BATTLE OF LANGKUWASAN, A LITTLE FOOTNOTE
When the battles between the Tausugs and the Americans come to mind, perhaps the Bud Dahu’ Massacre, or the Battle of the Clouds, almost always is the first that creates the spark, but there is no stopping the Battle of Langkuwasan from being talked about too, among other battles…and here is a little story about it.
The Tausugs who fought against the Americans in that battle were led by Panglima Sakkam (the father of Ambassador Akmad Sakkam, who is my source of this), and at one point in that encounter, the American barrage was falling like rain, for the white soldiers had all the fighting machines that they could muster at the time. The Tausugs could only take shelter and could not match up the intensity of the American salvo, but no, they would never be cowed to give up, for even in such one-sided encounter, running away from a fight was never a part of their vocabulary. The Americans could only wonder at what kind of stuff that had sustained the mettle of these small men. The Tausugs kept fighting back in their own way, though perhaps uselessly under the circumstances, aside from making the big and tall white heavily-armed and pistol-packing intruders realize that they were still very much around despite the rain of fire.
Then, an announcement from the Americans was disseminated, to the effect that all those who, on their own volition, would willingly side and be friends with the Americans, would be set free and given amnesty. The Panglima took the announcement in good faith, and talked his band into using the opportunity to their advantage. So, they stopped fighting, and hoped that their decision would save their lives and the community.
But, the Americans did not think in the same line, to the dismay of the Panglima and his band. The announcement, it was explained, was for those who were not actively fighting against the Americans and who would willingly want to be allies with them. It was not so in the case of the Panglima and his band, for they were actively fighting in the battlefield and were forced by the insurmountable intensity of the fire to cease fighting. So, they were tried in an American court, and of course the decision was against them, and they were sentenced to die before a firing squad. They had to submit. There was just nothing they could do.
The day came, and a squad of sharpshooters was in line, their guns loaded, ready and aiming at the poor Panglima and his band. When the order to shoot was given, the burst of fire reverberated and the gunsmoke blurred the air, followed by silence and disbelief! Panglima Sakkam and an aide, who was beside him, were still standing, unperturbed! Of course, what followed was their demand for freedom, for legally, they had to be set free for the sentence was carried out, except that the American bullets did not work on them. But no, said Gen. Pershing, the American commander, they had to go through another firing squad, and this time, Pershing himself would do the shooting.
On the second firing- squad day, Gen. Pershing conditioned his gun, for he wanted to be sure that the lives of the small men would be ended right there and then. And, he started to volley. And his gun smoked and the shots were heard all over Langkuwasan.
But Panglima Sakkam and his buddy just stood there, scratching their heads, perhaps more confused than scared. Gen. Pershing had to give in–they had to be set free.
Panglima Sakkam and his buddy died of old age.
Believe it or not…. :)
original blog at Kawman Kasilasa.