Friday, April 3, 2009

Finesse...Let's acquire some

Word of the week: Finesse => Subtlety and tact in handling difficult situations

We are at it again my good people, relying on the fist to try and fix our problems. Headlines such as "Kenyatta University (KU) riots", "Death and ruins in orgy of violence", "KU: Sorry we used live bullets, say police" among others have been prominent throughout the week. Many of us have barely given this tragedy a second thought because looting, killing, and frivolously...yes I said frivolously...throwing our fists whenever we want to make a point has sadly become common place. My point today is not to down play the issues that the students at KU were trying to put across, nor is it by any means to justify the ways in which the emergency response teams chose to respond to the situation, no..the point that I am trying to make here today is a simple one, yet we somehow have great difficulty in grasping the rationale behind it. Read on and see what I mean.
For years on end, whenever any of our authoritative figures, be it lecturers, presidents, MPs, teachers, parents feel as though no one is listening to them, where do they go if they feel the need to cause a racket? They always come to us...the youth! Think about it, how many times have we had people on the streets fighting for causes they have been led to believe are worthy? Do we see anyone else on the streets fighting these seemingly "good fights"? If we are to be 100% honest with ourselves, the answer to this question is obvious..and sadly so. So why is it so? I have a theory. How many times have we heard authoritative figures say to us we are good for nothing? That we always have too much time on our hands? That we are idlers, jobless, we're the thieves, we're the trouble makers, we're the ones that are carefree? Raising your eyebrows in doubt of what I am saying? GOOD..i want you to doubt me..I want you to give me an alternative answer as to why it is that our young men and women are more often than not the ones whose minds are easily manipulated into thinking that a fist can solve anything, much as our history sharply contradicts this fact.
Let's review our history. Fact number 1: University riots are nothing new. Resulting to violence is always the play that we choose to take, and is often deemed "inevitable" and the "solution" if we want to be heard. Here's my question for you. If this play is so dern great, then why oh why are we still fighting over the same issues? Fact number 2: The violence (I call it genocide..but that's beside the point)that erupted during our 2007 elections is a topic that we now try to elude...and with good reason. I could spend hours on end discussing what was lost in that situation but I won't...not today anyway. Today my reason for digging up this painful part of our history is a good one. Since getting our independence in 1963, and becoming a republic in 1964, for 46 good years, our grand parents, and our parents and even some of us did a great deal of service to make Kenya stand out from other African countries in terms of peace keeping, political, social and economic development and what did we do? We shot all that down in a span of two to three months...and for what? (I'll let everyone come up with their own answers to this question). Then came the high school rioting, looting and killing still very fresh in our minds that we saw earlier on last year! If this was not a tale tell sign of what we are doing to each other..and how our behavior trickles down to our young brothers and sisters, then I don't know what kind of sign we are looking for! Imagine 13-18 year old kids, throwing stones at each other, destroying property, destroying their shot at being somebody, at going somewhere..and at doing something!Yet here we are...picking up where they left off, destroying property, destroying lives, creating situations where lives are taken...can we ever learn or do we just choose not to?
The problem with us, I think is that we are almost never thinking long term. If it feels right today then who cares about tomorrow, right? Wrong! we should care...if not for us, then for the people who rely on us. Imagine our parents struggling everyday to give us those opportunities that see us through high school, or university. Retirement age keeps being pushed up because people cannot afford to retire anymore..why? They are busy trying to invest in their us! Why are we never thinking ahead? Why throw stones and burn the institutions that provide us with the piece of paper (degree) that will probably determine whether or not we have a meal for the rest of our lives? Why burn down the one place that can give us access to all the hopes and dreams that took us there in the first place? And while we're on the subject, what is it you're acquiring from that place anyway if you have to resort to using your fist and not your mind and words to put your point across?
Livid? Yes I am! All it comes down to in the end is loss of life, loss of faith in the youth, shuttered hopes and shuttered dreams for those participating in the violent acts, to those caught up in the middle of something they want no part in, to those who were looking forward to getting their chance to better themselves at that institution.
There are ways we can be heard without resorting to violence. We can use our minds, our intellect, our way with words, we can learn how to have civility in the ways in which we deal with issues, and we can be vigilant in our pursuit of justice without ever raising our fists. FINESSE- our word of the week!

1 comment:

Yvette said...

Talk about being livid...yesterday I was having a discussion with some people on the problems affecting our country and you would not imagine the solution given. "We[youth]need to take a radical stand. The only thing that will help this country is to go to war!" Trust me Gigee...I went to bed FURIOUS and think I still am even now.