sábado, 10 de noviembre de 2007

Something weird is going on (Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007)

Introduction: I took this picture the other day at one bathroom of my university. It made me laugh. The sign says (roughly translated) “Please do not throw water in the sink, thanks”. Weird way of saying that the sink was broken… For me it symbolizes our current situation.
On, last Wednesday I decided to go to my university to support a classmate who was going to defend her thesis. When I get to the subway station that its just near by my campus I find it overly crowdie: maybe something weird is going on. Then I notice some people walking in the middle of the highway next to my university: definitely, something weird is going on.
A student protest maybe? No, the students are no the only “trouble makers” lately.

Turns out that the people who lives at some barrios (shanty towns) that surrounds my campus decided to block the highway as a protest in the middle of demands to the government for better life conditions. I looked at the protest suspiciously because many of the people are wearing red shirts and I still find it hard to understand why, if they don’t have even the basic services like current water and the government does not listen to them; are huge supporters of the Revolution.
The protesters look at some students who are seeing the chaos behind the university doors. We ask ourselves what to do about it since a few months ago we stopped being just students and became huge political actors. One guy decides to go down and walk through the highway to find out why they are protesting exactly and if it's ok for the students to join.
After he talked to one of the leaders, he asked us to come down – “Where does the Civil Rights struggle begins?” – He asked us. I decided to come down for a little while with a group of friends but soon I felt incredible awkward. First, another leader of the protest warns to the rest of the barrio habitants that we are not “guarimbeiros” (a frequent word used by the Chavistas to label the radical opposition since several protest with the name of “Guarimba” took place back on 2004).
Then, I feel the killer looks from the ones who are wearing red t-shirts and I realized that going to the highway was definitely a mistake. I ask my friends to go back to campus looking hopeless at the people of the barrios (shanty towns) who for some reason can’t join my fight, neither I can join theirs no matter how much we need each other for our struggles.
Back in campus and carefully dressed, my friend expects impatiently for the thesis defense that will make her soon get a degree. But the defense looks uncertain since the jury its literally parked in the highway surprised by the protest blocking their way. They are condemned to be there for more than five hours. So we walk through the university, watch from a safe place the develop of the protest and just wait. The patience must be a strongly value these days.
Finally, long after it was expected, my friend finally defends her thesis (with one jury missing because of the protest around the campus) and gets a very high grade. I envy her (in a good way) because no matter what happens next to the country and therefore, to our lives, at least she has her degree now and no one can take that way from her.

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