We were in bed ready to call it a day. As usual, our neighbors were still wide-awake around the marble table under the lamp post just a few steps away from our fence. My husband made a side comment on how weird that the gambling seemed to become an every night thing. It used to be only on days after pay-day. We used to complain a lot about the noise of men and women talking and shouting right above our headboard, well it sounds like that, but we got used to it already, I think. So, last night, right after my husband said something about it, there was a sudden silence and quick shuffles of feet. We thought there was a fight, but then, when we peeked through our window in our bedroom on the second floor, we saw policemen running after men, women, and one in between. They came on a taxi and parked in front our house. Our neighbors were caught in the act. It was quite a spectacle to see familiar faces on handcuffs. We pitied them, white-faced in fear. Oh, how my heart went out to their families who never came out to help them. Houses in the whole neighborhood suddenly became quiet. But I knew there were eyes like ours behind those windows. So, the policemen took all of them, ten people I think. One man in uniform gathered all gambling paraphernalia left in a mess on the table. That could be a hard evidence once they get to the police station. So, we thought. But in less than 10 minutes, our neighbors, those who were just caught by men in uniform, all of them, they came back laughing, sat on the table, brought out those same paraphernalia, and resumed their game.
Whoa! What was that? Almost a mockery? Are you kidding me? What was that show for? In my country, I've seen real shows before where bad guys went to jail and even good guys got killed!
Ok, here we go. That's how those images in the past flashed back to me.
|Photo: from Google images, not mine.|
So, that show last night was a mockery; an insult to the blood of those men whose lives were sacrificed for the principle they stood for. At least, I've seen them true to the ideals they held on, foolish they maybe for not knowing what side was right and wrong but at least they were there fighting real battles.
Last night, I felt like my emotion was played at. I felt tricked. You know that feeling? My eyes were glued on the hands cuffed hard and tight but were instantly released after some whispered promises were made. What a scorn to the bullet stuck forever in the head of a childhood crush; and a joke to the "injan pana (Indian arrow)" that was stuck in the heart of the man I saw running for safety in our balcony!
My neighbors, they laughed, and they are laughing in convulsion as I type this. They are in celebration. They think they won the battle, that they outwitted the law. They don't realize that there are real battles worth fighting for. And may the oath those men in uniform made came back to them like "injan pana" which never rests until it is served.
After few years of watching my city battle for peace, I thought I was old enough to write something about it. So, I made an appointment with my father's younger brother to interview him for more details. I knew he could help me with information because he was involved in the operation to fight against the rebel forces in our district. I later knew about it when he was in the hospital gasping for his breath. He was a policemen on duty when a grenade near him exploded. My older sister washed his bloody shirt, tattered with holes. No one would believe he survived all the splinters that have gone to his flesh. (That my friend, is a real show of valor; when you are there on the ground, true to yourself and conscience.)
I thought I would never be able to write about this. That interview didn't happen. The topic was too overwhelming for a teenager like me. But here I am now, unraveling stories never yet told. Perhaps you may find this heavy and strong, never expected as coming from a simple housewife and mother as I am. But there are issues that the girl in me needs to let go, some opinions never aired before, and maybe never again. So give this girl a chance....
To be continued....