"In the Hands of Children"

Board Game Quotations

In quotes that relate directly to individual children, names and places have been deleted of changed. Stories have been edited to suit the project "In the Hands of Children".

Each quotation was placed on an A5 card and shuffled into four piles.

 

 

Happiness is an imaginary condition usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.

Thomas Szasz

 

 

 

Ladybird, ladybird
Fly away home,
Your house is on fire
And your children are gone;
All except one
And that’s little Anne
And she crept under the frying pan.

Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (c1744)

 

 

 

Children and Fools Tell the Truth

Proverb

 

 

 

The child is the father of the man

Wordsworth

 

 

 

Too easy for children, and too difficult for artists.

Artur Schnabel

 

 

 

Physically there is nothing to distinguish human society from the farmyard except that children are more troublesome and costly than chickens and calves, and that men and women are not so enslaved as farm stock.

G.B. Shaw

 

 

 

Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They came through you but not from you
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls.

Kahlil Gibran

 

 

 

Il faut noter, que les jeux d’enfants ne sont pas jeux, et les faut juger en eux leurs plus serieuses actions.

Montaigne

 

 

 

It should be noted that children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious minded activity.

Montaigne

 

 

 

Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.

Oscar Wilde

 

 

 

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. They must, they have no other models

James Baldwin

 

 

 

In peace children inter their parents; war violates the order of nature and causes parents to inter their children

Herodotus

 

 

 

Children: One is one, two is fun, three is a houseful.

American slogan

 

 

 

The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but children produce adults

Peter De Vries

 

 

 

Children’s talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.

Maya Angelou

 

 

 

Men deal with life, as children with their play,
Who first misuse, then cast their toys away

William Cowper

 

 

 

But, children, you should never let
Such angry passions rise;
Your lilttle hands were never made
To tear each other’s eyes.

Isaac Watts

 

 

 

There is no end of the violations committed by children on children, quietly talking alone.

Elizabeth Bowen

 

 

 

Familiarity breeds contempt – and children

Mark Twain

 

 

 

When I was the age of these children I could draw like Raphael: It took me many years to learn how to draw like these children.

Pablo Picasso

 

 

 

I saw ten thousand talkers
Whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords, in the hands of young children….
And it’s a hard rain’s a gonna fall.

Bob Dylan

 

 

 

Ah! But I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

Bob Dylan

 

 

 

For secrets are edged tools.
And must be kept from children and from fools.

John Dryden

 

 

There’s nothing surer,
The rich get rich and the poor get children.
In the meantime, in between time,
Ain’t we got fun.

Gus Kahn

 

 

 

If you bungle raising your children whatever else you do doesn’t matter very much.

Jaqueline Kennedy Onasis

 

 

 

Bayu bayushkii
bayu
Nye lozhisya na
krayu
Priidyët syerenkii
volchok
I ukuzit za bochok
Bayu bayushkii
bayu!

 

 

 

We were farmers. My parents couldn’t pay for me to go to school. I left school and sold ice cream in the town, at the railway station and bus stops for about three years. I worked as a construction worker for about three years. Then I worked as a trishaw driver for about eight months.

 

 

 

I was taken by the army. I was going around looking for a job, and it happened when I was waiting for a train at the railway station. I was sixteen.

 

 

 

I didn’t want to join. I wanted to go to school and study, and my parents didn’t know where I was. When I was with my parents I never knew about smoking, drinking, gambling. . . . now I know all of these things. I told them I didn’t want to join. They said, "You can’t do anything about it, you’re with us now." I told them I was twelve years old. They said, "Never mind your age, we can keep you in the camp until you’re old enough." I told them I was a student.

 

 

 

I saw two soldiers in uniform, but some others weren’t in uniform. They asked,"Where are you going?" I said "I’m going to visit Rangoon." "Do you have ID?" "No, I don’t have ID." I was still too young to get ID. You an get ID when you’re eighteen. I told them that I was too young to have ID. They said, "If you have no ID then you have to join the army." (Age 14)

 

 

 

We were stopped by threesoldiers in uniform: a corporal, a lance corporal, and a private. They had two guns. They asked, "Do you have ID?" I said, "I have no ID because I’m still too young." I was fourteen. They searched all of our bags, and took all the things in our bags. Then they said, "Please follow us to the office." They took us to the recruiting office in Bassein, and when we arrived there we were put in the lockup.

