Catalina Restrepo was in class when the University of Antioquia was shaken by small explosions when disturbances and riots started last May 9th. Following, she tells her tale.
Well, I was going to post a while back but I hadn’t found anything relevant that deserved to be written…
Today I’m back here again, trying to make words portray the fear that I felt yesterday while I was in the middle of a riot between the police and some university students.
I was in the Theory of Social Sciences class. The teacher had arrived at about 9:00 am and was somewhat angry because no-one was answering his questions, making it evident that very few of us had read the document we had as homework from the previous class.
It was close to 11:20 when several explosions were heard. The class continued and the teacher insisted that we should concentrate.
From one momento to the next, the explosions were closer together and people were leaving their class rooms looking for safer places, since the building where I am usually found is one of the most affected when events of this magnitude take place suddenly.
I had already come down from the third floor, but I remembered I had to deliver an assignment and I had to go back and get to the last floor to find the teacher’s office… Quite scared, obviously.
After handing in the paper, the classmates I was with decided we should seek the University entrance that is closer to the Metro Station; but there were so many people that were coming out like opened flood gates from every single imaginable place, that we decided instead to sit down somewhere we could feel safe.
We hadn’t been sitting even five minutes, when we saw up close some hooded and masked men and we even thought that they might be coming towards us. They moved on and some meters beyond they exploded something that made a very big noise.
Facing the prescence of these people, the people who minutes earlier had been conglomerated around an ATM machine looking at who knows what, left terrified; just like my classmates and myself at that moment, who seeing that those who were facing off with the police were so close, we quickly found a way to get out of the University.
Once I was outside, fear started invading me, the heat was terrible and a pounding headache wouldn’t let me be. The bit of [tear] gas that I had to stand managed to affect me greatly…
Facing events like these I don’t dare to take sides; but I will say that weapons used to make people feel stronger and braver are not the way to solve the problems for which they decide to fight.
After it all ended, the only thing left was anxiety. As far as I saw, nothing changed. The country didn’t stop having internal refugees and the people who are unemployed, hungry and homeless are still the same ones.
I would like for someone to tell me what change took place yesterday among pipe bombs, firecrackers, stones and paint; because to tell you the truth, I didn´t see any.