Sunday, February 15, 2004

Peace fatigue
Today's main editorial talks about the "peace fatigue" everybody is feeling with regard to the peace talks between the NDF and the GRP:

Few Filipinos, however, are under the delusion that the talks would pave the way for the cessation of hostilities, permanent or otherwise, in the immediate future. In fact, there is so little public interest in the talks that the media would have completely ignored them had the MalacaƱang press office not been issuing a flurry of press releases on the Oslo talks and, in some cases, calling in favors from reporters and editors. Nobody really cares.

Joaquin Bernas, exasperated by the futility of the talks, even unholy compares Saint Monica and GMA:

The patience of Gloria, not yet a saint, is being tested by the Netherlands exiles. They will not negotiate unless first delisted from the Roll of Terrorists authored by President Bush and the Europeans. Gloria may have to wait as long as Monica.

Nobody free from Pollyana delusions can seriously think that peace can be had in this time, or in the near future. Joma deplores GMA; the rebels call the present dispensation clerico-fascist. How can they possibly be expected to agree on anything? The two camps totally proceed from mutually exclusive positions.

Peace talks are done not so much to seek peace as to humor the reporters. Neither the government nor the NDF wants peace; they want peace talks. The NDF buys time while the government gets something to talk and write about.

And the people are the ultimate losers. Just how much does the goverment spend for hotel accomodations, staff functions, plane fares? Does Norway contribute?

If the money spent on fruitless peace talks were doled out to invidual rebels instead, we would probably be closer to peace. Probably disastrous for public accounting, but undeniably more efficient than our peace talks today.

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