Burning Tires of Rage

So one of the news stations in Dakar (Walf TV, the favorite of my family) enjoys using the Rocky theme song as lead-in and lead-out music. Normally this is just an amusing bit of copyright violation, but tonight it took on a dimension of the surreal.

For those not up to speed on Senegalese politics, it was recently ruled that the current president can run for a third term. To make this happen, he bought off the constitutional council (who decided this). Folks are mad, and have spent parts of the last week rioting. End history lesson!

The favorite rioting technique of the Dakarian populace is to throw rocks at cops and set tires on fire. So, when there was a big demonstration tonight, that was what they did. Because Walf TV is a conscientious TV station, they went to go cover the events. Lacking any other music to use, I guess, they used the same Rocky theme that they use for everything.

I’ve spent most of the last hour watching people get teargassed while backed by the same 15 seconds of the Rocky theme played on an infinite loop. The police in riot gear, combined with the flaming tires and the weird music, give a truly surreal viewing experience.

Where I’m staying is reasonably far from the riots, and though people aren’t hanging out on the streets tonight it’s not a crisis mode. I spent most of the afternoon at a neighbor’s house chatting with folks at an open-house baptism. Clearly, people are going about the rest of their daily tasks–the folks dressed up at the gathering were worried about the riots in the same way that I worried about Occupy Atlanta, I think.

My parents are coming in to town on the day of the election, due to some unfortunate Spring Break timing. Who knows how that will go–I suspect more riots. But that will be the true test of how much life continues relatively normally in the face of politics.

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