The Paris Attacks And Calls Of the Lumad For Justice

by Benjie Oliveros

As the world reels from the senselessness and brutality of the Paris attacks, not a few would call for more blood to spill to avenge the victims. The French government acted swiftly by intensifying its bombing operations on suspected ISIS lairs inside Syria and Iraq. It has conducted raids in Muslim communities and threatened to crackdown on “radical imams.”

But why did the world come to this?

A must read for those who want to understand the historical roots of the Paris attacks is an article published by The Age of Despair: Reaping the Whirlwind of Western Support for Extremist Violence written by Chris Floyd.

By its own acts and policies, Western governments, meaning the geopolitical, economic powers such as the US, have actually brought this upon themselves. This is not to justify or give some sense of meaning to the Paris attacks. Nothing could justify the senseless violence inflicted upon innocent civilians.

In the same manner, nothing could justify the violent overthrow and occupation by a foreign power or powers – the US and its allies – of the governments in Iraq, Libya, and any other country for that matter, even Afghanistan. If a government is undemocratic or oppressive – as the US and its allies say they are – let the people of that country overthrow their own government.

But the US and its allies would rather support and arm virulent sectarian movements to hasten the overthrow of governments that are not willing to kowtow to or are threatening the economic interests of the West.

By its wars of aggression and its support for virulent sectarian movements, the US and its allies created their own enemies. So when their former allies turn their guns on them, the response of the US and its allies is more violence. Former US president George W. Bush was right in calling the purported “war on terror” as “borderless”, but he should have added the adjective “endless.” The acts of violence of one side beget retaliatory violence from the other to a point where nobody knows where and who started it.

While we are on the topic of unjustifiable violence by ISIS and the US and its allies, which deserve equal amounts of condemnation, the Filipino people and the international community should likewise condemn the equally unjustifiable, senseless killing of a leader of a Lumad organization Dionel Campos, tribal chieftain Datu Juvello Sinzo and even the head of the school for Lumad children Emerito Samarca. Equally senseless are the continuing attacks on Lumad schools and the Lumad people.

The three did not die in the hands of soldiers, but were killed by paramilitary groups under the command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

How could one ever justify the brutal killing of unarmed civilians? How could one ever justify the attack on schools? How could one justify the threats and harassments being inflicted on unarmed villagers, including children?

Some might say that the victims of the Paris attacks and Lumad killings are different as the former were innocent civilians who were just going about their daily lives when suddenly attacked. But the Lumad were just defending their land from mining companies and working toward the improvement of their lives through supporting their schools.

Government apologists and supporters might say that the Paris victims were not affiliated with any organization, which could have been the subject of attacks by ISIS, but the Lumad have been allegedly supporting the New People’s Army (NPA). Well, assuming for the sake of argument that the Lumad are sympathetic to or supportive of the NPA. First, it does not negate the fact that they are not combatants and are unarmed and thus, protected under human rights conventions and international humanitarian law. Second, at least if they are supporting the NPA they would not resort to random retaliatory acts of violence.

As we condemn the senseless violence in the Paris attacks, let us equally condemn the oppressive violence of the US and its allies against nations resisting their intrusions and amplify the calls of the Lumad for justice, pull out of AFP troops from their communities and #StopLumadKillings. (

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