Friday, March 25, 2016
Moving in Circles
September 24, 2011 is such a long time.
But, in the anonymity of government officials minds, the year 2011— which gets buried under the pile of history every passing year— holds no special memories. It is just one of those ordinary years.
This seems to be the line of thinking when it comes to the issue of— yes, your guess is as good as mine— the slain University of Malawi student, Robert Chasowa.
On September 24, 2011, Chasowa’s body [whose only ‘sin’ [to the public officials, of course] was to combine activism with academic endeavours, lay motionless on the, hitherto, inconsequential pavement at The Malawi Polytechnic— a constituent college of the University of Malawi.
He had, apparently, been forced to embrace death’s cold arms by people who do not deserve to have peace of mind.
The government, apparently ‘concerned’, instituted a Commission of Enquiry that would bring hidden truths to the fore. Well, the Commission of Enquiry did its job compiled and presented a report of its findings.
On another day, I would have talked about the painstaking delays that have marred the death of that young man Chasowa. But I choose to concentrate on what I saw that September 24, 2011 bright day.
I happened to be one of the Continuing Education Centre [an arm of The University of Malawi] week-end classes’ students at The Malawi Polytechnic [well, I do not like the term ‘The Malawi Polytechnic’; I think The Polytechnic is what the one who said The Malawi Polytechnic meant to say] then.
And I happened to be on campus on the said September 24. As it were, our class [make-shift class that is; for The Polytechnic is notorious for lacking learning space] happened to be the first floor above the spot where Chasowa’s body lay.
Well, we did not learn that day. Sorrow washed through the campus like a rain cloud. Tempers flared. Fuelling this sadness was the blood of Chasowa, which took some time to dry because— maybe— it wanted to foreshadow the fact that Chasowa’s issue would never die a natural death.
People – meaning, those responsible— may have wished Chasowa away. But the tide of public opinion has always been against burying so blatant an injustice under the rubble of bygones.
I visited the scene of the gruesome act of shame today afternoon. The concrete stone students erected inches away from the scene of that horrible act is gone. The blood, repeatedly washed away by rains, is gone.
But the memories simply cannot be washed away.
And, maybe, justice will not be wished, and washed, away.