The Time is Now
One of my biggest frustrations during the past two years was the hopelessness that weakens Guineans. The idea that God has ultimate control reached a new level here and thus left man powerless. There was a lack of courage, desire, and willfulness to take charge of lives--to act rather than being acted upon. Day in and day out I heard complaints and criticism about the low standard of living primarily due to poor governance and corruption (Guinea and Iraq are tied second for the most corrupt countries in the world). The conversation almost always turned to la souffrance. In the taxi--c'est la souffrance. At the market--La souffrance. On the street, at work, at home, drinking café toujours--La souffrance! Ehh La Suffrance! Waving their arms helplessly, they shouted My God, my God why hast thou forsaken us!?!
Ok a bit over dramatic I realize, but you get the idea.
Although convinced that only a grand revolution would set them free, no one was ready to make that sacrifice. They sat under the mango tree sipping tea waiting for God to change their lives. A wise(but not always right)friend told me:
"Melinda, Revolutions kill people. Revolutions mean death, suffering, hunger, lost generations and lost opportunities. Successful ones are celebrated. Those that are unsuccessful are condemned. If the time is not right, people will not heed advice [to start a revolution] or they will fail if they do. When the time is right even the sheep and goats will take up arms."
January 2007-- Guinean civilians decided the time was right.
Guinea police clash with strikers
Security forces in Guinea have fired live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters on the sixth day of a national strike
Guinea Protests Turn Deadly
Clashes in Guinea between protesters demanding the president's resignation and security forces claimed at least 20 lives and led to dozens of injuries.
Death Toll Rises from Crackdown in Guinea
The death toll from the ongoing strike action in Guinea has risen to at least 60 people. Some protesters who were injured during Monday's security crackdown died in poorly serviced hospitals. Union leaders are continuing the protest while local humanitarian workers are struggling to answer growing needs.
So where am I during all this? Safe and Sound in Niandankoro. Not much going on there; only way I can tell there's a strike is that the school is closed--but that's not extraordinary. I listen to the radio nightly to try and understand what’s happening in the cities. I’m a bit nervous, but I’m reassured that it will be over soon. I believe them too. That is until I receive a note from a neighboring volunteer marked URGENT!! The pit of my stomache grows deeper as I read:
I'm sorry the be the bearer of bad news. A car will be there to pick you up tomorrow. Pack only one bag. We're evacuating...