 

 

 

The police stopped the car and checked ID cards. I couldn’t show one. I was too young to have an ID card. At that time you needed to be eighteen to get an ID card. Now they have changed the age to twelve. The police said, "You’ll have to go to jail for six years for not having an ID card." They kept saying, "You have to decide. You can join the army or go to jail." And then they gave me time to think. They could see I was only eleven, I didn’t want to go to jail for six years, so I agreed to join the army.

 

 

 

I was twelve and the other four were students a bit older than me—some were under fifteen. The soldiers said, "You have to join the army." All of us told the soldiers we didn’t want to join the army and some said they were students, and the soldiers punched us. They asked me, "Do you want to join the army?" I refused and they punched me. They did this seven times and I still refused. Then they said to the other five, "You see your friends? You see my boot? Now would you like to join the army?"

 

 

 

I was taken and asked to join the army. A and two other soldiers asked us, "Do you want to join the army? If you don’t join the army I’ll arrest you." We said "We don’t want to join." We were all students so we showed our student cards, but they tore them up. Then he threatened us and showed us his gun.
(Age 16)

 

 

 

I was arrested at about 7 p.m. when I was going home from my shop, by two soldiers in civilian clothes. They took me to their battalion camp. When we arrived there, they said they were arresting me to be a porter. "In four or five days we’ll release you, so you must sign these papers." They were printed papers with stamps, and I had to sign two or three of them. I don’t know what they said. I didn’t say anything because I was afraid.

 

 

 

On my way home from school I was arrested by soldiers on the street. I was with three friends. The youngest was eleven, one was twelve and the other was thirteen. Two soldiers took our bags and books and threw them away. We still didn’t think we’d be forced to join the army, because we were students.

 

 

 

I was going around looking for a job, and it happened when I was waiting for a train at the railway station. Some soldiers asked, "Have you been a soldier?""No." "Do you want to join now?" "No, I don’t." We were tied together with a rope. We were kept tied up for two days, so that we couldn’t run away. No one talked to us, just a few words when they brought us food. After two days at that camp they sent us to the new recruits’ place not very far away.

 

 

 

They sent me to a special place in their army camp where there are a hundred boys, aged from four up to sixteen. They gather boys who are orphans and care for them in the camp. They sent some to the school they have there. (recruited at age twelve.)

 

 

 

On the train they said "You must join the army. You are lost, so you must follow us and join the army. You have no ID card and no papers, so the only way is to join the army. If you try to escape or refuse to join we’ll use these handcuffs.

 

 

 

It was because I wasn’t happy and the food was bad and sometimes I was beaten, so I thought life might be better in the army. About two weeks after I was in the army training I realized I’d made a mistake and should have chosen school.

 

 

 

We had to lay down because someone was shooting over our heads. Three trainees were killed by the shooting because they stood up. When it happened the trainers reported to the officers that those three had escaped. They were my age. I don’t know their names.

 

 

 

An Officer asked a young trainee to buy something for him in the market. Then he followed him to the market and told him, "Run away. Don’t worry." It was too difficult to run away on foot because there are too many soldiers, so the NCO gave him a bit of money so he could run away by car. And he ran away. That boy was fifteen.

 

 

 

 

We had to shoot anything alive. I think all of them were civilian villagers, but we reported to headquarters that they were all rebels. Two or three were women, the rest were men. All were adults. Twice I saw a soldier who was sixteen or seventeen kill a man with his weapon. I think they were villagers. The commander ordered him to do it. They captured them and killed them.

 

 

 

Then they took them away in a line to a little gully some distance away and made them stand in a line along the slope. All the soldiers were guarding them. Then six of the corporals loaded their guns and shot them. They fired on auto. The women had no time to shout. I saw it. I felt very bad because there were all these people in front of me, and they killed them all. Their bodies were left there.

 

 

 

"I felt sad, because they had done nothing wrong and knew nothing. I would have refused to kill them like that. . . . I was kind to the villagers and I didn’t want to kill them. I hated the soldiers when they did these things."

 

 

 

"We captured about ten women and children after some fighting. The captain with us asked for orders from the battalion commander, and the order was to kill them. This is not right, these were women and children. I have a mother, sisters, brothers, and they were like them. They knew nothing about the fighting."

 

 

 

It was a Sunday in 1992. We’d just finished the opening ceremony of our new church. At about midnight they came to the church and arrested the five of us. One of them pointed a gun at me and said, ‘Don’t run away or I’ll shoot you.’ He tied me with rope. At the same time they went to our house, broke down the door and captured my sister. She was about fourteen.

 

 

 

All of us were under eighteen, and about two thirds were girls. One girl was very young, I think she was about eleven. She was crying all the time They were all very upset. Most of the girls were crying, and one very young boy was crying too. I think he was ten years old."

