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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Philippines: ‘Voices of Peace’

Two days ago, students at the HOPE International Development Agency-sponsored Pamaulaan Center for Indigenous Education marked World Peace Day the way they best like to celebrate any and all special occasions: by holding a concert. It was dubbed ‘Voices of Peace’, and attended by several Philippine luminaries.

These students come the Indigenous tribes that have arguably suffered the most from the Philippines’ long-standing conflicts, conflicts that have killed just under 200,000 people and driven 3 million more from their homes.

The Philippines’ poorest people live in a cauldron of ethnic-and class-based violence, even while they contend with severe poverty and struggle to protect their ancestral domains from the encroachment of commercial interests like mining companies. Pressed in from all sides, the Pamaulaan students’ commitment to education, service, and peace is all the more stirring.

For a sample of the students’ singing, check out this wonderful and very collaborative rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’.

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