I would like to preface this post by saying that I abhor violence. I hate the video games in which you kill people. I hate the television shows that involve killing people. I prefer not to watch movies in which people die. Violence is not the answer. Ok, now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems I’ll continue.
Violence might not be the answer but sometimes it is good fun. Today is the second day of Idul Fitri, the five day holiday celebrating the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and children are given gifts and allowed to run rampant. Now, you might have thought you had seen children “running rampant” before – like when they’re crying and throwing things in restaurants and shops. Let me tell you - you haven’t seen anything. I saw today – no lie – a child of no more than four years smoking. Also, in Meulaboh, it seems that every child, under 12, has been given a bb gun and these children have taken to the streets in packs where they carry out full-on gang warfare against other groups of children who are roving the streets in the backs of pickup trucks and tuktuks.
After observing this descent into juvenile chaos did we have the presence of mind to ‘tut-tut’ about the culture of violence and remember how much we abhor violence? No. (Well, truth be told, some of us did). The rest of us, stopped our trucks plastered with NO GUNS stickers and bought our own pump-loading bb guns and began duking it out in, and around, one of our compounds. Children piled in tuktuks drove by and we opened fired. They returned fire as they sped away. Our own fight moved indoors for several minutes when suddenly there was a, ‘hallooo!’ from the front door with a suspiciously Indonesian accent. We all stepped out from our hiding places to be greeted by a hail of bbs that bounced off the tile floors and cement walls as, in our absence, an entire gang of children had taken control of the front yard. We pushed them back out of the house and the battle raged for several minutes as we tried to hold the front door. Luckily for us, they began to run out of bbs and so they crowded around to show us their flesh wounds from other battles.
I guess you could say that I’ve hit a new low in humanitarian work when I’ve taken to shooting children but it was awfully good fun being able to shoot back and it did worlds of good for our popularity amongst neighbourhood children. So, I’m going to file this one under ‘community relations’ and move on.
However, if you take away something from this message it’s that I hate violence. Don’t like guns much either. Ahem.