As #Marawi celebrates its Week of Peace and commemorates the Marawi Siege 6 yrs later, Raihan A. Yusoph and I reflect on the places that once characterise Marawi and how they transformed during the government-led rehabilitation process.
"The new buildings are shiny but empty."
We observed that "what happened in Marawi demonstrates that violence is not just spatial but also visual, and that post-conflict reconstruction efforts need to consider the role of spaces and images in building peace."
For example, displaying the Bato Mosque's bulletholed minaret in front of the new peace museum can be seen by some Mranaws as an act of disrespect to the mosque and to their faith. Their traumatic experience from the siege has reduced to a spectacle for outsiders.
And most of the new buildings remain publicly inaccessible. When we visited the area in Dec 2022, the new Sarimanok Sports Stadium is heavily guarded by armed personnel while morning joggers do their exercise along the newly paved road lined with abandoned houses and buildings.
The Padian (Grand Market), the once bustling trading hub of the city, is now unrecognizable, replaced with a Peace Memorial Park. Instead of reinstalling the public market, a three-story shopping mall was built.
"Focusing on grand infrastructure projects alone left ongoing issues...unaddressed." While there's still much to be done to assist the thousands of displaced families that are yet to return, there's no shortage of ceremonies inaugurating the new buildings of Marawi City.
All these are reminders of the importance "to integrate the historical and cultural significance of the urban sites being rebuilt in Marawi." Peacebuilding can only take root in these spaces if the people who give meaning to them are heard, making them into places of peace.
Part of this research project is a geoportal of locations, photographs, aerial videos, and narratives about the transformation of Marawi's key urban sites.
Visit the geoportal here ➡️ urban-peacebuilding.github.io, created by the talented @srcreyes. Hit her up for similar projects.
This research project on #urbanpeacebuilding has just started. But I wouldn't have taken this first step without the funding support from JSPS Kaken Grant & assistance of Raihan A. Yusoph and @Primeragandang, who have become not just dependent colleagues but also friends.
I'm also grateful to those who took their time sharing their experience & expertise. I learned so much, and I'll continue learning in solidarity with the peace aspirations of Marawi. This is for Mranaws!
🙏Thanks @newmandala for featuring our story. newmandala.org/the-places-tha…