Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cut off and trapped inside

This morning I woke up to wet heavy snow coating the branches and the street. On the internet I watched Ivorian television, the masquerade of Gbagbo being sworn in as president in the presidential palace in front of about two hundred people. Gbagbo himself looked serious, and when a noise came from outside, the audience members looked nervously over their shoulders at the door. On the road Gbagbo has taken, he will always have to look over his shoulder from now on, wondering who may burst in, how it may end. When the gold necklace was placed around his neck, he finally smiled and gave his supporters two thumbs up; his wife cheered enthusiastically from the front row. Of the 15 million Ivorians, these 200 people are the only ones who stand to benefit from his electoral coup.

Called friends on Saturday night. Do., in Abobo, said that Friday afternoon, when they heard that the Conseil Constitutional had named Gbagbo president, they ran straight home. They have not gone out since. They heard shots in the street Friday night and until about eleven on Saturday morning. It was quiet outside Saturday afternoon, but they were afraid to go out. “We have no news,” she said. “We have only the government television channel and they play the same speeches over and over.” I told her that the United Nations, the African Union, France, and Obama had all recognized Ouattara as the true president, that Soro had resigned to Ouattara and been reappointed by him, and the IMF had said they would not work with Gbagbo’s government.

“We didn’t know any of that,” she said. Even the United Nations FM station has been blocked. She had heard a rumor that Ouattara was inaugurated at the Golf Hotel.

I said that if they went to the cyber café, they could get the news on the Internet. “Yes, but it’s too dangerous to go out.” The little boys were playing soccer inside the apartment.

“How could they annul all those votes,” she said indignantly. “Korhogo, Bouaké, Ferké--it’s like we’re not part of the country!”

Her younger brother calls every day from the village to get news but she cannot call him back. Calls won’t go through to the north.

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