Friday, 29 October 2010

On the Skyscraper

On the tarmacked city platform, there's hide and seek
Tear gas lobbed, city in a mist
Running battle between police in riot gear
And university students gone rampage with cheer

Stones of different shapes and sizes thrown, shops looted clean
Hawkers chased like demons, cars burnt to scrapes
Commuters stranded, bus stations deserted
City in one hell of commotion

Lectures have stalled, administration paralysed
Lecturers duck behind walls, some trapped between barbed wire fence
The Dean's office is locked, so are the HOD's and Financial Administrator's
The Vice Chancellor is hidden under the office table, scared out of his wits

'Linga' 'Linga' rents the air
More stones sprayed
On common enemy: policemen
Till there are no stones to be thrown
Till there are no tear gas lobbed

It all started when that drunken student
Was knocked dead near Campus, twas past midnight
Students passed word round, for revenge, sweet revenge
Against the transport system-cars, nissans, trucks, tuktuks--the lot of them!

 So as fate would have it, the CEO of a blue-chip company was whisked out of his vehicle
Imported Range Rover burnt black, bonfire lit around it in farewell
The CEO stood there shell-shocked, watching and waiting and wailing in heart

University Library, ultra-modern, state-of-the-art
Stacked with books and periodicals and journals
The largest in Eastern and Central Africa--
Went up in flames, thick fumes of academic waste

Thus I stood on a skyscraper, stared long and hard
There below the staged circus in the city
Wondering to myself:
How can stones be thrown, building stones when I live in a mud-walled hut?
How can stones be thrown when we have pot-holes in our roads?
Whence comes the energy when NYS lacks manpower?
What about research, search of knowledge?

During my days of yore
We went to the streets to press for the release of political detainees
We went to the streets for more lecturers
We went to the streets for a cause, a just cause

On the skyscraper, I cried for my beloved universities
Like a drunken ghost staggering, casting frightening shadows
On the skyscraper, I cried for our future
Taken hostage by new craze in town

I asked myself:
For how long will tear gas be lobbed?
For how long will stones be thrown?
For how long will our student protest over bread and butter issues?

I asked myself many questions, searching questions
About our students
Our universities
Our country
Our system
Our collective rot

Thus I got a loudspeaker and boomed:
Comrades! Listen! Brain, not brawn! Civility, not primitivity!
Exit Neanderthal Era of stone-throwing
Enter dialogue and sterile sanity
I shouted and shouted, again and again
Till my comrades camped for campus
Till policemen zoomed to their stations

C) Lorot Salem 2010


sue said...

sisemi kitu!

Lorot Son of the Hills said...


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