Saturday 9 April 2011

On Monday We Walk

On Monday we shall have a unique opportunity to join thousands of Ugandans who walk to work every single day.  We normally drive past them in our cars, taxis or boda-bodas.  They are so many we hardly see them.  Life is such that the suffering of one person may break our heart but the suffering of many people overwhelms our sensibilities and we cope by becoming blind to the suffering.  Our interaction with pedestrians is usually limited to impatience as they crowd the roads to cross when we are in a hurry.  Sometime we slow down to apologize and sometimes we pretend not to see when the car tyre lands in a pothole splashing dirty brown water all over their clothes as they rush to work. 

On Monday we shall shine a light on the plight of those Ugandans who now more than ever cannot afford a taxi or boda-boda fare.  We shall show our solidarity with the parents who cannot put a meal on the table for their little ones due to the rise in food prices.  We shall do this simply by walking together with ordinary Ugandans to our place of work and then we shall repeat the exercise every Thursday and Monday until the government pays heed to our demand to intervene and guarantee affordable food and fuel prices.

On Monday we shall face our fears by walking in spite of the siege that has been laid upon our city for the last two months.  We shall walk peacefully with our brothers and sisters and with each step we shall become bolder and empowered.  We shall break no laws by walking to our place of employment, we shall walk together because it is our constitutional right to associate with those we please as long as we do not jeopardize the rights and freedoms of others.  We know that those who are afraid of or demonstration of compassion and empathy with our fellow human beings are those who have reason to fear.  They are the ones with the power to provide solutions but they have neglected to use that power.  Instead they will spend a quarter of our national budget on fighter jets to protect themselves from imagined enemies, even as our children go to sleep hungry.

On Monday we shall measure our worth as a people and as individuals by seeing how many cared to walk in empathy and compassion with those in need.  We shall know our determination and courage to face those who would besiege our city to keep us silent in the face of suffering.  Our courage will come not from our individual determination but from our collective resolve to face our fears and conquer them.

On Monday we shall be so glad that you will be walking by our side.

Anne Mugisha

1 comment:

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