Accelerating Aid for Mindanao’s War Victims
Davao City, Philippines (PRWEB) March 9, 2004
War does not only kill but also maims. It leaves scars that can never be healed. Scars that forever symbolize inhuman and senseless cruelty.
Andres Mandiya is a 13 year old pain-stricken cripple. What legs used to hang below his knees have all been shattered by deadly machine gun slugs. He talks to no one at daytime. At night, his intermittent screams pierce the silent dark nights of an evacuation camp. (Pagalungan, Maguindanao, Human Rights Violations Statistical Report, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, October 2003).
Haji Alujah, 9, and his 7 year old brother Haran, are luckier, depending on how one sees them. They run with ease around the refugee camp and smile innocently. But when asked where their parents are, Hajis face contorts grotesquely. His eyes throw menacing dagger looks that could kill. His Muslim parents were found dead one day, a hundred meters away from the evacuation camp where they sought food. His father was headless. His pregnant was mother slashed mercilessly, (Interview with Father Berrt Layson, OMI of Pikit Project Immaculate Concepcion) January 13, 2004)
Meliza Rigaza is no better. She lurks in the dark corner of their falling shanty which once stood proudly before murderous howitzers blasted craters right where her mother dried laundry. Hiding her lithe 12 year frame away from the eyes of prying strangers, she cries. Sometimes, all day, strangely. For reasons unknown yet eerily haunting.(Basag, Tboli, South Cotabato. Human Rights Violations Statistical Report, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, July 2003)
They are the children of war in Mindanao. Born innocently amongst battle-ravaged parents and stripped of their right to exist peacefully.
They are scarred for life not only by hunger and sickness but more so by painful memories, unknown psychological sufferings and inhuman traumatic hardships. All brought about by the unending and fast spreading useless battles in the island.
These children present the real faces of the war in the island. Not the kind that shutter-hungry photojournalists have shown in mediaof young girls and boys holding to guns and staring death in its face. But just faces of scared and terrified youths, fearful and yearning merely to live in peace.
Endangering Children, Killing Hope
It is difficult to ascertain the real number of children affected by the war in Mindanao. What is undeniable is that it is increasing. Many are being killed. Many left seriously injured or permanently disabled. Many more are left homeless, orphaned and separated from their parents. An unknown but growing number suffer from serious psychological and social trauma.
Save the Children US believes that the protection of these children from armed conflict is essential Since March 2003, it started to provide humanitarian assistance for some 4,428 families and 1,500 children through a Children in Emergencies Crisis program. Later on, it launched a
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