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Of war and terror

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Written by   60
1 month ago

Sept 3, 2o21

January 2000 at 8:00 AM

I was already late for school. Tardiness is my favorite habit and I will never get tired of it. I was walking but my mind was too preoccupied with the exam and the clearance requirements. I badly wanted to still be at the top of the class. And I didn't notice my surrounding until I reached the school canteen.

"Hey, you shouldn't be here!", my schoolmate, Jason, was shouting at me.

"Why? Where did everyone go?", I asked.

"The war broke out. Everyone was advised to go home. We won't have exams anymore. All school requirements have been canceled", he replied.

I was worried about my grades. "How are they gonna grade us?", I asked again.

"You worry too much. Hurry, let's go home now or the rebels will catch us!", Jason hastily responded.

My mind started to drift away while we were walking towards the campus gate, trying to recall an incident a few days ago...

Jovelyn, my classmate, texted me, "Are we gonna meet today at 3:00 PM for our Chemistry project?"

"Of course", I sent her a short response. But I didn't show up because I got lazy.

"There are rebels in Linamon exchanging fires against the gov't troops. We are yet to find out if there are casualties and civilians involved. Stay tuned.", ends the radio announcement.

My mind went blank. I was worried about my classmates but good thing they were safe. They were laughing about the shooting because one classmate stepped on the dung while they were running away.


Back to reality.

I was on the street near our house. And just like in the movies where a war is taking place, several army trucks started to arrive. I began counting 1, 2, 3,...I think they were more than a hundred. And then the sky started to get noisy. I never saw a fighter plane before but I am pretty sure it's one of those.

After the army trucks' parade, some amphibians came. I've lost count. The soldiers looked ready and brave. They had ammunition and huge bags.

They were all going towards Lanao del Norte.

I wanted to pinch myself to check if I'm only dreaming but everything's real.

Then I started to see some unfamiliar faces. They looked lost, afraid, and tired...Some were women carrying their crying children, some were elders with their bags and pots, some were men with their household items. Some were lucky enough to find their relatives and sought refuge, some were not.

The nightmare began.

We would sleep with the roaring sound of the bombs. The ground trembles every time it explodes. The war doesn't respect wee time. People were fleeing in the middle of the dark night, afraid of being ransacked inside their homes. Our lights would go out. Everyone's scared. No one was safe.

A mother's tale

A few months after, our school resumed its normal operations but it became an evacuation center. I felt sorry for the evacuees because I knew they won't be comfortable, especially with bathing and stuff.

One time we were in civil-military training when I met an evacuee. She sadly told me her story.

"I lost my son. They were commanded to run by the rebels while being shot at. The rebels also took our food and livestock. We were left with nothing. I don't know where to start after all of these."

I was dumbfounded. I felt her grief, her sorrow, and her pain. My heart broke, not only for her but for all the victims of war.

What's the future of a war-torn country? Do we want our children to live in terror? How many mothers have to lose their sons, their daughters? How are we going to handle these terrorists who do not respect life, dignity, and property? Do we resort to peaceful negotiations, how about the sacrifices of our soldiers? Are they gonna be a lost cause?

These were the questions of my 15-year-old self while I was memorizing the 11 General Orders. Then I stood like a candle and looked like a tiger.

I just wanna share my personal story during the war in Mindanao while I was still in high school. And I hope this won't ruin your weekend.

Have you experienced war? If you did, how are you faring so far?

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And thank you for your time and effort in reading my piece for today, my dear friends. I honor you!

**All images were from Unsplash.com



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Written by   60
1 month ago
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Comments

Unfortunately, I have been in warzones, especially when I worked in Africa. It is not pleasant and is scary, I feel for what you went through.

Humans are our own worst enemy. I took some of what is happening/happened in Mindanao for the book I am writing that I am publishing here chapter by chapter.

$ 0.01
1 month ago

I can't wait to read that book soon :) I do hope Mindanao will become more peaceful, God willing.

$ 0.00
1 month ago

Nothing comes out of a war. There will always be losses, suffering, devastation and death and it's really sad and heartbreaking. This should not have happened if not for the greediness of man.

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1 month ago

I agree :( There are still conflicts in some parts of Mindanao. It's gonna go on forever I think.

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1 month ago

Grabe naexperience mo pala yan...buti safe kayo ng mga kaibigan mo.

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1 month ago

Thank you :) Di maganda ang experience but it was an eye opener.

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1 month ago

I can't imagine myself if I were in that situation and have kids with me. Now I am currently living in Marawi city, every time we went to the town we can still see the houses that are destroyed during the Marawi siege.

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1 month ago

I really can't imagine myself in war times. I'm glad that you and your friends are safe at that time. War is cruel and sadly, war is a huge part of human lives and one that leads us to this point in time.

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1 month ago

Yeah nothing gains in war, it just costs human lives. But some terrorist groups need to be stopped at all costs. That's where the challenge is.

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1 month ago

Made me wonder why guns, bullets, war crafts etcetera have been invented in the first place, and countries around the world are even developing new ones today... I can only put my hands together in ardent prayer for peace to reign across the globe. War is terrifying and I wouldn't wanna experience it in my lifetime...

$ 0.01
1 month ago

It's a nightmare sis, I am glad that our city wasn't invaded by the rebels at that time but we were just a bridge away from the war zone. Let's keep on praying for world peace :)

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1 month ago

Gosh... thankfully.. and yes, hoping and praying for peace to reign across the globe

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1 month ago

Yes sis :) Prayers can do a lot.

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1 month ago

You have really had an experience that is capable of taking away your humanity but here you are still strong and brave. War is the worst crime that mankind's commit to themselves and most it seems as though no one cares.

$ 0.01
1 month ago

It was a nightmare witnessing it at an early stage. I even saw rebels as young as 12 years old when we went somewhere for a competition. I also saw the remnants of the war, the craters made by bombs, the shattered houses.

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1 month ago