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November 04, 2004 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-04

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8B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 4, 2004
Sauto-neurotic|with Alexandra Jones

The Michigan C
Lost Boy reflects on ordea

ELECTION DAY

Tuesday, November 2, 2004
10:57 a.m.
For the first time ever, I'm on my
way to go vote. In order to ensure
sufficient time to participate in the
democratic process, I'm skipping
my 10 a.m. film screening in order
to give myself sufficient time to wait
in line, argue with volunteers, get
into fistfights with Bush supporters
during exit polls. I've armed myself
with my voter registration card,
three backup forms of ID, the new
Le Tigre album and a big-ass travel
mug of coffee. I feel like an inexo-
rable political force as I head over to
my polling place, Community High
School, only a few blocks away on
North Division St.
The only remarkable thing I notice
is that it's cloudy and cold out; other-

wise, people seem to go about their
business normally. Almost every
student-looking person I pass wears
a Kerry pin or sports a "No on 2"
sticker on their backpack, and those
walking back towards campus wear
"I Voted" stickers. Headphones and
hoodie in place, about to participate
in my first local, state and national
election, I push open a door marked
"Polling Place." Even as I pass high
school students in the halls, I feel
uncomfortably young, like maybe
the system wasn't made for someone
like me.
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
11:36 a.m.
That's it. I'm done. There was no
line, the volunteers found my name
on the voter rolls with ease, and

amazingly enough, I didn't spill cof-
fee on my ballot. I faced off briefly
with a younger volunteer who espied
a tiny pin on the strap of my bag that
features Bush getting hit in the head
with a cassette tape and ordered me
to remove my "campaign materi-
als."
Otherwise, everything went off
without a hitch. Connect the front of
the arrow to the back of the arrow
a few times, make sure I got all the
questions on both sides, and stand
around looking confused. Finally an
elderly volunteer tells me to insert
my ballot into a slot in an equally
elderly-looking machine. Reminds
me of Scan-Trons in high school - I
suppose the voting process isn't as
removed from real life as I thought.
As I walk back to campus, I place
my "I Voted" sticker above a "John
Kerry for President" pin, creating a
complete sentence describing what I
did today.
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
1:32 p.m.
I'm on the bus to the grocery store.
I've got to use this gray expanse
of afternoon to DO something, be
active. Although I've got reading
and homework to do, and a column
to write, I feel a greater sense of
agency committing a real action,
like purchasing stuff. Besides, all
I've got in my pantry is stale Special
K and a Tupperware full of pureed
pumpkin.
Haven't heard any results yet,
but I'm still optimistic. While I'm

no activist, it'd be difficult to find
someone who harbors as much bit-
terness and disgust for the Bush
administration and its policies as
I do. John Kerry isn't perfect, but
so many people seem fed up with
Bush. The long lines, the unprece-
dented turnout of blue-collar voters
in swing states - I really think we
can win.
I want to be able to call up my
friends, my parents, and celebrate
Kerry's victory with them. I want to
be able to feel some kind of power
over the slimy creeps who've spent
the past four years lying to Ameri-
cans and pissing off the rest of the
world, I want to feel the weight
- because fear and anger are really
heavy - go away.
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
2:40 p.m.
A lot of people seem especially
chipper because of the election. The
middle-aged woman at the register
in Kroger applauds my "patriotism"
when she sees my pin. My bank tell-
er regales me with the story of how
she had to wait in line for an hour
at 7:30 a.m. and asks genuinely how
my experience went. Maybe it's just
me, but I'm feeling a little anxious.
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
7:19 p.m.
Stuck. Glued to the couch; eyes
on the TV. Completely unable to
thinkabout anything else. I flip
between the networks and the cable

