The Marawi Siege
The Battle of Marawi also known as the Marawi siege was a five-month-long armed conflict in Marawi, Lanao del Sur, that began on May 23, 2017, between Philippine government security forces and militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Salafi jihadist groups.
President Duterte declared Martial Law in Marawi, citing the attack as possible rebellion. It was to become the longest urban battle in the modern history of the Philippines. What happened to Marawi is a warning to the rest of the Philippines. We need unity more than ever.
Veteran and professional photographer, Francis Abraham was fortunate to have been one of the early civilians invited to ground zero of Marawi. He had this to say – “I say fortunate because I did see for myself the devastating effects of a war against ISIL. What happened to Marawi is exactly what happened to Iraq and Syria. My guide, Jamil Pangandaman’s house was in total wrecked. He sees it for the first time. He would later burst into tears, and I kept from recording him.”
WATCH VIDEO: Ground Zero – Raw footage in Bangolo
Francis was invited by his friend, Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban, who in turn was invited by Senator Bongbong Marcos to Marawi. The people of Marawi wanted to know how Tacloban managed to rebuild itself, after being devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
One nation – One Vision
The Philippines is one of the few remaining countries whose citizens are still mostly theists. Although Marawi is a Muslim city, Christian soldiers from the “suicide squad” saved many lives. Likewise, a Filipino Muslim saved 64 Christians from execution by Islamist militants, there were several Muslims who sheltered Christians, and the inspiring two Muslim women who defended Christians, shows we are one in spirit.
We must stand as one nation praying for our government to fight the real enemy. The victory of Marawi is our victory. If Mindanao falls, so will our country.
A vision for Marawi
Francis in his post said, “But my friends, as good as donations may be, the rebuilding of Marawi is not about that. The people of Marawi MUST have a clear vision. Without the VISION, the city will merely be a city of rebuilt buildings, back to the spirit of what was it before.”
“What do they want the City of Marawi to be? There has to be an ever continuing dialogue with the people there as they speak of what they aspire for. The Marawi mayor has to be there on the ground, daily talking to the people from all sectors of Marawi,” said Mayor Romualdez during their visit in Marawi.
It is a vision, a dream that the people of Marawimust want. It must be grand! It is more than rebuilding buildings, It is about PEOPLE and their DREAMS. It sure feels great that the government, Duterte, and the nation is behind you Marawi! Francis added.
One Country – One Hope
We all have political differences and with the majority of Filipino having Christian roots, we should at least be united in hope and intentional prayer for the transformation of our country, especially our leaders.