In this little corner of the world called the Philippines, a lot of wars have been waged. Since time immemorial, Filipinos have witnessed the blood of its own people being shed for the wrong reasons. Brother going against brother just because of differences in the way they see the world, because of differences in faith, because of different ways of life. With this blood shed, a lot was lost. We saw mothers losing husbands, sons, and daughters. We saw children losing memories of what could’ve been a pleasant and sunny childhood.
In this little corner of the world, a lot has imagined. What if we could stop this blood shed for good? What if people weren’t bound by their allegiances and creeds? What if people treated each other as equals in the eyes of God – as human beings? A lot has tried to put their imagination in reality but never to a lasting extent.
In this little corner of the world, there are people working to achieve this imagination. These people have thought what others have not been thinking and have been working hard when others won’t. They went to this part of the world, when everyone else seemed reluctant to, and went on to bring life to what was once a dream to an entire nation.
People like Robin Pettyfer, who left Canada years ago despite a promising career in journalism. In 2006, Robin arrived in the Philippines hoping to build an organization that would link different people from different places around the world so that they can talk and understand each other better, thereby creating a better world. With the help of countless Filipinos and a handful of benefactors, PeaceTech was born.
What Robin had imagined has came true here in the Philippines through the aid of technology. Through large projector screens and Internet telephony, people from all walks of life, from various locales and regions, have come together to talk about matters relevant to them. Things such as poverty and security, discrimination and hatred, wars and how they are affected by it. Since its inception in 2006, lives have been changed by this new chain the binds the people of these islands – the chain of understanding. Christians and Muslims have began to see each other in a new way. Women and children have become more important in this nation than ever before. The rich and the poor have seen each other eye to eye without hint of enmity or discord.
In this little corner of the world, the dream of linking people together through technology is finally becoming true, thanks to people like Robin and Filipinos who were determined to wash away the pools of blood that has soaked this land. In places like Maguindanao, trade and culture is flourishing. Children and going back to schools. Mothers are selling vegetables in the market again. Muslims and Christians are walking the streets again, greeting each other as brothers and sisters.
But a lot still has to be done.
|The PeaceTech video conference in Miriam College in 2006 with special guest, Senator Francis Pangilinan.|
With the horrors of the Maguindanao Massacre shown to us, we have been made aware of the reality that a far more greater task still lies before us. PeaceTech is still a work in progress and that progress counts on the concerted effort of Filipinos like me and you who believe that peace is possible without bloodshed. Together, let us make peace our full-time job, because peace, like war, also has to be waged.
PeaceTech will be linking key cities once again on February 1, 2011. Cities to be linked this time are Manila and Iligan City in Lanao del Norte. PeaceTech needs your help in volunteering as a facilitator for this kind of talk. Facilitator training will be held on January 29, 2011 at the Bulwagang Balagtas of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) at Sta. Mesa, Manila. For interested parties please contact Zabra Siwa at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.peacetech.net for more details.
PeaceTech: Waging Peace Through Technology.