July 20th – Taking Stock

As the sun is setting on July 20th, at least 11 people are dead in Mzuzu, countless have been beaten in Lilongwe, including seeking sanctuary in a CCAP church. Numerous homes, businesses, and vehicles have been burned, and thousands showed up to demonstrate in Blantyre.

Please keep in mind that all of this is reported second hand – Sandy and I stayed home and followed events on facebook and twitter.  Many thanks to the brave reporters and photographers who kept everyone informed.

The day started slowly as lawyers fought against the injunction filed to prohibit the protests.  Small crowds gathered and in Blantyre, everything remained calm and dignified.  Protesters sang songs, danced, and carried anti-Government signs.

The injunction was vacated around mid-afternoon and thousands more joined the protesters. The crowd is currently massed outside the civic center waiting to sign a petition.  In Blantyre, tires were burned and teargas was fired at an unruly crowd at the DPP (the ruling party) headquarters.

In Lilongwe, things were more out of hand – buildings, including an MP’s house, the Chambe Tea factory and Lilongwe Auctioneers office, were burned.  As the day progressed, violence broke out and protesters were beaten.  One bystander was shot and a police officer is in critical condition.  Teargas was used and black smoke billowed from many areas of the city.

Mzuzu, in the northern region, has seen the greatest levels of violence.  Early on in the day there were reports of DPP vehicles being burned, the headquarters being looted, and the most recent reports are that the military has stepped in and is firing into crowds indiscriminately.  Eleven are confirmed dead, but there are rumors that the number is much higher.

There has been a media blackout for the past four hours and several more progressive online papers have been blocked.  Instead of turning on TV or radio, we discovered twitter.  Long praised for its hand in the Arab Spring, I suddenly understood its power.  We could receive minute to minute updates on what was happening across the nation.  Well wishers from around the world used twitter to post messages of support and solidarity.  Twitter connected everyone and facilitated the exchange of information when it was blocked in every other way.

Some of today’s events are extreme, and no one seems to know or consider what might come next.

Malawi is a peace loving nation – often rated one of the happiest countries in the world, but today, protesters decided they had had enough.    Malawians are so proud of how peaceful their country is that I admit I am surprised by the gravity of all that has happened today.

 

DPP Burning

Victoria Ave

Advertisements

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

14 responses to “July 20th – Taking Stock

  1. Alex

    Thanks for the update. Our love and prayers are with you and all the fine people there.

  2. Thoughts and prayers with you all. Thanks for the news. Lord, in your mercy…

  3. Elva Mapp

    Stay safe. God be with you.

  4. Anonymous

    God be with all those in Malawi. Prayers are with you.

  5. Jeff Wells

    We pray for peace.

  6. Kate

    Thank everyone so much for the responses – here is the latest from BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14217148

  7. John Moeser

    All of you are in our prayers. God be with you during this
    very difficulty moment in the dear country of Malawi.

    John Moeser

  8. BBB

    Maybe the big question is: “Do you have an adequate supply of cold beer?”

  9. Kathy Erhardt

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Sandy and all your neighbors in Malawi. Stay safe!

  10. Anonymous

    Okay, you certainly have MY attention. You two mind your p’s and q’s and do what the American embassy tells you to do! Worried……Barb

  11. My prayers are with all the people of Malawi and all those who are serving the Lord there as well.

  12. i’m supposed to be flying into blanytre aug 5th to volunteer…hmmm….will be checking in to see what goes down! stay safe!

  13. Thanks you for presenting this firsthand account of what is going on in Malawi. It is truly shocking! Here in South Africa we’ve become almost immune to this riotous behaviour, and one wonders when it will all end, and how much more this country can tolerate, before collapsing to its knees.

    I visited Malawi quite often in the 1990’s while it was still a one party state run by Hastings Banda. It is surely on of the most beautiful ‘untouched’ serene places in Africa, with the most hospitable people. It’s a pity that Malawi is now experiencing political upheavals and that people were so unnecessarily killed, but this is what thoughtless democratic change does to a nation and its people!

    I manage a blog called Tia Mysoa (short for This Is Africa – My Simple Online Abode), where I’ve just published an article about Malawi. Maybe you, or your readers, will be interested in reading it – maybe not…

    I hope you don’t mind me posting the direct link to my article. The article may provide readers with some insight as to why Malawi is experiencing troubles. Be prepared for more!

    http://tia-mysoa.blogspot.com/2011/07/sad-tale-of-two-countries-that-loved.html

    Please forgive the political flavour of my blog and the hatred I have for the communists and the current corrupt ANC government. I hope my opinions will not offend anybody.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s