The election day


The streets of this normally crazy, crowded city were empty. The women at the roadside where I usually buy my five-shilling vanilla cookies every morning had disappeared. Even the matatus which are typically playing loud music as they honk at pedestrians crossing the streets, making them jump and run helter-skelter, were nowhere in sight. Basically, I was the only (naïve) person going my way, as if it was a normal working day. The policeman looked at me keenly as I passed by him. This place where you ordinarily could barely hear your own voice, and in which you needed to watch your every step, had turned into a ghost town.

Empty. Cold. Lonely. I could feel the tension behind the closed doors. The fear of people who preferred to shut their business and stay at home, than risk not knowing what would happen next.

The feeling of fear and anger overcame me. What was happening to my beloved city? What was happening to the warm-hearted people who work side-by-side every day?

Is this the price people should pay for the so-called democracy and peace? Fear, tension and anger; Women not earning their daily bread; Men suspecting each other; Children not allowed to play outdoors?

Where does this bitterness come from after maintaining peaceful cohesion for all these years? What became of the images of dads, grandmothers and uncles queuing for hours behind each other at the polling stations, and proudly showing their black-marked fingers as proof of casting their vote?

I could feel the deep frustration and fear about what would be happening next; what would be happening when they enter their houses and when they would leave?

And hidden behind this daily impression of people doing their usual business, running around each day to feed their family, the anger was still there – anger against the past, against the impartiality, against the impunity, against the injustices. It was camouflaged by the daily routine, but not gone. The hate was well hidden, waiting to come out at the ‘appropriate’ moment.


in Blog

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