One Peace for You, One Peace for Me: Pacification Versus Territorial Rights

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Through the world’s colonial history, pacification campaigns established political and economic control by foreign countries over domestic populations struggling for sovereignty. In contemporary post-colonial times, pacification patterns may be reproduced by central governments of new states, to subdue marginalized ethnic groups. We first explain pacification by reviewing the US-Filipino colonial era. We then unpack post-colonial pacification in its modern-day form, using as a case in point peace negotiations between Philippine Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Analyzing speeches delivered by both sides, we show that the Philippine Government expresses a pacification storyline by calls for disarmament and economic development, while the MILF pushes for territorial sovereignty. In conclusion, we address peace negotiations in the global and domestic arenas. We caution that attending solely to pacification narratives may re-subjugate indigenous peoples, contribute to the breakdown of peace agreements, and bring about new liberation factions which demand territorial sovereignty.