flames red rose as they arch up into the night and come down in an explosion of liquid on fire, sending splatters of flames crawling up the sides of buildings. over the parked cars.
He is standing beside a high rise apartment building, watching the young men in the northeast corner of the huge square, exchanging rocks and shouts and moltov cocktails.. one side has been hired by the government to harrass the protesters. The other, his students
People are entrenched now, have tents, there are vendors. The protests are in their third week, and growing stronger... the government is imploding, changing, scrambling like the Shah in his last days, offering any concession they can just to stay alive.
The revolutionaries cannot give up, because they know what will happen if they lose -- jail, torture, firing squads, disappearances.... they are cornered by history. In the past, the gov would have kill and torture and imprison the opposition. Until just a few years ago, any meeting of over three people was a crime.
He knows as much but he is going along with the protest, anyways. He has been teaching quietly for the last twenty years, fiction classes where he had to tell his students to avoid any controversy while every instinct inside of him, and his own secret writing, screamed against. Already thousands have died, make-shift prisons have cropped up for all sides... the citizens who were already identified with the revolution could not afford to stop fighting. ... even the ones who got out of the country would leave behind kin who would be punished purely for the association.
He came out that morning to the prostests for the first time. Travelled the two hundred miles from the rural university where he had been teaching for eleven years. Most of the men had already left by the time he did, the students, too. He was afraid the movement would blow over and he would lose his job. He reminds himself how frustrating it has been over the years reading his favorite writers words of conscious and rebellion and yearnings and never being able to write such things himself, without risking imrpisonment at the least. There would at least be a trial. Guranteed trouble.
Soldiers line the square. So far the army has remained neutral. They were young kids at the front, conscripts who had no intention of killing anyone, and sided more or less with the students. They occasionally interveined to arrest people from other side, though....
The sodliers had been held up as the peacemakers in the situation... then it was learned some factions were abductinng peace activists and journalists.... in a country where people just disappeared into prisons without a trial, the terror was right there at this thought. IF the army turned against the protesters, siding with the dreaded Secret Police, who the crowds of protesters had driven out in the first days of the uprising... the balance of power would go completly out of whack, and a dictator would use the moment to crack down on the people.