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Militarization in Southeast Asia:the Myth of Terrorism; the Reality of Resource Wars PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mary Joan A. Guan   
Tuesday, 25 November 2008 17:05
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Militarization in Southeast Asia:the Myth of Terrorism; the Reality of Resource Wars

Nine-year old Grecil would have been an honor student last school year. She was an intelligent and kind girl, according to her teachers and friends. Yet, her bright future was suddenly halted when soldiers sprayed her with bullets during a military operation in a village in Mindanao. At first, they claimed that she was a "child soldier" and even took a picture of her dead body with a machine gun (that was longer than her body) beside her. Eventually the head of the battalion admitted that she was just caught in the crossfire since the New People's Army guerillas were hiding in Grecil's house. Grecil's parents filed a complaint in the Commission on Human Rights but to date, there is no clear decision about the case.

University students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno were doing community research in a small village in the town of Bulacan, in the central part of Luzon region, Philippines. They were abducted in 2007 by military men while they were sleeping. Witnesses account that the two women were held captive in the military camp and were repeatedly gang raped by the soldiers. They were even tied to the bed so as to ensure that they could not escape. Sometimes, they were stripped naked and were ordered to sing or dance in front of the soldiers. Sherlyn, who was pregnant during the time of the abduction, attempted to communicate with her in-laws through a letter but she was caught by her guards. She was heavily tortured and was hanged upside down.

To date, the two women are still missing.

The stories of Angie, Grecil, Sherlyn, and Karen may all have had happened in the Philippines yet they can very well depict the plight of women in Southeast Asian countries where militarization occurs. Being arrested, tortured, maimed, wounded, or killed & these are but few of the abuses women and children experience during militarization.

Militarization has been rampant especially with the US-led global war on terror. Such global campaign has spawned and increased militarization as well as armed conflicts in the region, where 80% of victims comprise of women and children.1

True, the Southeast Asian region is under threat. Yet, it is not because of a terrorist attack. It is because it was declared by the US government as the second front of terror. What are the implications of such labeling?

First & the US global war on terror serves as a political leverage to the Southeast Asian governments, resulting to intense militarization and massive human rights abuses;

Second & the labeling adds discrimination against the Islam-dominated countries;

Third & the most vulnerable to these abuses are the women and children; and

Fourth & the global war on terror has legitimized the infringement of an imperialist power to sovereign countries in Southeast Asia.

The labeling of Southeast Asia as the second front of terror is a myth. It is a created fear to legitimize the invasion & directly or covertly & of an imperialist power. More than anything else, the global war is not about terrorists or Muslim extremists. It is not about religion; it is about economics and politics. It is not about protecting the people of the world; it is about owning and controlling the resources of the world.

As capitalist countries are now in a verge of economic depression, and the demand of the primary commodities needed in the world are on the rise, plus a rising Asian giant like China being considered as a threat to the West, forging alliance with the Southeast Asian countries is valuable to imperialist powers like the United States. And national governments support US intervention because they themselves are gaining from it. The receiving end of such "terrorist" scheme and attack are the people.

This paper presents that the real agenda for waging war is not about terrorism but about resource control and ownership. Such desire of control and power even supports repression and militarization in the region. Aside from citing examples among the different countries in the region, it will lengthily discuss the Philippine experience.

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