(An Open Letter to Children of War)
I wish I could say I know how you feel but really, no one of us, outside the war zone could say that.
I understand you have been through a lot and I salute you for not giving up.
5 months of fear; 5 months of uncertainty, 5 months of being in evacuation area; 5 months under the mercy of people sending you your basic needs; 5 months out of school; 5 months of terror; 5 months of questioning what happened to your beloved place. Long months of asking: ‘Will we ever get out of here alive?’
I know that’s too much for kids like you to experience. I know that’s the most unfair thing children like you would ever have to deal with. But please know that after the war, you are the strongest and bravest kids in our eyes.
It’s not easy to be children of war, I know for sure. I was born and raised in a place known for its Peace and Order problem and that was already too much, let alone war, terrorism, airstrikes and gun fires. I am sorry you have to experience that. I am sorry your family had to go through that. I wish this would be the last not just in Marawi but for the country and for the world.
Being able to experience war all together, and being the ones to witness the damages that it left, please help each other the best way you can. Go back to school no matter how hard. Start reading the Bible or the Quran and understand the word of Allah. Try your hardest to read and write and seek for understanding and wisdom so people won’t take advantage of you, so people won’t abuse you. Do good things each day. Think positive all the time. Respect all Military Men who fought for your freedom. Love all men in uniform more. Love your country, love your town, love your neighbors, and love Marawi.
Always look after yours and your family’s well-being. Ask Allah for wisdom so you know what to believe in. And never lose your core. Always remember what damage this war has brought to you and your family, and use that as a weapon to stand your ground and never get persuaded by other people.
Though moving on is the way to go, but never forget the lesson this battle has instilled in you. Use these to be positive individuals. To be productive citizens and to be peace-loving children of Allah.
Big sisters and brothers, look after the kids, YOU are the future of Marawi. Together, your town will rise again and YOU will make it a better place to live at. Do all things with love.
Do it for your parents, for your neighbors and for everyone who has risked their lives to fight for freedom and peace.
I will keep praying for you. I will keep helping in my own little ways. I know you can do it. I know you will rise above all these because you are at your strongest now. The whole place maybe crushed, but that should not crash your dreams. It’s not an easy way, but keep going, kid. We all pray for you.
Spreading Peace and Love and virtual hug to all of you.