Let me share this rather horrific true story that I suffered at the hands of the authorities in my country. I was sixteen at that time,
and had moved north of Manila, to Candon in the Philippines. I got a job in a restaurant, but because I was not afraid to talk to the
American customers that came, the owners moved me up to the â€˜managerâ€™ position. It was a few months after when this
trouble happened. The day was very busy, we were totally packed with customers. My job was supposed to be welcoming them,
as I was told to especially cater to the high ranking officials in our little town and to the visiting foreign business men because they
also had money. Their business there was usually to buy from the tobacco plantations and stay there until the whole farm was
harvested and shipped back to where these people came from. My job was to make them welcome, like a hostess, converse with
them. The reason why I got this promotion was surely because I was not ashamed to speak English and I was not intimidated or
afraid of anyone. I was totally comfortable talking to people, in return they seemed to respond and like me. They told me that I
made them feel comfortable, as I tried to look after them.
I looked after everything for them including their food, so in exchange they gave me tips which was more that my wages. THEN
this incident happened during one of those busy times. A girl, who is bit older than me I think she was about twenty years old,
came to the restaurant and sat right next to one of my foreign friends. She was very proud, she was wearing a nurse uniform and
she started chatting to my friend. But my friend could not understand her, so he called me to come over to translate what she was
saying. She became very agitated and hostile towards me probably because my English understanding and speech was better than
hers. As soon, she started telling my friend that I am nobody just a maid that works there but my friend did not believed her. After
a few silent moments, this girl got up and walked towards where the jute box was and she put her coin in the slot and the thing did
not play the record she wanted. She yelled at me to come over and make the jute box work, but I told her that the jute box does not
work because it is out of order. There was a sign posted right on it, "OUT OF ORDER". But she says that I put it there because, I
hated her. Saying that I intentionally put the sign up to stop her from listening to her music and that I was to defying her.
Anyway, there was a lot of costumers that could vouch for me but she won't have it. She then told me that she would have me
arrested because her boyfriend is a policeman. And thatâ€™s exactly what she did, she phoned him and a few minutes later her
boyfriend came with other officers. They with out even asking what happened, just came to me and dragged me out of the
restaurant and forcefully throw me inside their patrol car and brought me to the city hall. There, they told the police chief that I
was a secret agent of the Muslim Liberation Front and I am there to spy on them. I was very scared and there was no one to help
me.People that I knew from the restaurant did not come to defend me. I was alone and the accusation was very severe. They threw
me into a cell. I was there to wait for a verdict. I wasnâ€™t allowed to see anybody, they won't allow anyone to come and see me.
By the afternoon of the next day, I was told that I was going to be moved to the nearby military garrison. Then the army came.
There was three armoured cars and military convoys, they figured I was very dangerous. And so I was surrounded by soldiers.
Anyhow, when they are about to put me inside one of the vehicles, I saw the girl and her boyfriend. I heard her saying that she
won the battle and her boyfriend believed her even though she does not meant for me to be arrested but she was happy that she got
what she wanted. It had become a BIG event for the little town and so many were around the police station. It seemed like
everyone came out to see me hauled away by the military convoy. I heard a lot of murmuring. I don't know what they were saying,
for I was trying to focus on what to do next. I was thinking of jumping from the convoy and running when they were about to put
me in. And trying to figure out how far I can run before they would be able to captured me again. I was praying that if it is my day
to die then I asked the Lord that it be quick. Also, I was praying that I won't suffer from the hands of those soldiers which they
can't keep their eyes from off me. They were actually talking about this out loud because they thought I didnâ€™t understand
their dialect, but I did. The Lord had given me a gift for understanding languages.
They thought, I was a foreigner, so no matter what they will do to me, no one would ever know. I didnâ€™t say a word till we
got to the officerâ€™s offices. Two guys dragged me up like a sack of potatoes, and threw me on the floor in front of the â
€˜Generalâ€™.They told him that I was a Muslim spy, an enemy of the Philippines because that's what the people in the little
town had told them. The general told them to leave us alone but the two officers won't go because they would like to have a piece
of me when the â€˜Generalâ€™ is finished with me. The two officers demanded that the general had to share me to all the men
around. Until they are done with me and after that they will dispose of my body. They said that I don't deserve to live for I am the
traitor to their country.
I didnâ€™t say a word till those officers left and the General told me to â€˜Stand Upâ€™ in English. And so I did. I was not
afraid anymore. I accepted what ever was going to happen to me. I felt like, I had inner peace and was no longer shaking and afraid.
I had to face it no matter what. My survival is in the hand of this general and if I wouldnâ€™t say anything he had the power to
do anything, so right there I decided to tell him everything in his own language. He was in awe and dumb struck, to find out that I
can speak in their
language as well. I did not explain it to him but I just keep on going, telling him of how I suffered through the hands of his people
and how they treated me.
After awhile, catching himself. He asked me to sit, so I sat down in the nearest chair. I was no longer afraid. He asked a lot of
questions and I answered him back. He asked how at my age I could speak such good English, when even the professional classes
werenâ€™t as fluent as I. I told him that I taught my self and I am not ashamed of using it. It is the means of my survival. I told
him my English was why I got that job as a manager in that restaurant. I was crying for I can no longer hold myself. I am still
waiting for his verdict.
After the whole day and after he had his lunch, I was summoned to see him, for he left me for awhile. And put on the guard
outside his office. The same guy who brought me in. I was waiting in there for a long time it seems. I was wondering what's going
to happen to me. Did he believe my story ? or he is just one of those guys who could not wait to get theirs hands on me. I really
don't know what to do and what was going to happen to me next. My chance of running away was very slim. I was surrounded by
these officers and soldiers, all carrying guns. The outside gates were guarded. I can't get out. I was trapped. I can't do anything. All
I could do is PRAY. I think that's all I did the entire time since I got arrested.
Delivered from Prison