I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

One day, during Ramadan


The first bullet hit me on the shoulder like a punch. A dull ache, followed by a sharp pain as the hot slug burrowed its way deep into the muscle. I didn’t even feel the others after that. It was like I had lost control of my body. The first hit spun me to the right, then I was spun to the left, and my right knee buckled so that I fell on it, my leg twisted behind my back.

I hit the ground with a softness I could not understand, as though I were falling only very slowly and gently. In the distance, i heard the call to the Fajr. For a second, I could not believe that an entire night had passed. Then the sound of soldiers approaching wrenched my mind back to where I lay waiting for the angels to come, just like theimam said they would. Instead I saw only the muddied boots that I thought would be mine by the end of this day. And instead of the tinkling giggling of angels, I only heard the barking of the dogs and the coarse voices of the soldiers.

“Tangina, ilang taon na’to? La pa atang bulbol to e.”


I wrote that just before the start of Ramadan. And then today, I read this:

Arevalo said the kidnappers were Abu Sayyaf members under Indama.


He said photos and videos of the Abu Sayyaf members were shown to the victims who, he said, confirmed that some of the faces in the photos and videos were those of their kidnappers.

“What is alarming is that there were young boys, as young as around 12 years old. They (victims) estimated their ages as between 12 and 19, or teenagers,” he said.


It’s scandalous that children are engaged. I know it’s not unprecedented for children to take on the role of warrior, but it’s still something that really roils my stomach. I have a kid brother that age and i’d much rather get infuriated with him for spazzing out with his PSP, than to know that he’s slinging a gun and pointing it at people. 

These kids, any of them could turn out to be the great peacemaker Mindanao needs. But how’re they gonna find that out if they one day during Ramadan?


Filed under: society, , , ,

7 Responses

  1. cvj says:

    They are the same kids being demonized as ‘jihadists’ over at FV.

  2. maji6 says:

    Sad little kids are used in war and things like this. I guess they grow up in a cuture like that so to them it might be “Normal”.

  3. rom says:

    majii6: assalamualaikum, majii6. Welcome to the smoking room!

  4. demonized, cvj?

    as yet, nobody has written against groups promoting child soldiery.

    i will, once i’m armed with what i need.

  5. cvj says:

    Jester, these child soldiers will be at the receiving end of your ‘DDR or DIE’ mantra.

  6. UP n student says:

    A 12-year old turns to soldiering only because of one of two or three adults. There is the adult recruiter, of course, who can be a jihadist or someone just in this recruiting-business for the money. Then there adult that provides the 12-year old with the gun or the bolo (and in the background is the rich adult that provides the money which is used to buy the weapon).

    Most important — the parents.

  7. C. Martel says:

    Child soldiers are used in conflicts. In Africa,
    rebels kidnap children. Turn them into killer
    soldiers. It is the upbringing of the parents
    that is to blame. The parent must have been
    bandits. So, they produce bandit children.

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