Note: One year ago.
It was 7.15 a.m, Saturday 10th December, when my alarm clock started ringing. I was already wide awake by that time though. Indeed it was going to be a big day and was just super-excited. The 10th December is Human Right Day. And who would have thought a month ago that on that day I would be participating in my very first demonstration with Amnesty International?
My anticipation of that Saturday began a week before when a couple of friends (members of Amnesty International Mauritius Section) invited me to join a demonstration organised by Amnesty International itself.
“Amnesty International?” I thought to myself, “yeah, I’ve heard about this organisation.”
The same day my friends invited had me, I googled “Amnesty International” and voilà! I read a little from the organisation’s official website and was quickly submerged into the fascinating articles. “Stop violence against Women” and “Child Labour” were but a few of the articles that immediately caught my eyes. That was big stuff!
When that famous 10th December arrived, I was all too ready and armed with the knowledge I had gained from the Internet. But then my mum got me into a fix.
“What’s the aim of the demonstration?” she asked
“Sensitising people about Amnesty International but mostly sensitising them about human right.”
“Ah, do you know these human rights?” she pursued.
“Well, euh, yeah… euh… actually… anyway that’s why I am going to the demonstration” I feebly answered.
I didn’t even know the human rights. I didn’t know my own rights.
The demonstrators were to meet at the Municipality of Quatre Bornes, where the demonstration would start at 9.30 a.m. The demonstration would then proceed to St. Andrews College, in Rose Hill – an approximately 5km walk. I arrived at the municipality at 9.15 a.m. I thought I was pretty early but the stock of T-shirt for the day’s demonstration had already been distributed to those who arrived even earlier (more than 90%, I guess). Blamed my luck, I did.
Then came a pleasant surprise: a friend and myself were handed one of the seven handmade banners, each proclaiming one of the human rights. Man, I was not even a member of Amnesty International (yet?) and besides, it was my first involvement with the group. No need to say, I felt really important and all, marching with a banner.
The demonstration began at about 9.50 a.m. To no surprise, the MBC crew was there but they filmed their country’s youngsters, criticised so much by themselves, the media, for a split of seconds only. The group of demonstrators however did not seem to care: Human Right Day was more important at that particular point. In addition, what fun it is to participate in a demonstration. Stickers, proclaiming messages to sensitise people, were distributed to the passers-by. And we were doing our best to get our voices heard as well.
Ziyad Peerbux, one of the organisers, was yelling mottoes and messages in the microphone and the group was repeating every single word it could make out, at top voice. Heard as an echo of Ziyad’s voice many miles around, I’m sure.
“Femmes, zommes meme droits.”
“Zenesses zordi, l’avenir dimin.”
“Non a la discrimination contre les victimes du SIDA.”
“Aret la guere en Iraq.”
“La chine… problablaeuhmofozo…”
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