I’m new to dramatica and here is sign post 1 for my ‘poetic story’ on strikes in Makerere University, Kampala-Uganda.
Sign Post One
Growing up is a long tedious process
From the day we are born, we seek more
Knowledge is power, as it has always been
So we go to schools, learn and progress through each level
From kindergarten, we all want to reach up high
Tertiary institutions make us feel alive
Like we’ve finished the race
And finally made it in life
Now we’re here, the Mighty University
Beautiful and ranked ever so high
Tainted however, with so much strife
Strikes! Alas! What an introduction to the world.
These feel like a normal occurrence for each semester
From time immemorial they have gripped the Mighty Institution
Man a-time bringing her to her knees
Staff and students alike protesting this then that
Khaki and blue uniforms on the back of speeding blue pickup trucks
Filling the campus each time
Police brandish batons, guns and teargas canisters
“The end justifies the means”, Gen. Luther, the Head of the force exclaims
Endless casualties adding fuel to the fire
And Mrs Cecilia Ayana, a lieutenant in the Force and mother to one of the victims has had enough
Lt. Cecilia wants a way out, a permanent solution
After her daughter, Maya almost lost her eyes
Because of a teargas canister that landed on the balcony of her room in her hostel
An innocent victim to a brutal system
What if she had lost her eyes or even died!
The lieutenant ponders upon this day and night
The horror of suffering the loss of a child
What the parents to the two deceased students during the strike were going through
Innocent or guilty, there could have been a better way
Than the one that led to their death surely
And this haunts her every night she sleeps.
Lt. Cecilia is learning to see things both ways
From the side of the students and the Police
Are the Police always right? She wonders.
And after a lengthy thought process answers herself
No. They aren’t always right.
She now seeks to find out why the strikes persist
And whether they can be brought to an end for good
What if there was a dialogue as opposed to brute force?
Brute force to stop even the most peaceful of demonstrations
Wouldn’t it bring about some sort of change?
Wouldn’t she see her desired peace?
It would certainly be worth a shot
It’s better to try and fail than not to try at all
But first she’d need a way through
Through to the rigid process of the Police Force
To get an amiable solution
After the process is transformed for the better
This brings her to a point where she has to face her boss
The Head of the Police Force, Gen. Luther
After being swayed by her elder sister, Juliet
To try and be more objective
Considering what happened to Maya
And work towards getting a solution, permanently, to strikes
Whatever it takes, which included
Interfacing with the students and getting through to her superior, the General.
Gen. Luther, the Head of the Police Force, is a long serving officer
He has seen the worst of the worst
Terrorist killings, wars to mention but a few
He rose to the rank of General through blood and sweat
And his rigid practices seemed to have always served him well
Making him a rather difficult character
Lt. Milton and Lt. Desmond, long serving under the General
Seem to agree strongly with his methods
Whether to further their careers or not, is hard to tell
A true challenge awaits Cecilia indeed
Who not only has fewer years of experience!
Which biases the top lieutenants of the General
As they believe she’s still very unproven in all aspects and as such cannot advise
But being a lady, in a seemingly man’s world hinders her further.
But she’s a determined lady
Who has thought it all through!
Time and time again rehearsing her speech
Then a brawl ensues at the Police HQ
Between a meek yet indomitable Lt. Cecilia
And two single-minded lieutenants Milton and Desmond
Where Cecilia argues her case having risen in the ranks of the Force
Proving she’s very capable of handling herself
And bringing to light the need for the change in the process
A test of a new process which could end the chaos permanently
As the current process seems to provide only but a temporary solution to an ever escalating problem
Trampling the idea of her gender making any difference
And bringing into play the bigger picture, the strikes!
Lt. Cecilia gets the General’s attention with her demeanour
And for once in his career, he is willing to try something different
If she couldn’t get him to approve a change in the process,
It would all have been for nothing.
The two deaths of students and justice their parents seek,
The injuries and disruptions in studies and businesses in and around the University,
Not to mention the incident with Maya.
Strikes however much the students try
Don’t seem to get the administration to hid to their demands
They fight tooth and nail each time
Against different injustices being pushed on them
Blood and tears is in each ounce of energy
Planning the precise attack on an enemy
An enemy which has failed to see
Failed to listen to the voice of reason
Then the Police come in
Knowing only but one way of quenching the fire
Baton wielding officers
Playing cat and mouse games with the students
If only they could look out for the smoke
As there’s never any smoke without fire
Perhaps then would they understand
The reason why they haven’t been fruitful
Despite all their past endeavours
And now the students are also accustomed to this
Accustomed to the chaos that ensues each semester
Like a plague gripping the Mighty Institution
Eating away at its might and splendour
This vice must be obliterated
And the students too are sick and tired
Of the never-ending drama which is ‘strikes’
And they now look for closure
Closure from the problematic issues they have faced
The shortcomings of the strikes
As many of their colleagues have been injured
Some left crippled for life
All because of this vice that just won’t end
And others were not so fortunate
As they lost their lives altogether
Never will they get to live their dreams
Fulfil the desire they had to get more knowledge
To tackle the obstacle course that is education
Education in this Mighty Institution
Now they plot, plot a way to get it over with
Over with once and for all
Lt. Cecilia, their knight in shining armour
Though trust in her they still don’t quite have
They must try and see how it all turns out.