The pro-communist Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa is hosting Filipina activist Amirah Ali Lidasan (Mek-mek) on a speaking and media tour of New Zealand in late October/early November.
Amirah Ali Lidasan’s tour presents a unique opportunity to hear firsthand about a war in our own backyard that is almost totally unknown to New Zealanders. She is the first Filipino Muslim speaker that we have hosted, and a Muslim woman at that.
An NZ speaking tour by a progressive Muslim woman leader is very timely, because Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark are co-sponsors of a series of high profile international Interfaith Religious Dialogues which have been held in both countries in 2006 and 07. This is a chance for New Zealanders to actually hear from one of the voiceless, namely a Filipino Muslim, who have suffered centuries of repression and neglect.
Ms Lidasan is a vocal opponent of the US military presence in the Philippines. Particularly its use in training the Philippines military to combat Muslim and communist insurgents.
A native of Parang, Maguindanao, Mek-mek belongs to the Iranon Muslim ethno-linguistic group. Her family is one of the most influential families in Maguindanao province. She, however, grew up in Manila where she took up her elementary to college education.
Even as a child, Mek-mek was already sharp enough to hold discussions with the mujahideen (women fighters) whenever she would go to Maguindanao for vacation. This exposure helped her understand their lives and the essence of what the Muslims in the South are fighting for.
From Hot Coals
Amirah Ali Lidasan is a Muslim Filipina who studied journalism and Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines.
In 1995, she became national president on the National Union of Students of the Philippines and president of the National Organization of Student Councils, Governments, and Organizations.
Moved by the continuing crisis in her country, Amirah volunteered at the Karapatan Human Rights Center and the militant labor federation, Kilusang Mayo Uno.
In 2000, she was elected secretary-general of the Moro-Christian People’s Alliance.
In 2003, she became national Vice-Chair of the Suara Bangsamoro Partylist and was chosen second nominee for the 2004 elections for the Philippine Congress under the partylist system.
She is also deputy secretary-general of BAYAN Philippines. She is among the few Muslim Filipinas speaking out on the impact of the “borderless war on terror” upon the Moro peoples.
Ms Lidasan is a good example of the Marxist/Muslim alliance applied to Filipino conditions.
Her previous affiliates, the KMU and BAYAN are both long established communist fronts.
Lidasan’s Suara Bangsamoro organisation has been accused of being a front for the Communist Party of Philippines.
Shortly before the elections, National Security Adviser, Norberto Gonzales tagged Suara Bangsamoro and five other progressive party-list groups are front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines .
The CPP, which maintained a tactical alliance with the MILF also said the U.S. all along, regarded the MILF as terrorist and has been giving all-out support to the AFP’s campaign of suppression against the Moro people.
In last Friday’s meeting of the National Security Council, Gonzales proposed for the filing of disqualification suits against Suara Bangsamoro and five other party-list groups – Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Anak ng Bayan, Migrante and Gabriela – for being “legal fronts” of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Gonzales claimed that funds allocated for public projects channeled through legislators have been funneled to the coffers of the communists. Among the six, Bayan Muna (Nation First) has representatives now seated in the lower house of the Philippine Congress. The rest are participating in the May 10 polls for the first time.
It is well known that the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Moro Independendence Liberation Front are co-operating militarily.
From the South Asia Analysis Group
In an interview to the ABC-Asia Pacific on July 8, 2003, the MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu had admitted that MILF had entered into a tactical alliance with the communist New People’s Army (NPA) since the mid 1990s but that alliance was no more than a mere respect for each other’s space (area of operations). He added that since there is more than one revolutionary organization in the area there is an agreement not to quarrel with each other. However in the same interview the military spokesman Lt. Col Lucero said that there is evidence to show that the NPA and the MILF have supported each other militarily.
Ms Lidasan certainly needs to be asked some hard questions by the NZ media.
Pigs might fly.