December 17, 2005

accession day

If it were not for his affable, good-natured character, the young man from Sanabis would be inconspicuous enough. But today he looked uncharacteristically preoccupied. Last night, the call went out about a rally planned for this evening. And not being a habitué of organized events or groups, he wasn’t sure what to expect. To be there or not to be there, was the question all day long. Later in the afternoon, he would confide his worry and unease to a close friend. Would people get hurt? In a serious way? The friend did not sound reassuring. The stakes are high, he said, and he himself will not be attending. They walked along, seemingly in concurrence on not participating. But then he paused and asked: Is it a sin if he stayed at home while others took the brunt of it? The friend had no answer for him.

Later in the evening and as it happened, the 24-year old university student found himself at the first rows of the demonstration. As the helicopters hovered above, the crowds grew larger below. As the air thickened with tear gas, the chanting got stronger. The anti-riot squad reached for the rubber-covered bullets. And then there was the crack of live ammunition. A bullet whizzed her way to his chest.

Hani fell. December 17, 1994.


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