. It is much easier after all, many believe, to get a free meal than to return to the poverty that has long kept these transients in chains. 

    "This is not the life I wanted for my children …"

    From Bitun, the Bakwin by Marga Ortigas for Al Jazeera.

  2. Al Jazeera video report on the article I posted earlier concerning the MILF/MNLF fracturing in the South.


  3. newsflick:

    Correspondents Tweet: Unsure if arrested or about to be deported. 6 of us held at army checkpoint outside Hilton hotel. Equipment seized too…

    The How To Guide for Dictators in Times of Crisis

    Step 1: Unleash armed forces on civilian population to quell ‘localized’ pockets of disorder

    Step 2: Plan and execute looting/bombings etc and blame them on ‘rebels’ and ‘insurgents’ to manufacture legal support for reprisals

    Step 3: Offer superficial reforms in desperate attempt to placate increasingly angry constituency and the international community

    Step 4: Cut or control major lines of communication and muzzle the freedom of press (in some cases can pre-empt Steps 1 & 2)

    Step 5: Suspend all constitutionally protected rights in favor of the ‘common good’

    Step 6: Decide it’s all personal, nothing political. Usually around this point people start mysteriously disappearing

    Step 7: Watch angrily as support base erodes (Hopefully, the opposition figures out that the only way to topple a dictator is by uniting behind one figure, reaching out to key figures in the faltering regime and developing a roadmap and transition plan (hopefully sans to many long-term compromises))

    Step 8: Take stock of situation. Realize can’t win today. Flee with the hopes of rebuilding support internationally and plot triumphant return.

    Step 9: Yay! You’re now nominally in control of your own destiny! Please feel free to repeat mistakes of the past because that’s what happens when there is no real transition plan in place and compromises have to be made in favor of ‘stability’ (and this even happens when there is a transition plan and organized opposition in existence. See: Almost every revolution ever.). Errr…yeah. Dictator gets somewhat vindicated (sadly) when things only superficially improve.

    Based on the Philippine revolutionary experience, specifically 2001. The period from 1986-1992 gets somewhat of a pass, since there were great strides made overall in putting together our broken democratic institutions. Strides that were demolished in subsequent regimes.

    (Source: newsflick, via theatlantic)