domingo, 11 de noviembre de 2007

(Part II) "To the highway!" (Friday, Nov 2nd, 2007 and that weekend)

As soon as I woke up, I got ready for going to the university all over again. I was lucky of not having to take the subway this time since I was going exactly at the same time my father goes to the university (he works at my campus). In the middle of the way I suggested him to take another route to get there instead of taking the main highway. Doesn’t take a genius to find out that after all that happened the day before, more protest were expected.
My dad, who refused to listen, soon found out that the entrance was blocked (as I predicted)by the students so we had to make weird turns and make it inside the university by using an unusual entrance. When we finally got there, I decided to walk throughout my campus a little.
The routine these days has definitely become something uncanny even at one of the most stable places of my life: some desk had been thrown down and put outside the classrooms and even the windows, the walls exhibited many messages against the upcoming Constitutional Reform and the remaining apathy among the students. Class? Who said class? Some students find totally irrelevant to focus on class at the moment.
My walk ended at the blocked entrance of my campus just to realize that not only the entrance was blocked but also the street that leaves to this entrance. The students were screaming “A la autopista! A la autopista!” (“To the highway! To the highway!”) and the confused students leaders were trying to make a decision.
“Many suffered aggressions from the police yesterday, they are angry” – A student leader tells me and I can see how right he is. You just need to quickly review their faces to notice how angry and frustrated they are. In that state of mind, I’m afraid any madness can be committed. “Blocking this entrance is not enough for them and they have two options: go to the highway or march to the other side where I know the National Guard and some Chavistas won’t let this have a peaceful end… I’m afraid for the safety” -I see the emergency of the situation and answer to my friend’s fears – “If you don’t tell them and guide them to the highway in an organized way, they will go to the highway anyway… you better take control of this”- He looks back at me, concerned as never before and discuss briefly with the rest of the leaders.
Three minutes later, the students blocked the highway leaving only one small side open as a police request. Similar scenarios were taking place on other universities across the city. I told a friend that by being at the highway instead of the university entrance, we are taking bigger risks – “some crazy man can just pass by and shoot” – While I was making that –some might said- paranoid comment a student was killed and other several injured during a protest at a university in Maracaibo (a city located like eight hours from Caracas) on circumstances that remains unclear (means we don’t know if it was a Chavista group, or some people of the demonstration because of troubles between two different groups, who are both against the current government measures).
After a couple of hours, I got tired of protesting at the highway. By then, my friend and I had reached to the conclusion that this was more a reaction to the violent events that the student lived one day before than a carefully planned protest. But luckily, the leaders took control of the situation and the protest developed in a peaceful way. The police was carefully looking from one corner but not even a single tear gas was dropped, at least while I was there.
I’m thinking that we need to get some white painting again, to remind everybody – including some students who are starting to feel desperate about the terrible situation that surround us- that this is a peaceful movement. And we need some more protest to remind everybody – including some students, myself included, that doubts if the movement is doing enough, given the present circumstances – that we might be peaceful but we are yet, no idiots.
About the picture: I took it from a bridge, it shows the exact moment when the students started walking till the highway next to my university in order to block it.
PS: I came back home as soon as the protest stopped (only briefly). The day ended with some more streets blocked and on Saturday another protest – this time not organized by the students but yet by another opposition group- is planned but I can’t be there: my cousin is getting married and I’m one of the maids of honor. I ask myself whether she’s going to be able to get married after all. But, as weird as it might sounds for the reader, in the middle of the emergency my country faces; I go to the beauty salon, wear a nice dress and spend the night walking with a drink and dancing.
On Monday I’ll met my tutor and the political scandals will show us some new faces. My friend, who defended her thesis with all kinds of protest outside the classroom will still hang out that very same night to celebrate her degree, even if it’s a degree inside a country that crashes little by little, year after year and now, day after day. But that’s just the way our lives goes by right now: as a cartoon where one chapter the cat its running after the mouse as a typical scene of a suburb house and the next the mouse does not look tired of the chasing at all and goes to buy some ACME brand machine to start his own cheese business, knowing that no matter how hard he try to go on his way; the cat will go back and haunt him all over again, seems like forever.

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