While outside talking to the security guard and a neighbor, the spoon to pot protest began again. My neighbor was trying to teach me the word in Spanish, but I still don’t know it. I wish I could record the sound of a lone pot being banged, then two, then three, then more until it’s all that can be heard.
More people seemed to be banging pots from my building than Tuesday.
And as I looked up at the sky rise that is my building, as I looked at women at windows banging pots, I just knew that tomorrow’s protests, despite the deaths, injuries, and arrests, will be even bigger than yesterday’s.
For the last two days at school more than 70% of my students have been absent. In all honesty, there’s not much that you can do with that few of students. I try, but in reality I know (and the students know) what’s up.
Today school got out 2.5 hours early because there were rumors of more protests to come. Teachers got stuck in traffic until 8:00 or 9:00 last night. Barricades are going up on the highways and traffic is getting ugly. Luckily, I live very close to the school so traffic jams have not affected me.
With the few students present one could say that this is a prime “teachable moment.” My school has a very strict policy about not discussing politics and, quite frankly, I don’t ever really go there with students. Usually, I try to be as objective as possible and love playing the Devil’s Advocate. Here, there’s no room for a real debate though because the entire school is so anti-government. So I just keep my mouth shut, ask questions, and observe.
Standing on my building’s stoop of sorts, I observed and listened to the pots clanging, the fireworks booming, and the horns honking: all symbols of protest. The same sounds could be heard last night.
My neighbor asked me if I was scared, and I admitted I did have some uneasiness. The government issued an arrest warrant for the opposition leader who called yesterday’s protests, and it’s cracking down on live coverage of the protests. One sample quote reads:
“The government has warned independent broadcasters of reprisals if they carry live coverage of demonstrations. Most have chosen to toe the line. The international, Spanish-language news channel NTN24 was removed from cable and satellite services for declining to do so. Some press photographers covering the demonstration had their material snatched by security forces or government supporters.”
Steps like that always disturb me. I’m not a card-carrying member of the ACLU, but I do believe no matter how much one particular group may disgust me they do have a right to protest. Thus, I myself am turning to social media to get photos and news of what exactly is going on. The Arab Spring showed the power of social media, and this is reminding me of its power all over again.
You walk out into dry heat and tension right now. There’s no way around it. But, just like everyone else, you leave your apartment and go about your day because life must go on.
A friend of mine told me I’ve been isolating myself too much, and she’s right. But then I point to items like what’s going on now and think to myself I’d rather be safe than sorry every time.
I am trying to plan little things I can do to get out and about for my sanity’s sake, and I will definitely be following the continued protests.
Regardless of what happens, I’m just praying for the safety of both sides, for all involved, for people the world over, and for Venezuela.