Friday, May 1, 2009


Looming strife, based on trifles unresolved is the best way to describe the recent going ons of what is slowly becoming an enigmatic Kenya. For days on end I have been going through the national papers, and following every clip posted on “you tube” by every media source I can think of that would give me some news on Kenya, and it has been devastating to state the least. A culmination of bitterness, sadness, anger, dejection, confusion and sometimes hatred overcome me as I try to make sense of the massacres, the public fighting and humiliation, the pointing fingers, and the careless remarks being made of a country so full of potential yet so focused on the irrelevant, that the potential goes unnoticed.

This month has been a busy one for truthspeak! Based on a prior article on “Finesse” whose main goal was to call into question the quick resolve we tend to lean toward as a way to show frustration, and as an attempt to have a quick fix to our problems, many questions and comments have followed me about my stance on violence. Majority of the readers have come back to me with a different point of view on the issue. Before I present their view, I think it is important to state that the premise of their argument is that there is only so much we as human beings can take before civility is thrown out the window. In a nutshell, the argument presented, and as I understood it, stated that based on our history, dating back to the Mau Mau era, the only language understood on the seriousness and severity of an issue, by those who have the power to change a situation, is the language of violence. Granted, based on our history, nothing I can say can contradict this point of view but I dare to come out, guns blazing (pardon the pun) and state that the conditions in which the Mau Mau were fighting are extremely different from our conditions now in the sense that they were fighting the “other”, they were fighting an invasion of our land, our culture, our resources and most importantly, they were fighting against the chains that bound us from being our own people, from governing ourselves and from realizing our full potential. What we have going on today is bloodshed of our people by our own people, and we are slowly allowing ourselves to become the system our ancestors died opposing.

That stated, let’s attempt to do something a little unorthodox today. Instead focusing on the many things that have gone devastatingly awry in our country over the last many years, let’s focus on what we can do to make things better! The ultimate question on our minds is how we get ourselves out of the mess we involuntarily find ourselves in. At first glance, all fingers point to the government. The leaders have failed us; they are tagging on opposite ends of the rope that is representative of our lifeline in terms of politics and socio-economic affairs. They all seem to be going off on their own tangents, and we are unwillingly caught in the middle of it, not knowing which way has our best interests at heart, if any. For most of us, 2012 cannot come any sooner! Maybe this time we will choose more wisely. BUT! Does a change of leaders automatically mean a resolve in the issues we face now? What guarantees do we have that those elected then will be any better? There are no guarantees in life, are there? In President Obama’s words, we need to stop sulking, dust ourselves off and be the change we want to see!

A proposition to educate ourselves before the coming elections is one that is snared upon by many and maybe even referred to as an idealist way of thinking, yet a far cry from reality. I stand firm in my belief that education is key when it comes to any democracy. Knowing what you want and need and what you do not want is the only guarantee of getting as close as you can to having what you need. If we are truly frustrated and fed up with the way things have been going on of late, then it only makes sense to not go the same route again, but you must know what you want as well. Wanting change is not enough, we must educate ourselves on what kind of change we want. Gandhi said it best when he stated that “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world”.

Number two on our list should be the realization that the government officials can only do so much. They are the great force that is meant to oversee the affairs of our country, and that’s fine, but we must realize that they are not omnipresent; neither are they omnipotent, omniscient, nor omni-benevolent. They cannot take care of every single mishap, crime, or act of oppression we may face at any one given time within the time frame that we expect them to. We cannot keep waiting for the government to take control of certain situations, especially when, in the case of the current government, they are busy dealing with their own public cattiness and “power moves”. We must learn to be our brothers’ keepers! We must form our own “neighborhood watch” systems and learn to call each other out on certain issues, and look out for the greater good of our country. This is the way in which we can do our part to moving toward a better Kenya. Many may say I am living in a utopia of a world but I do not think this is too much to ask. We cannot all be president, and we cannot all be officials of the government, but that surely cannot mean that we do not have a role to play in the betterment of our country! It is as much our responsibility as it is a responsibility of those in power to police our neighbors, our family members, and ourselves if at all we are going to get out of the hole we have been unwillingly thrown into.

So again I reiterate my stance on violence! I am a non-violent soldier, and I strongly believe that in place of weapons of violence, we must learn to use our minds and every faculty available to us, because none of us has the right to take the life of another human being. The survival of democracy, after all, depends on the renunciation of violence and the development of non violence means to combat evil and advance good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read ur blog and once again it intrigued me. Ur point abt the diff btw the mau mau and the currrent wave of violence is true but there r similarities. Using ur words, the times were different and fighting the 'other". Well sista gal, since Independence kenya has not experienced this type of violence so in retrospect, Kenya is on a different time where pple feel their voices r not heard by the 'other" who mainly make up of the rich. Isn't it funny that most of the leaders now wea educated in western countries n have seen democracy first hand yet ............

I agree with ur notion ( maybe too utopia) of Kenyans coming together but from my perspective I think the first element that would unite Kenyans n not now but in the future, is teaching children from a younger age to be patriotic and proud of their country. For example, is it ashame that one can not hang a kenyan flag out side ur home unless it is a govt property!!Kenyan govt need to educate the young generation of the the myth of how leaving abroad is next to heaven! I think we grow up trying to imitate the west that we totally belittle ourselves n country, but can we blame ourselves with the type of leadership we have? Look at muslim countries n european countries, the pple r proud n stand up for their country. AA who r treated like second citizen in this country r proud to b American why?? There r opportunities n hope of moving up the ladder. In Kenya those opportunities r minimal if any since those avenues r given to the rich 'others"!! As much as i agree with u abt the education piece, I think that lack of avenues to put that eduaction into proper use leads to mayham. I think if opportunites r created, then pple will no longer rely on the pple their elect to do everthing. I think there amny pple who want to do good even among the police ( believe it or not) but the resource n motivation is lacking. U had echoed the sentiment that we choose the same Knuckleheads every election but why?? ( get back to me on that one). I think its a high time that kenya introduced a bill whereby to be come an MP one need to be a graduate which will curtail the issue of inheritance from father to son bullshit!!! Number of time one can hold an office to discourage corruption in high volume thus may creat some kind of accountability. I think that before the 2012 election young pple should begin to mobilze themselves now n build a strong grass root early, team up wit unions n most of all shun tribalism. Question is, can this be achieved in Kenya? I mostly want to believe so if the distribution of wealth is tilted from the 'other' direction n come election pple dnt have to vote coz Kamau gave them money to survive for the election week.