Letter to a friend by me-Why are we paid if we are VOLUNTEERS!
Ekine Gloria ChristabelUniversity of Science and TechnologyRiver StateNigeria PMB 5080Port HarcourtRIVERSTATE Dated. 19th of April, 2006. My best friend! Hello! I can be on phone for hours but sorry you are not clear there. I am always concerned about the health of a ‘sister friend’ who showed me the way in the darkness of hopelessness. I really respect that response of yours. How is your health? I came across 2 nice women on the net. One was even on the cam. She is in the Philippines. Mother (30 years) of a 5 years old boy IAN JAMES. A good name, hunhhh? First name of the author of the novels about James Bond is IAN (FLEMING). So here is my favorite author and character in the child of a beautiful lady who was looking for a lover. She asked for my picture too. Your prayers are being heard CUTIE…! And, another nice girl is in England. Nice response she showed me for my chat. The good news is that she is coming to Nigeria for Easter. She seems a sympathetic girl… I told her I shall be in Europe soon. You always asked what is going on in the mountains? So listen! My caring little sister that I am serving on a disputed border with India. I shall send you detailed correspondence with the ambassadors of 8 countries. After going through that, you shall be clear about the reasons for showing my disinterest in staying in the UNIFORM which our government uses as a bait to attract boys like us. A very recent event that I have not discussed in that is the motive for taking such a decision. I discussed it with my mum friend in the US, and now I am talking it to you… On the 30th of January, I was asked to take 34 boys to occupy some position nearby. I just got some ‘over-hearing’ that we are to hunt the ‘MUJAHIDEEN’, i.e., freedom fighters (Kashmiri) if they offer resistance to vacate their camps (known as TERRORIST CAMPS by the Indians). I after completing the one month ANTI-TERRORIST TRAINING was back in the mountainous HEADQUARTERS and doing some writing business for a military magazine of the PAKISTAN ARMY. I had requested a leave from the last 2 months to see my respectable 37 year old teacher of FRENCH LANGUAGE viz: Ms. Farah Naz Sheikh. I had plans to see her in the first week of February. But, instead, my second in command, a major, delayed that leave. Anyhow, I moved to those positions and occupied them without facing any resistence from the ‘MUJAHIDEEN’. They vacated the camps for us for we being Pakistanis. I was having visions of the sort of stabbing terrorists etc. in fields that can hide humans. But nothing of the sort happened. I sacrificed my requests of a leave where as 2 other lieutenants from my permanent, non-regular unit could have sent on this agonizing task. They were enjoying leaves from the last 3 months as I was busy. And it was my turn for a leave now. Instead of being appreciated, a younger in age and lesser qualified (in civilian education) captain was trying to be nasty taking me as a junior (which I am, owing to this prejudiced system of having a VOLUNTEER and a REGULAR army working together. He was of the view that you should have been in possession of maps of the area which in fact were not given to me. I was just 4 months old in the unit and will do things as told by officers who are in this set up earlier than me. In our volunteers’ regiment we are having 2 categories of troops. First is the type that I am from, i.e., joining temporarily from civilian set ups in emergencies only while serving in non-mountainous areas of PAKISTAN (69 units) viz: EMERGENCY BOYS. Where as the other are serving constantly and from the last 20 years in mountainous of Kashmir (29 units), viz: MOUNTAIN BOYS. The 2 kinds of volunteer set-ups are serving side by side with REGULAR units of the PAKISTAN ARMY. The former 2 set-ups are devoid of some benefits that the REGULAR ARMY enjoys. These mountainous volunteer units may be sent home any time if the government does not require their services on the disputed border of Jammu and Kashmir, (about 20,000 troops will go home). In short, I was not pleased by my conversation with that captain (a regular staff officer in the HEADQUARTERS of the BRIGADE who was in charge of taking over the camps of the KASHMIRI FREEDOM FIGHTERS). REGULAR OFFICERS serve consecutively till they attain the age of 50 years. MOUNTAIN BOYS help regular units on permanent basis, i.e., all the year. We help the regular units as per cycle = refresher training cycles of EMERGENCY BOYS that repeat after every 2 to 3 years on the availability of the grant) in non-mountainous areas of PAKISTAN. I am from one of the 69+10=79 EMERGENCY BOYS units. Some officers from these units who volunteer are sent to the ‘mountain boys’ units for learning purposes for a period of one year. I MAY CONSIDER ABOUT SERVING MY COUNTRY, WHEN A SUPERSONIC BULLET THAT COMES OUT FROM THE RIFLE ON AN INDIAN SOLDIER, SHALL HAVE THE ABILITY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN A REGULAR SOLDIER WITH ALL BENEFITS AND A VOLUNTEER SOLDIER WITH LESS BENEFITS. YOU KNOW, IT WILL KILL BOTH IF FINDS EITHER OF THEM. So cutie, the 2 ‘mountain boys’ officers who had enjoyed every facility (leave etc) had no shame while they saw me move on this mission. I was an EMERGENCY BOYS’ officer who was sent to ‘learn’ in their unit. I was a student and a guest. Those RASCALS are paid to take bullets. And then the maltreatment of the staff officer for a mistake that I did not commit was enough to make me send my RESIGNATION … I WILL NOT DIE IN A UNIFORM THAT IS MADE TO DECEIVE ENEMIES AND FRIENDS ALIKE. I WILL NOT DIE WHILE SERVING A SOCIETY WHERE MY FATHER RETURNED OWING TO THE EASTERN VALUES BUT DIES ON THE BUS TERMINAL OF A TOWN OF POPULATION OVER 100,000 (ONE LAC) BECAUSE NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO DO A CPR OR DEAL WITH A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. I WILL NOT SERVE A SOCIETY WHERE THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE OF A WHOLE PROVINCE DOES NOT GIVE A SOLUTION TO A DOMESTIC PROBLEM OF MINE. ANY HOW, I CAN COUNT SEVERAL OTHER REASONS …! Do you know, the legion in spite of picking boys from every ethnicity or religion (except French Nationals), pays them equal to soldiers of the REGULAR FRENCH ARMY. Why should not I serve a society, whose members can respect my (religiously opposite, i.e., MUSLIM father’s) 5 year stay with them. One of them responded me after 25 years and offered me to stay in his home till the time, I need it. What do you think? DO COMMENT ON IT. Regarding my domestic adjustment, I talked to the lady wife of my COMMANDING OFFICER. They may help me. They are like elder brother and a sister to me. I am planning to visit my home with them. I want to tell my mother about you. As GOD (ALLAH to Muslims) makes me realize that he protects me by conveying me some messages in advance in my countless prophetic dreams, I had a strange vision about a hospital where by I met an African couple. It was very strange … Though, all my visions are a mystery till the time they materialize but this one seemed like related to you … DO TELL ME ABOUT THE DIAGNOSIS THAT THE DOCTOR HAD ABOUT YOUR CHEST PAIN. I AM WORRIED. I DISCUSSED IT WITH A DOCTOR HERE. HE TOLD ME THERE ARE NO CHANCES OF BREAST CANCER! SO TELL ME WHAT DID THE DOCTOR SAY! OK …? I shall come to see you with some one SPECIAL and that too in uniform! What is the advancement in affair of Mr. Joel’s job search? I shall send some material for his Ph. D. abroad. Your gift is not here till this time. Have you sent it? I hope I shall find time to read them! I shall possibly move back to Sialkot before going to Europe. Tell me in your reply, if I missed any of the details in this letter that you wanted to know. I am not responding to Bose Johnson because it is skeptical. Concerned about your health. Regards for Mr. Joel. (SAQIB RIZWAN)