A small girl sits on a cement ledge bordering a sandbox filled with dirt. There are flowers growing inside, blush pink and blooming. The girl is maybe 4, maybe 5 years old, in a wrinkled blue-and-white school uniform, a streak of dirt on her cheek, a dimple popping out as the small feet kick against the ledge. Hold the picture, we tell her. Look at the camera.

Her name is Alysha. Her grandmother Arbaya tells the story. Of how her daughter Rowena left home early on a Monday morning with several of the neighboring women. Of how Arbaya got a phone call from her panicked daughter, past nine, that their convoy of cars had been held by the Ampatuan men. Of how her daughter said she was going to die, and that the media men were outside the van, already sprawled on the ground.
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Nov 21, 2010 under General, Opinions | no comment

Franco’s war

Franco liked to dance. He loved cars, and called his Daddy’s Innova “Franco’s car.” He smelled of soap and giggles and baby skin. “Give me a kiss,” his daddy would say. “No,” Franco would answer. “Come give dada a kiss.” And Franco would pretend he couldn’t hear. “All right, don’t kiss dada.” And then the small body would launch itself at the laughing father, whose face would be smothered with Franco’s wet kisses.

His Daddy says Franco was expressive. “I’m happy,” Franco would say, when the sun was bright. And sometimes, on days that the world did not behave according to the plans of a three-year-old man, “I’m sad.”
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Jun 21, 2009 under General | 1 comment