‘We Were Bulletproof’: As Child Soldiers Grow Up, Legacy of War Lingers

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As they escape to farther and colder climates, the previous ranks of God’s Army have discovered that their current remains to be weighted by the previous. Even for the youthful era, those that have by no means set foot in Myanmar, their lives are tied to a village lengthy gone or a military since crushed.

Luther and Johnny’s mom, sisters and different kin had been resettled in Auckland, New Zealand, 12 folks now crammed right into a five-room home. More than a decade after arriving within the nation, the twins’ mom, Pe Khen, can’t get used to the highways or the lack to simply stroll to a good friend’s home on a dust path. Everyone is remoted, Ms. Pe Khen mentioned, even when a dozen kin dwell collectively.

“I want to go home,” she mentioned. Then she reconsidered. “I don’t want to go home.”

She sighed. Neither was fallacious. But neither was proper.

Everyone within the village close to God’s Mountain, deep in Karen nation, knew that Johnny and Luther Htoo, born in 1988, had been particular.

There was the story of the time when Luther went to wash in a stream and shape-shifted into an previous man who might need been an apostle. There was the second when Johnny supposedly walked on water, his lengthy hair flowing like they imagined Jesus’ did. By the time the twins had been a decade previous, the villagers mentioned, the boys had assembled armies of invisible males who might ambush Myanmar troopers with barely a rustle of bamboo to offer away their positions.

The villagers had longed for a messiah, they usually obtained two.

“When I was pregnant, I dreamed that my sons were famous soldiers who wanted to be reborn,” Ms. Pe Khen mentioned. “After Johnny and Luther were born, life got better. We could hunt more animals in the forest, and we were safe because they protected us.”

The Htoo twins got here from a household that farmed the land and usual home made bullets for looking. Myanmar Army offensives pressured them into the forests alongside the porous border between Myanmar and Thailand once they had been in kindergarten, and the boys had been anticipated to hitch the Karen National Liberation Army, the most important Karen militia, as their father had.

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