 

 

 

I was happy, because I’m a soldier. Once you’re dirty you’ll always be dirty.

 

 

 

One of them pointed a gun at me and said, ‘Don’t run away or I’ll shoot you.’ He tied me with rope. At the same time they went to our house, broke down the door and captured my sister. She was about fourteen.

 

 

 

I didn’t write to my family because if I wrote they would have been very sad for me. I miss them, but I don’t want to contact them because they probably think I’m dead. If I go home I’d be arrested because I ran from the battalion, and then my parents will be sad and troubled again. I don’t want to bring trouble to my family anymore.

 

 

 

We had to lay down because someone was shooting over our heads. Three trainees were killed by the shooting because they stood up. When it happened the trainers reported to the officers that those three had escaped. They dug graves in the forest and buried them there. They were my age. I don’t know their names because they were in other training companies, I just heard about it. Those three were shot, and two others died of sickness. One of them went to work carrying water for an officer and he got wet, later he got sick and died.

 

 

 

My NCO asked a young trainee to buy something for him in the market. Then he followed him to the market and told him, "Run away. Don’t worry." It was too difficult to run away on foot because there are too many soldiers, so the NCO gave him a bit of money so he could run away by car. And he ran away. That boy was fifteen.

 

 

 

I was the one who had to go and give him his food. He was crying. He couldn’t feel pain anymore. The stocks were inside the barracks but on the dirt floor, the bare ground. He could only sit or lay straight back on his back. . . . I talked to him. When the sergeant wasn’t there I said, "Do you want to run away?" and he said, "Yes, I want to see my parents." I said, "Why did you try to run away now? We are closed in here. I want to run away too, but we have to look for the right chance. Some day I will run away too."

 

 

 

I was afraid that first time. The section leader ordered us to take cover and open fire. There were seven of us, and seven or ten of the enemy. I was too afraid to look, so I put my face in the ground and shot my gun up at the sky. I was afraid their bullets would hit my head. I fired two magazines, about forty rounds. I was afraid that if I didn’t fire the section leader would punish me. (12 year old)

 

 

 

When I was young I didn’t know that the army had killed my father. Even during the military training I didn’t know. But when I was at the front line our unit forced villagers to be porters, and when they couldn’t climb the mountains they were killed. Then I remembered my father, and realized that he’d been killed by the army. After that I thought that taking porters is very unfair, and I never beat a porter.

 

 

 

Then they took them away in a line to a little gully some distance away and made them stand in a line along the slope. All the soldiers were guarding them. Then six of the corporals loaded their guns and shot them. They fired on auto. The women had no time to shout. I saw it. I felt very bad because there were all these people in front of me, and they killed them all. Their bodies were left there.

 

 

 

"If you don’t follow orders that means you are against your country. . . . If ordered to kill a baby and I don’t, I’ll be sentenced to death and someone else would still kill the baby. So I would kill the baby."

 

 

 

Court Evidence

Q: And you are telling the truth up there, are you, on the witness stand?
A: Yes
Q: It is not all a pack of lies?
A: No
Q: You are not fabricating this evidence just to support your mother, or have a go at your father in some way?
A: No, I am telling the truth (12 years)

 

 

 

Q: Now you said you used the term "bull artist"?
A Yes
Q. Are you absolutely certain that was the term you used?
A: Yes
Q: You have no doubt about that?
A: No
Q: You could have used the words "You’re a big fat liar"?
A: Yes
Q: And not the term "bull artist"?
A: Yes I could have.
Q: See you could be mistaken about a lot of evidence you are giving, could you not?
A: Yes (10 years)

 

 

 

Q: I put it to you, you have made up this story.
A: Beg your pardon?
Q: About what the, you say the defendant did to you and made you do to him, you made it up, have you not?|
A: No
Q: You have made it up because you have been upset and angry with the defendant from time to time, have you not?
A: No.
Q: It is a pack of lies. I am sorry I withdraw that. ….he will not….It is all a pack of lies, is it not?
A: No. (13years)

 

 

 

Q: And what I suggest to you that all your evidence about what happened on this day is not only a mistake, but it is untrue?
A: That’s not untrue. (13 years)

 

 

 

