Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Between a Rock and a Really Hard Place

A really close friend has really been bummed out with what is going on in Kenya. This heart wrenching image I think captures everything that she finds wrong with what is happening in Kenya. She may have been supportive to the idea of Raila in the past, but now, I think she has reached the point where anyone who will let this happen and isnt screaming for this madness to stop is just as bad. So Raila, Kibaki and all our elected leaders, both old and new, PNU, ODM, ODM-K, NARC, KANU, and whatever other affiliation they may be no matter what ethnic group, they come from, are all the same.

Well, as you may have noticed in my previous posts, I am a strong believer that we have reached the point in Kenya where we need to be in the streets fighting to be heard and to reassert ourselves as a people.

BUT, how do I reconcile this horrendous image with my heartfelt desire for real change in my country.

Martin Luther King said, "A time comes, when silence is betrayal".

For me, silence is no longer an option. We as Kenyans have made so much, yet so little progress. I look around at my friends and neighbors and I am amazed to see that most of them are in mixed marriages now. A fact that belies the crazy situation that we see on the ground. However, listen to our parents, friends and even ourselves we in many ways still carry within us deep seated ingrained attitudes that are rooted in ethnic biases.

So, interestingly, Dr. King also said "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people."

I refuse to accept that our only options as a Kenyan people are to either accept a government system (and I include the executive, legislature and judiciary in this )that is completely inept and corrupt or to go out and conduct a proxy fight with another Kenyan because of his ethnic origin or political beliefs.

So, here is where I plant my flag.

  • I will NOT be ignored by my government anymore. I will NOT be told what to do, where to go, what to think anymore by my government.
  • My fight is not with the Kenyan next door, across the street or in another city, province or place, and I cannot and will not take it out on him/her.
  • The Kenyan next door, across the street, or in another city, province or place cannot and will not take away my right to speak out and if necessary change my government.
  • I will change this damned country/government/system or die trying.
So, how you ask, i say we take a leaf from 60's in the USA. Read up on the Montgomery Bus Boycott sometime. How long do you think any of our leaders will last if we boycott any product they make, any hotel they own, blockade any premises they own, and well, just sit down and make each and everyone of them feel pinch like the rest of us. And I am not saying selectively target anyone. I am saying ALL OF THEM. I am saying, take thousands of us and sit on the streets around parliament with all of them inside so no one can leave. Sit around state house, sit around their shambas, so their cows cannot be milked, their businesses cannot operate. Mark you, i am not saying be violent. I am just saying, sit there. so they cannot get any food in and out of their homes, or offices, so that as the people, get hungry, they get hungry, as people get tired, they get tired, as food runs out in the peoples homes, they run out of food also. At that point, when they are stuck in their homes, and in their work places, how much difference will how much money they have make. When their servants cannot go in or out, that will be the great equalizer.

And to the police, do your work. Stop violence, but respect the peoples right to peacefull congregate and express their opinion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I, too, refuse to fight for so-called leaders who clearly care nothing about me, the common mwananchi. As we speak, they've already been sworn into parliament, which guarantees that they are on their way to becoming Kenyan millionaires (at our expense). In effect, we the voters, put them in that position, hence giving them the power to walk all over us now and for the next five years. My question is; what are we gonna do about it? What can we do for ourselves?

Many Kenyans have lost their lives or those of their loved ones, their homes and/or properties, their livelihoods, ...., and they continue to suffer as they fight battles for leaders who seem indifferent to their plight. Why should innocent Kenyans, who did their civic (and only) duty by voting peacefully now have to suffer in the name of politics? Politics aside, who will pay for the loss of lives and the damage to private property? Is it all going to be labelled 'collateral damage' in the quest for justice and democracy? It seems very unfair to me and I see no justice in it whatsoever.

We keep hearing about justice, but justice for whom? Everyone is entitled to this justice, regardless of their political (or other) affiliations. I say that we, the wananchi, must stand up and demand justice for ourselves. For those who have incurred losses (physical or material), who will compensate them? If I lost my livelihood or my home as a result of the post-election violence, should I just take it lying down? Why should I have to become a refugee or a beggar in my own country through no fault of my own? If my property or my business was destroyed by hooligans who took advantage of the so-called 'peace rallies', should I just accept that we have to make some sacrifices for democracy? NO! NO! NO! Even football clubs are fined and made to pay for any damage caused by the hooliganism of their fans and this compels the clubs to reign in the destructive actions of their fans. Political parties and their leaders must be held accountable for all the damage and losses caused by their supporters. The government must also be held accountable for the damage and losses caused by the state machinery.

My ideas of peaceful protests against injustice do not include getting killed or maimed by bullets or batons. They would, among other things, involve filing lawsuits against the 'giants' who have put us in the situation we are right now. Many thought that giants like 'Big Tobacco' companies could never be successfully taken on by 'common wananchi'. But it happened. Even colonial powers have been successfully taken on by small communities that were oppressed by them. We Kenyans have to stand up for ourselves if we're ever going to break the pattern of impunity by our so-called leaders. A lot has been said about the inefficiency of our judiciary system but they are not the only courts in the world. Serious crimes against humanity have been committed against Kenyans in the recent past and we would not be short of courts that would be willing to justly hear and try such cases. I'm sure there's a lot that we can do for ourselves but we've got to stop being victims and pawns in a game that we'll always lose in. We've got to start thinking of ways to help ourselves because it's nonsensical to continue dying and suffering for so-called leaders who don't even know (or care) that we exist.