the philippine government has just signed a peace agreement with some of the muslim rebels — the moro islamic liberation front or (heh) milf (think someone should tell them?) — from the island of mindanao. which is good news, of course — if the peace holds. however, most of the people on mindanao are, apparently, not as worried about the sectarian violence on the island as they are about “rido”:

Rido, or feuding between families and clans, is a type of conflict centered in the Philippine region of Mindanao, and is characterized by sporadic outbursts of retaliatory violence between families and kinship groups, as well as between communities. … ‘Rido’ is a Maranao term commonly used in Mindanao to refer to clan feuds. It is considered one of the major problems in Mindanao because apart from numerous casualties, rido has caused destruction of property, crippled the local economy, and displaced families….

“There is a widely held stereotype that the violence is perpetrated by armed groups that resort to terrorism to further their political goals, but the actual situation is far more complex. While the Muslim-Christian conflict and the state-rebel conflicts dominate popular perceptions and media attention, a survey commissioned by The Asia Foundation in 2002 and further verified by a recent Social Weather Stations survey revealed that citizens are more concerned about the prevalence of rido and its negative impact on their communities than the conflict between the state and rebel groups….

“Studies on rido have documented a total of 1,266 rido cases between the 1930s and 2005, which have killed over 5,500 people and displaced thousands. The four provinces with the highest numbers of rido incidences are: Lanao del Sur (377), Maguindanao (218), Lanao del Norte (164), and Sulu (145). Incidences in these four provinces account for 71% of the total documented cases. The findings also show a steady rise in rido conflicts in the eleven provinces surveyed from the 1980s to 2004. According to the studies, during 2002-2004, 50% (637 cases) of total rido incidences occurred, equaling about 127 new rido cases per year. Out of the total number of rido cases documented, 64% remain unresolved….”

the population of mindanao is comprised of the moro peoples, some of whom are muslim, but others of whom are christians — but members of BOTH religions engage in rido, so this fighting between clans is not just a muslim thing.

mindanao is a very mountainous island, so if westermeyer is right, we should expect to find a lot of inbreeding amongst the moro (which could account for all the clannishness).

those moro folks that are roman catholic ought not to be marrying first cousins, of course, but who knows (i don’t) if they marry second or third cousins. in fact, nobody nowadays in the philippines should be marrying first cousins because it’s against the law (“up to the fourth civil degree”), but…

“Philippine Muslims very seldom registered births or marriages with governmental agencies.” [pg. 213]

…perhaps to get around the marriage restrictions (given that islam kinda/sorta encourages first cousin marriage — in an indirect way since mohammed married one of his cousins).

i haven’t found any info on how much cousin marriage happens in the moro muslim (or christian) populations, but one of the leading moro muslim political families, the sinsuat family, is “remarkable for the frequency of cousin marriage” [pg. 309], so that might — might — be an indication that cousin marriage is, indeed, common on mindanao. i would bet it has a long history there, too — thus the clannishness.

and clannishness in the philippines doesn’t seem to be restricted to mindanao:

“The Philippine political arena, unlike other democracies, is mainly arranged and operated by families or alliances of families rather than political parties.”

hmmmmm. not very surpising, then, to find books about the philippines titled: An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines.

previously: this one’s for g.w. and the flatlanders vs. the mountain people

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