Voice Week: Guns in the Toy Box #4

Here’s the fourth installment of my Voice Week entries. You can see what it’s all about, and read the first installment in Monday’s post, then #2 and #3 yesterday and the day before. The voices are designed to be read in any order.


Guns in the Toy Box

I understand he wants to see his heritage. I just never imagined it like this. He says he’s among friends. He calls them his brothers. But you hear stories. How they’re so deeply brainwashed they see the enemy among their comrades. He says he’s careful: prays away from the others, doesn’t rub his faith in their faces, but a Mother worries. Can these boys really tell a radical Muslim from a good follower of the Prophet?

And what about the locals? Will they see him as a hypocrite – an invader who should know better?

In sha’Allah, he will be safe.


Filed under Voice Week, Writing

17 responses to “Voice Week: Guns in the Toy Box #4

  1. Dear Jennifer,

    Last line was the kicker and sold me on everything preceding it.



  2. Oh, I love this one. Nothing much to say other than that. Great perspective!

  3. Helena Hann-Basquiat

    Okay, Jennifer, now this was brilliant and evocative. Everything relates back to music for me, and (dipping into the political here, forgive me) in the 1980s, during the latter end of the Cold War, Sting had a song called Russians in which he sang “I hope the Russians love their children, too.” It’s this dilettante’s humble opinion that the Muslims are getting painted as “THE ENEMY” just as the Russians were, and your little story here illustrates why that is so dangerous and so unfair. The Muslims love their children, too. Very well done.

    • The idea that muslims are The Enemy is frankly just as terrifying as it gets. What is it about humans and the need to see everything as Us and Them?

      • Helena Hann-Basquiat

        I remember reading some anthropology article that suggested that it’s a throwback from prehistoric times — genetic segregation, tribalism, etc… And here I thought we were more civilized!

  4. Oh, there are so many more layers to this one. The worried mother who knows her son has to face real danger on more than one front. I find I admire this son more than the others: for serving his country and ideals and protecting the lives of those who may, in their fear, turn against him. This is brilliant.

  5. Pingback: Voice Week: Guns in the Toy Box #4 | elmowrites | Voice Week HQ

  6. evan72

    Wow, this just heaped layers upon layers onto this story. The plot just got so much thicker and it was a pleasure to read. Thank you, truly, for adding such depth to the story. It’s more…real, now.

  7. The worried mother, the faith, the brotherhood all tied together yet trying to differentiate between right and wrong. Love the call to God, at the end – in some circumstances, you can only hope the right will always win. Great voice.

  8. Yet another heart-wrenching piece. Each has shown a mother’s love and concern for her child, and yet they’re so different in their focus and voice. Marvellous work.

  9. Another triumph in the Voice series! A worrying enough time for a mother, without having to fear her son is in danger from his comrades as well as people who see him both as an enemy soldier and a traitor to his faith.
    Well done!

    • I’m glad this made sense to you, draliman. I’m certain that most soldiers respect their comrades regardless of race or religion, but I think a mother would fret about that minority who couldn’t.

  10. This is starting to get really deep, and I’m worried about this kid along with his mom. Such real, universal emotions captured beautifully.

  11. What a deep post for so few words…..I never thought about the perspective of a mother of a Muslim American soldier, but that certainly would add another level of anxiety to what’s already there. Nice post- very emotionally evocative.

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