Q: Do you sometimes make up stories, Susan?
A: At school.
Q: Anytime?
A: yes.
Q: Those stories are what you think about in your head?
A: Yes.
Q: Do you make up stories that are sometimes not true?
A: Yes.
Q: Do you make up stories from what is inside your head?
A Yes.
Q: You think about things and you tell them to others and they are not true. Is that right?
A: I write it down on paper.
Q: You write it down on paper. O.K. You make up stories on Paper?
A: Yes.
Q: Do you sometimes make up stories when you tell other people?
A: Sometimes but most of the time I tell the truth.
Q: But you don’t always tell the truth?
A: Only when I make up stories. (7years)

 

 

 

Q: Do you write essays at school?
A: Um, No.
Q: Do you know what an essay is?
A: Yes. A long story.
Q: You don’t write stories at all at school?
A: In English, we just write stories but not really long ones
Q: And are you pretty good at making up stories?
A: Oh, with my imagination just little stories, yeah.
Q: So you’ve got a fairly good imagination?
A: Yeah.
Q: And see I suggest to you that this is in your imagination.
A: No. No it isn’t. (11 years)

 

 

 

Q: You have said that you have dreams from time to time?
A: Yes.
Q: Have some of them been pleasant dreams?
A: Only a few that I’ve…I remember.
Q: Where nice things happen?
A: Yes
Q: And have some of them been unpleasant dreams?
A: Yes
Q: But you have sometimes woken in the middle of the night thinking that something terrible was happening only to find out it was just a dream?
A: Yes.
Q: And those dreams can be very real, can they not?
A: Yes. (ten years)

 

 

 

Q: I put it to you, you have made up this story.
A: Beg your pardon?
Q: About what the, you say the defendant did to you and made you do to him, you made it up, have you not?
A: No
Q: You have made it up because you have been upset and angry with the defendant from time to time, have you not?
A: No.
Q: It is a pack of lies. I am sorry I withdraw that. ….he will not….It is all a pack of lies, is it not?
A: No. (13years)

 

 

 

Q: And I take it you spent a lot of time with each of those police officers before coming to court today, have you not?
A: Yes.
Q: And have they gone through the evidence that you would give this morning with you?
A: yes
Q: And have they told you what to say in relation to certain questions?
A: No.
Q: Have they told you the sort of questions they were going to ask you?
A: Yes.
Q: And how many times did they ask you, tell you what questions they were going to be asking you?
A: Only once. (10 years)

 

 

 

Q: And you found yourself in this position because you were trying to get away from home and your complaints didn’t work and then you made up this story and you have to stick to it. What do you say to that?
A: No. If I made up the story why would I…….
Q: Just answer the question please. (13 years)

 

 

 

He is very tall and wiry, He has black eyes, a long face and short black hair. He begins talking in a whisper, constantly looking at the headman of the village for approval. He was 14 when he was forced to join the militia. He comes from a village where 144 families used to live. Only 90 live there now.

 

 

 

The militia came and beat many people and killed some. They said that if we did not join them we would die. My parents were afraid and they said "If the soldiers ask you to do anything just do it or they will kill us.

 

 

 

The first time they took me from my house we had to rape a woman and kill anything we could find, like animals and people. They ordered us to do it and we did. Everyday they forced us to burn houses, kill animals and harass people. Many in my group enjoyed themselves burning and killing. If we didn’t do this we would die. Everyday they would come to get us and if we said we wouldn’t go they would threaten us with machetes. They beat me every day.

 

 

 

They killed many people but I don’t know where they put the bodies. There was so much blood. They drank alcohol and ate amphetamines but I didn’t.

 

 

 

They trained us to use guns and knives and how to attack and kill. They never talked about human rights - They only told us how to rape, steal and kill.

 

 

If I cried in front of them I would die. I would only cry in my home. I still wake up from bad dreams. I don’t remember my dreams but I feel afraid when I wake up. I am still afraid.
Age 14

 

 

 

About ten soldiers came with guns and said "Come with us."

We said, "We are too young." But they said, "come with us and we will give you food and candy."

 

 

 

Others said that their parents had kicked them out of the house and they didn’t know where to go. Like us they were forced of kidnapped with the promises of food and candy. We were afraid of what we could tell our parents. I tried to write.

 

 

 

I stayed for five years. We were told we couldn’t go home and that we had to stay. They threatened us to stop us from escaping. Some tried and were sent to prison. Some were beaten, some killed themselves. Most wanted to just go home. We were children. We wanted to play, have fun and work with our parents.

 

 

 

I wanted an education. I an illiterate now. I can only write my name. Within the camp you don’t want to go to school. I took care of the pigs and worked at the fish pond, and raised chickens. You could do all of these things but you couldn’t go home.

 

 

 

Some officers were nice. Some kicked us if we cried. A child crying a lot and not taking orders was sent to prison.