channels, looking for the easiest-to-
understand graphics of poll data. I
settle on CNN, even though there's
no news to report. Some old guy just
tied Shakespeare's political ideas to
the 2004 election. I take a break and
switch to the Food Network.
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
11:08 p.m.
I'm still on the couch, wrapped
in a blanket. There are tears in my
eyes. Pennsylvania just went to
Kerry, but I can already tell it's over.
Analysts create potential scenarios,
grouping red or blue states together
like a puzzle. New Mexico, Oregon,
Wisconsin and Ohio could to Kerry.
Maine's leftover electoral vote could
decide the election. In 2000, such-
and-such was a factor.
There were still hundreds of peo-
ple waiting to vote when the Ohio
polls closed a few hours ago. Maybe
we'll pull through OK.
Wednesday, November 3, 2004
2:39 a.m.
NBC has called Ohio for Kerry.
They'll continue this bullshit for
hours, I know, but it really is over. It
was close, but we got shut down, our
asses beaten, the shit kicked out of
us. We lost. It hurts worse than real
bruises and broken bones.
Better luck next time, right?

By Tian Lee
For the Daily
LANSING - When he smiled,
his face lit up. It reached ear to ear,
accompanied with a joyful chuck-
le, and the brilliant shade of white
from his teeth seemed to enlight-
en his face, winning me with his
enchanting optimism. It shocked
me that a person could smile and
laugh with such sincerity. I won-
dered about the past experiences
he had stirring quietly in his heart
that brought that smile to life.
Sisimayo Faki Henry was born
in Mundri, Sudan. Growing up
in Sudan, his country had been
savagely terrorized by war for
decades. Since the onset of his first
memory, he understood little about
the corrosive violence and hate
that seemed to blanket his child-
hood and early adult life.
For fears of civil war, the Arab
militia from the north had merci-
lessly bombed native African vil-
lages, marauding and raping the
mothers, sisters, aunts and daugh-
ters of the southern Sudanese men.
Nothing remained but parched
lands and burning embers of the
hate-filled hearts that had attacked
them.
The violence of the civil war in
Sudan in the mid-1980s was fueled
by religious differences between
the Muslim Arabs in the north
and the Southern Christians in the
south. Although Sisimayo's experi-
ences in Sudan varies slightly from
those of victims of the current
humanitarian crisis there, his story
remains similar to those suffering
in Darfur - currently the world's

THE TRUTH IS...
TKE INTERINET
IS GOOD FOR TWO ThINGS
JI-MMyiIJOuI4S~eOM
IS THEF OTIIFR ONE.

PEl RSCHOTTENFELS/I
Sisimayo Faki Henry speaks of the terror that seized Sudan over the last few decades.

worst genocide, as it was declared
by the United Nations.
His story of pain, strength,
endurance and hope gives voice to
the millions of people who have
been silenced in Darfur - those
who have been waiting desperately
for the world to hear their cries.
Sisimayo recognizes that cry
well: "I woke up one morning,

and the town was being bombed. I
was with my brother in one of the
rooms, and my mother and siblings
were in another room. When I
heard the bombs, I ran - and I just
kept on running" he recalls. "From
the day I was born, until I was
didn't understand why the people
around me were fighting. I knew it
was war, but I didn't know what the
war was about."
Like an animal being preyed
upon, he knew nothing more than
to flee - and to flee fast. As he
ran, his older brother who was in
the room with him at the time of
the bombing ran ahead, and the
two have never seen each other
since. "My brother had run faster,

and I lost him. He died from
bombing," he said.
The remaining eight of his
siblings died as well from the bo
bardment in his town. The two w
survived are currently in a reful
camp in Kenya.
Orphaned, starving, isolate
and tired, Sisimayo ran on foot
a month and 13 days east, all 1
way across the country of Sud
into neighboring Ethiopia.Sf
parents, both of whom had fall
victim to disease - one of ma
legacies of the war - left a 1
year-old boy with the entire weig
of the world resting on his sma
young, and fragile shoulders.
See REFUGEES, page 9

Contact Alexandra at
almajo@umich.edu.

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