Tuesday, May 31, 2011

AFRICA: MALAWI: 100 DAYS SINCE PROTEST

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "one hundred days have passed since 12 February, when the police arrested Blessing Chinsinga, a professor who had spoken about events in North Africa, creating a similarity with the situation in Malawi" refers Fr. Piergiorgio Gamba to Fides, a Monfort missionary who has been living and working in Malawi for over 30 years.
"In the face of undue attack on freedom of academic teaching sanctioned by the Constitution, on behalf of the police, members of the Union of University Professors (Chanco Academic Staff Union) had demanded an apology from the authorities," recalls the missionary. "The answer came from the same President, Bingu wa Mutharika, who also holds the highest position in the local university, who accused the professors of inciting violence."
One hundred days have passed since then and no lessons have restarted at the university campus. "Despite the strong repression of the demonstrations and serious threats at all levels, professors and students continued their protest for more than three months, even though they know they will pay a high price for this challenge. For them there will be no place in any state institution and the government hopes that the movement will break up by itself, " explains Fr. Gamba.
"Without salaries for professors and students targeted by the police, it was thought that the protest would gradually die down. The government repeatedly appealed to the judicial court to throw the demonstrators out from the university, but they did not succeed. Some students were even paid to denounce their professors to the judicial authority, "recalls the missionary. "Strangely, it did not go as the government hoped, because the support from various universities around the world increased."
Faced with the serious political, economic and social development of the country, Fr. Gamba says "the only hope is the 'wind of North Africa' heads towards the south as a liberation movement. The war by NATO in Libya unfortunately continues and does not help to make room for democracy and dialogue. Even the ancient democracies show the use of means and ways which best meet their interests, "concludes the missionary.

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