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Like a pebble dropped in a still pond, its ripples spreading outward, so it was in the Philippines during the 1970's, when Muslim secessionist groups rebelled openly against the Philippine government, seeking not only autonomy but independence from a repressive regime. Every town and village felt the disturbance, some more than others. The tragic events of these days caused ripples that went beyond the confines of township and province, all the way to the halls of power in Manila. The ripples continued even beyond the territorial boundaries to other countries of the world and in particular to those with Muslim majorities. These Muslim Nations, guardians and dispensers of the world's prized commodity, oil, were concerned over the treatment measured out to their brethren of the Ummah. What follows in the years ahead is a story of war, unholy alliances, promises made with fingers crossed, amnesties and slaughters. It was the crusades all over again. In this story, an American missionary narrates his experiences of this human tragedy and political deception while working as a parish priest along the verdant, southwestern coastal plain of Mindanao, Philippines.
A previously peaceful and idyllic Christian town is abruptly torn apart with the senseless murders of its citizens by a group of armed Muslim rebels. This speculative but fact-based narrative describes the incidents that led up to the massacres. Events quickly spiraled out of control when elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines came to the defense of the town and exacted terrible retaliations against the neighboring Muslim civilian population. The tale tells of the attempts employed by the government to conceal the atrocities. These events during the civil conflicts of 1974 exacted a heavy toll upon both communities and tested the faith of both priest and people.