I read in a book by Tom Clancy that information is most valuable commodity on the planet, it can be sold for the most amount of money. Here in Cote d'Ivoire on February 24, 2011, it would be generous of the people to say one things to me that is clearly, concise and correct. If I believed it was possible to buy accurate information, I would pay, I do not believe people under great stress can speak simple and clear.
Yesterday, all the taxis in the area stopped running, it was necessary to walk, I asked them why?
First Answer: No gas, which begets the question, then when will there be gas? If all the cars stop moving, and we assume the trucks also stop moving, how will there be gas in the future.
Second Answer: There is a protest in the central village.
Every answer is related to some other situation, any answer or problem is related to another problem, nothing is just simple.
I finally discovered:
- Taxis will not drive during a protest, because the protesters will take the car and destroy it.
- The police are not to be found, there is no traffic control, they cannot earn money, therefore they went home. I would think they would be out to protect the people, this is my naive view, they are only out to control the taxis and cars, the police earn money by stopping cars and asking for money. There was no police force, because the cars had stopped, because there was a protest.
Who is protesting? I walked into central ville with Bah, my Ivory Coast girl friend, when we arrive, some unknown group has set up small "barrages" or stones and debris to block major traffic paths. Who set is up, who is maintaining this roadblock, and who is protesting is not clear. In many ways, this is terror, everyone is afraid, therefore everyone stops moving, if they move, something could happen.
People are careless with information: This is fear, in a situation where a simple answer is not possible, the normal person will still give simple answers. Maybe it is not carelessness, it could be called answers given to make people happy.
I felt like a reporter searching for collaboration, if I could get two people on record that agreed, than I would know something, it would be possible to give to the editor to publish.
Then there is what I know myself and see myself, at the end of the day, i went out walking to observe. What did I see? I saw road blocks, many Islamic people sitting where they normally sit, while all the Christians went into hiding. I would deduce, that this was an Islamic protest in support of Alassane.
Today, the taxis are running, suddenly there is gas, when yesterday there was a gas problem, suddenly that is not longer a problem.
Information is valuable in dangerous situations, however, a wise extreme adventure traveler should never trust any one person. It is necessary to prod, poke and request information in many ways, often indirectly, and try to find the truth that is hidden between the lines, in the blank expressions of people, and in hidden behind their fear.
I think this, they are afraid to think and say what they think is happening, if they did say it, than it is real, and they do not what they are thinking about to real.
Gunfire heard over cell phone.
Bah received a call from her brother who is in the village of Anyame, about 10 miles Northwest of Abidjan. Her brother says at 3:00 pm, Gbagbo reinforments arrived and started fighting with the rebels in the village. I could hear the gunfire in the background over the cell phone, I heard it myself.
"Why don't your mother leave?"
"The rebels will not allow her to leave, and there is no transport."
Now, today is a different day, and her Mother, Brother and everyone in that village is walking away to another village. What was real yesterday, is not real today, what they believe they can do or cannot do changes from day to day.