 

 

 

I felt no freedom. I wanted to see my parents. Finally I decided to run away. After I escaped the army told my parents that I had died in the fighting. I have bad dreams. Sometimes I dream I am being killed, sometimes tortured. Sometimes I dream I will meet my parents but they are sick.

 

 

 

One day, if I get the chance…..I will do something for all the people sharing the same suffering. If I hadn’t been taken by the soldiers, I’d be living with my parents happily, warmly. I’d be educated. That’s what I want.
Age 7 when kidnapped.

 

 

 

I was not forced to become a porter but my family was told that if they refused I would be sent to the frontline. Joined when 10

 

 

 

They went from house to house and when they found people who had helped their enemy, they beat them. Later they came to my house and threatened my parents. My father was very scared and he asked me to join them, otherwise they would kill all of us. Then they forced all people in the village to join them. My father was very old so they didn’t force him to join. I was paid once; when I first joined the militia. 17 years

 

 

 

A group of soldiers knocked loudly on the door. Five others, all about the same age, did not escape and were taken by the soldiers. I was crying. I was dragged out of my house and put on a boat and taken to the army. I was considered an adult. (Joined age 9)

 

 

 

I remember the day that a commander came to my schoolroom and told the teacher they needed people to transport weapons. All the children were told to report for duty the next day. Many were very scared, but they knew that if they refused to go they would be sent to the frontline. We were terrified of landmines. The paths up the mountain were littered with them. It was difficult to concentrate both on carrying huge shells and watching out for mines. Age unknown

 

 

 

I was arrested on the way back home from school. I was 14. The Sergeant asked me, "Will you go with me?" I said no. But he took me. He took me to the recruitment center and just left me.

 

 

 

I joined to serve the people in the mountains. We protected them from violence and harm, from the government soldiers. These soldiers, they were abusive; that’s why we kept watch. That was how we helped the people in the mountains.

Age 14

 

 

 

Realistically, if the enemy is approaching and destroying your community, how can you stand back?… …I want to save my island and my people….I have five brothers.Four joined the fighting, three joined before me. I want to defend my island and my people. My parents supported me. They know it’s the right thing. If people don’t join, there wouldn’t be anyone to guard the families. My parents know our island is our life. …Age 17

 

 

 

I joined the group because my community was slaughtered in an inhumane fashion. I fought as a volunteer without being forced by anyone because I cannot bear to see my community slaughtered like that. Age 16

 

 

 

We feel it’s no good. I think about my mother and father, and the village burned down, and the stories my parents tell about other people, that is why I came to the soldier’s camp. Age 15

 

 

 

When I was seven years old, I saw the military take away my defenseless father from our house…….. But I saw the military take away my father so I joined my grandfather who went to the mountains to join the movement.

 

 

 

Many women joined the clandestine movement because they were searching for the right way to help their country and to get independence. …there were more women than there were men. Even though we were youth we discussed independence and self-determination. We discussed how we could live in peace and respect each other so that the youth would understand how to love each other.

 

 

 

Why do I feel angry? They killed my brother and uncle (an old man)when they went [to the fields]. I want to go and make payback with them, remove them from our area. My parents tried to stop me, but I was too determined. They realized if I stayed in the village, I would be affected, that I might be killed. They were worried about me staying there and finally said, okay, I can go. Age 9

 

 

 

I just wanted to be a soldier. I was attracted by the soldiers when I saw them in the village. I think soldiers are very beautiful. It makes me want to join the army. Age 14

 

 

 

I volunteered to join with my big brother. He was about 20. Another brother joined. My parents tried to stop me. They said, "You’re too small." I had dropped out of school at Grade 5. Age 8

 

 

 

I was 14 when I joined. I was out of school then. My grandfather and grandmother sent me to school but I did not take my studies seriously. I had no parents to look after me. I thought what the heck – my life was meaningless anyway.

 

 

 

My father was shot dead by the Indonesian military when I was 12 years old and that is when I went to join. They accepted me to join because there was no other place for me to run, My mother had died earlier and the only choice was to join and fight.

 

 

 

My mother married again after she divorced my father. My stepfather said to me, "My marriage with your mother is not for feeding you." So I went to live in a monastery. I was five years old. When I was 13 I went to live with an uncle in another town and worked in a teashop. I tried to return to my mother’s house, but she and her husband had moved to another town without letting me know. So I joined the army. Age 16

 

 

 

I send most of the money I am paid each month back home. To this day I have never admitted to my family that I am in the army – I am too afraid that they would force me to return home. How would I provide for them? Joined at Age 13