I’ve never been a marcher. I don’t like to feel used by anyone. But this time, I marched and wore black as requested. I marched because I am grieving for those 30 murdered young people. I never thought that our former heroes who fought to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship, and today who are in power, would kill so many young people in cold blood just for protesting, just because they were fed up with the abuse they live with every day. If our young people study at public universities, the government tries to manipulate them through scholarships. If they try to find a job, they have to have a recommendation from the official government party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). If our young people want to organize themselves, they have to belong to the Sandinista Youth or some other “official” organizations. And so on…
These young people were just between five and ten years old when this new “Sandinista” government took power 11 years ago in a time of peace. Through the government dogma taught in public schools—that this is a government that defends the poor–this regime tried to mold their young minds. But our children watched how government officials really lived—the walk they walked—not just the talk they talked. Our students saw that government officials lived like rich people and governed in an alliance with the rich. And our children attended public schools that did not teach them sex education or that the state should be secular or Nicaragua’s real history, about the Somoza dictatorship and how the people defeated that dictatorship and then tried to build a revolution, or how the United States financed a civil war, among other things. But the real history was buried deep in our children’s memory. And when these students saw that they were living through something similar to the Somoza era, that time that their parents and grandparents had told them so much about, one day our children said: Enough! And this government that calls itself “left,” “Sandinista,” “in solidarity,” “socialist,” and “Christian” turned its guns on them.
For many people, this was the last straw after so much oppression dressed up as “good government.” Since the Somoza dictatorship fell, not a single government, in times of peace, has killed, disappeared and injured so many young people. And it had to be a Sandinista government that did it. Nobody can forgive them for this. During the first four days when government security forces began killing people, thousands and thousands of Nicaraguans pulled out their white and blue flags, their national flag, the one that was usurped by the red and black Sandinista flag when people were fighting for social justice in the 1980s. This time we recovered our flag and we are flying it for a Nicaragua free from false dogmatisms.
There was a time that only the rightwing opposition carried our blue and white flag. Many people did not want to fly it because they did not want to be associated with political parties that only defended the interests of the wealthy. But today we all walked over 15 kilometers proudly waving our blue and white flag, from Metro Centro to the Polytechnic University, where our young people are resisting this regime and raising their voices. We marched in solidarity, in a never-ending sea of blue, to let them know that they are not alone.
The wealthy members of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) had their own march that looked more like a fashion show. It was so powerful to see how people left that march shouting that they were there to defend their dead. Many people yelled at the COSEP members, calling them thieves and accomplices of the government. After this, COSEP marchers continued along the route authorized by the police while a sea of people left the official route and headed to the university.
When we finally arrived at the Polytechnic University, there were so many people that nobody could even get close to the students. All the young people were wearing bandannas to hide their faces as they waved the flag. The marchers strained to get close to embrace the students. The scene looked like a Catholic pilgrimage to honor a saint. There were so many people that after two hours marchers were still streaming through the university gates to try and embrace student protesters.
I say this with deep sadness and pride: once again, we have new heroes and martyrs in this country in which those who die for freedom are always the young.
PHOTO / Rodrigo ARANGUA
Traducción por Trish O´Kane