Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Evolution of Moro Nationalism

All the monickers assigned to the natives, Indio, Moro and Filipino were given by the Spaniards. History should credit them for giving us all these names, either out of hatred or by reasons of similarities, or by force of circumstances, or by all of the above.
As earlier mentioned, the word Moro is not a new name. It was derived from the ancient Mauri or Mauritania and was later on applied on the Berbers of North Africa and those who came and conquered Spain. The name, therefore, did not exclude the Arabs themselves especially the Umayyad princes who founded the Umayyad kingdom of Spain. In a larger context, the name is not confined to refer to a group of people, or a nationality, but applied rather to a religious affiliation, transcending the barriers of geography, race and time.
By a confluence of circumstances, the Spaniards were correct as far as the issue of religious identification is concerned, but on the aspect of nationality they probably had erred for there was no Moro nation to speak of at the time but rather the same racial group of people, the Indo-Malayan race, who happened to inhabit certain parts of the archipelago that they claimed for the King of Spain. The only distinction was that one group was Islamized and the other was still pagan, and had not the Spaniards come at that time there would have been at least three or four kingdoms, one in Manila, two in Mindanao and one in Sulu, and all or most of the inhabitants, like in nearby Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunie, would have become all Muslims.
But destiny had it - and irreversibly - that the Moro had always been so called since he crossed path with the Spaniards in 1578. It was a tag that was chosen for him by his enemy, not by himself. But unlike Filipino which signifies allegiance, nay subservience, to Spain, his name was the result of animosity and warfare - and resistance to foreign pressure. If Filipino was the child of colonialism, Moro was the offspring of anti-colonialism. Moreover, even before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Moro had already perfected the art of governance, a well-set code of laws, songs and poetry, such as the Darangan, Indarapatra, Solaiman and the adat or customary laws. He already had trade and diplomatic relations with the other states of Southeast Asia, Arabia, India, Japan, and China. Sulu and Maguindanaon were already emporia while the United States was still a wilderness.
However, nationalism, per se, was not an end itself among the Moros, but rather a cognition of what the Almighty Allah ordained for mankind in the Holy Qur'an, Chapter 49, Verse 13, such as follows:
0 mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct.
It is very clear in this verse that the Almighty created tribes and nations distinctly to differentiate one from the other and not to boast or, claim superiority over others.
If the Moros fought for anything related to his perceived racial distinctness, it was no doubt a peripheral issue; the main issue always was over the point of religion. In this era of alcoholism, materialism and worldliness, even a drunken Moro will react challengingly, either in deed or in words, once he is accused to be a heathen or an unbeliever. The distaste for unbelief is so internalized in the Moro psyche that even in. his seemingly unconscious state he will react positively for his religion. A Moro has so developed in himself that defense mechanism for Islam that he freely, consciously or unconsciously, resurges forward whenever dared.

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