by Boi (boh-eh) Beting
We always tilt on the losing end
Where death is just a step behind
We dare to take every challenge
When knocked by the power of change
We ask for nothing but life.
We dare to speak at very crucial times
When tribes are offered as sacrificial lambs
Yes, at the altar of Development and Peace
They say for unity and mutual benefit
There we lost our being, our land and breath.
We live for the love of our lowly people
We come to share their agonies and mourns
We bring their lamentations and their songs
In forum, in hearings and great halls
Hoping to find open ears and doors.
But here and there our sorrows grow
Sometimes even the Holy and the wise
Chose to be mute, deaf and blind
And the powerful and the mighty,
Oh how they love to grab our lands.
We know our battles are lope sided
And we always tilt on the losing end
But we do not have to fall on our knees
To claim justice, our dignity and peace
We just have to regain our strength.
We who dare must lick our wounds
Turn to Magbabaya1 to lift our thorns
We may have tilt on the losing side
But on his grace we can depend
We who dare are his seeds on earth
We who dare must keep moving on
Amidst strong surge and storms
Our domains we need to protect
And to Monama (God) we raise our case
He will lead us to our dream and rest.
Written at the height of our legal struggle in advocating for Indigenous Peoples rights in the bangsamoro basic law. Dedicated to the living movers and to the fallen. Posted by Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM)
Boi (boi-eh) Beting
“Boi” means a womxn tribal leader in one of the tribes living at the foot of Mt. Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines. Boi B was uprooted from her roots at the age of seven and since then onwards, she lives a lifelong struggle to live and adapt with the mainstream community through which she earned an education and has been heavily involved in human rights related works. Contact: Guelph-based migrant worker support group Fuerza/Puwersa at email@example.com for mailing address.