No final do ano passado, recebi um email de um grande amigo meu britânico – cujas aventuras pelo mundo dariam um livro, by the way, pois vão desde pedalar da Inglaterra à Mongólia até caminhar ao redor das ilhas havaianas. Enfim, ele hoje é voluntário de uma grande ONG internacional e estava notificando seus amigos por email em dezembro que partiria para o Chade para uma missão de 4 meses num lugarejo remoto na fronteira com o Sudão.
Eis que dias atrás um verdadeiro pandemônio político se estabeleceu na capital do Chade. Rebeldes metralhando o palácio presidencial na capital, querendo tomar o poder. Do outro lado, sudaneses assaltando campos e cidades chadianas na fronteira – centenas de milhares de pessoas fogem de Darfur rumo ao Chade, o que só agrava a situação. Um infelizmente típico caos africano.
O Chade se tornou hostil à atuação de ONGs desde o escândalo envolvendo voluntários franceses de uma ONG obtusa que roubavam crianças de suas famílias chadenses para entregar à adoção em famílias francesas. Ou seja, desde então, voluntários para ajudar o país não são muito bem-vindos.
Meu amigo já passou maus momentos em suas andanças (chegou a ter “mal da montanha” no acampamento-base do Everest e quase morreu numa nevasca no Nepal), mas dessa vez temi de verdade por sua vida, dado todo o contexto do local onde ele está. Antes mesmo que eu preocupada escrevesse para ele perguntando qual era a situação de verdade, ele escreveu um longo email para vários amigos, dizendo que estava bem, vindo de um lugarejo tão remoto que nem mesmo os rebeldes sudaneses querem chegar lá.
Perguntei se podia compartilhar algumas sentenças-chaves de seu email aqui no blog, para que eventuais interessados em política mundial que passem por aqui pudessem ler uma opinião em primeira pessoa. Ele aprovou a idéia. Mesmo que sejam notícias que muitos leram no jornal, acho muito valoroso que um amigo esteja no meio dessa confusão que parece tão distante aos nossos olhos – de repente ela ficou preocupantemente próxima de mim. Eis então alguns pedaços de seu longuíssimo email sobre a situação no Chade:
“(…) We’re now in Goz Beida. But then news came in that the Ade project (three hours from Goz Beida, almost on the Sudanese border) had been attacked by armed bandits and looted (…) and even as I write this at 6.30 am today, they are beginning emergency evacuation (…) to Goz Beida by road, where there is an airstrip. The plan was to fly them to Abeche, but now it seems Abeche is more dangerous than Goz Beida so we are all crowding in tightly here. Going to Ndjamena [n.e.: capital do Chade] is even less of an option now. There are no civilian flights to or from Ndjamena. The UN have evacuated non-essential personnel. French troops are said to be holding the airport and bringing in reinforcements from Gabon and Ivory Coast to supplement their already considerable forces in Chad, and will take on responsibility for evacuating us if need be, if our own plane cannot make it.”
“(…) The rebels had entirely other ideas, and skirted past Goz Beida, heading towards Abeche (the only significant town east of the capital). Again, the Chadian Army (ANT) encircled the town to defend it, while several more much bigger columns of rebels seem to have come in from Sudan (they are almost all supported and funded by the Sudanese government) and headed west at high speed. It seems that quite a few of the nearly dozen rebel movements opposed to president Deby have united for this offensive. Again, with only a little bit of fighting, the rebels avoided Abeche and made straight for the capital, which they have now encircled. In Goz Beida and Abeche the ANT have almost all left, rushing up to Ndjamena to help the defence of the city, or join the rebels, or join whichever side seems to be most likely to come off best at the end of the day. Poor president Deby is rumoured to have even lost the support of his own family, and may have fled the country, but what really matters to him is whether the French will continue to back him, because they are the ones with the Mirage jet fighters and that is what counts here. We are just getting reports of another column of vehicles coming in from Sudan, but these are rumoured to be ToraBora rebels, who support Deby and are rebelling against the Sudanese government. Rebels against the rebels.”
“The very latest news is that large parts of Ndjamena have fallen to the rebels after heavy fighting in the town, especially around the presidential palace complex. (…) Our two expats in the capital are safe, under French army protection. Abeche is expected to fall soon.”
“Here in Chad, things becoming messier by the minute and most the other NGOs in this part of the country are evacuating or have already gone. Most of our people were flown out to Cameroon or Gabon by UN today.“
Sobre a rotina no lugarejo remoto na fronteira com o Sudão em que ele estava antes de Goz Beida (deve ser minúsculo mesmo, porque não consta no atlas super-power aqui de casa):
“On Thursday everything changes, and it is market day. There is no other market to compete for fifty km south, east or west so this small village suddenly becomes flooded by thousands of farmers, nomads, traders and foragers who arrive on foot, on donkey and on camel from every settlement within two days walk.”
“We jog through the empty market area, towards the rising sun and across the camel parking region, (…) and into the region we call the forest. Of course it is not a forest in the European sense, but by Chadian standards it is truly verdant even though most the trees are thorny and leafless at the moment. There are a lot of tall palm trees there among the other varieties, and there is about fifty percent shade on the ground even when the sun is higher. Iridescent blue birds fly among the branches. One morning we saw a small troop of monkeys. Another time we saw baboons, and a few days ago we saw a warthog. We can run in other directions too, within a 5 km radius of the village, but this is our favorite because of the trees, the wildlife, the lack of children and the absence of sandy ground and flies which are a nuisance in other places. If we meet other people, unless they are familiar with our strange activities, (…) we explain that we are just doing some sport and they have nothing to fear. In this place the sight of someone running has only one meaning, which is that they are running away from a danger. Nobody would run for fun, and two foreigners running in the forest which the locals consider a hazardous place anyway, can be terrifying. Two days ago we had to stop and walk because an old man started running with us and could not be made to understand that there was nobody chasing us all.“
Tudo de bom sempre ao meu amigo no Chade.