I was going to wait a while longer before I made this post, but I am not. Why would I wait? Is it so that I understand more before I react? Or is it because I am seeing the error of my own ways, in what I had been schooled; in things I never concerned myself with; in my thoughts and ideals? I am going to write anyway. I would rather exert my efforts this side of the timeline. Whatever I shall learn later on I will add to my life at that point in time.
I am annoyed.
I feel like my country is turning to ashes and the water carriers are holding on to their buckets. What do I mean? Women are being stripped and abused in public, while communities are cleansed via terror attacks. Hardly any action has been taken by those in charge and incompetent government officials still hold office.
I am angry that we have turned on each other, like children left in a house unchaperoned, or a species that feeds on its own. Have we forgotten that women are our mothers; that their femininity requires protection; that their arms cradle our future; or that her sense of wellbeing is equivalent to that of a nation’s?
Why am I annoyed?
I am annoyed because I am feeling inadequate. I am annoyed because we have lost our senses. It feels like Mardi gras with cyanide affects. I feel like those who have more power than I do are too comfortable – idle, docile, zombie, complacent, unresponsive and morbidly inhuman. I feel like I should not even blame those at the top of the ladder, the ultimate authorities of this state. I am probably angrier at the middle class, those breathing the air just above my head, not too far ahead; those whose mouths if opened would alter the course of destinies for centuries; those who are well read – opinion shapers; those who have the machinery for solutions but act not.
I am annoyed at my associates.
My social media circle is varied in population. Surgeons and students, CFOs and school drop outs, artists and scientists, clerics and heathens, hippies and policy makers, all sitting at one roundtable. I and probably one other have been screaming on Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to shake this folk into action, but I see no much fruit. I can only hope that I am playing my part sufficiently. For now there are less than a handful of patriots genuinely seeking remedy for a wounded Kenya, each their own way.
Many have disagreed with and made the #MyDressMyChoice protest a joke. The rest live quietly in denial. They may shake their heads and whisper one liner gasps of sympathy for victims captured on viral YouTube videos, but then quickly turn back to their desks and are business as usual. They enjoy the security and privacy of car alarms, guarded residential courts, multiple storied office buildings and weekend expeditions in hotels and fancy eat outs, and so do not feel pressed to react much. They know vaguely the perils of being a pedestrian on River Road or Mwembe Tayari. They believe they are a peaceful people who stay away from trouble and so trouble should not find them, yet trouble is the monster they pet by their silence.
In my view, as much as #MyDressMyChoice may have been laced with self-centered political agendas or may only be relevant to the middle and upper class in society, I hesitate disparaging them because they are one of the two groups of action takers I have seen so far that have risen in an attempt to address current ails in Kenya. Many of us, on the other hand, fold our hands and watch events on television for our amusement and criticism. Maybe I dream too much, but I am thinking, how do you cozy yourself in the confines of your home when your roof is on fire? I would let you be; only your apartment is right above mine.
My anger is towards those who have influence; managers and CEOs, some who are my relatives, or friends of relatives, whose miniscule biases affect gubernatorial paradigms; those who hold meetings via conference calls with influential colleagues in the United Kingdom, U.S.A. and China – states that hold sway on Kenyan politics. At this point, I would rather injunctions be placed against the Kenyan government – one of few stimuli that jumpstart state-men to action. No more shopping in London? Perish the thought!
I am angry at those who have tea with government representatives and former presidents; those who decide the prices of consumables in the markets; those who are related with power; those whose voices have direct access to the ears of the leaders of this country; those who are leaders themselves; those who do not have to hold public demonstrations on city streets or write blogs or yell on status updates for their interests to be looked into. I do understand what I am missing. Why are we unmoved? Our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters are being raped and our relatives killed, yet we as flustered as the Queen of England on a carriage convoy.
I get it. Most Kenyans believe that everyone should present themselves in a locally accepted form of decency by way of apparel – that is, ‘cover up!’ I believe we are faced with a question of values which would have been addressed in many ways that would put Kenya in better light. But today’s rampage has gravely shamed us before our children in full view of the world. We are inflicting wounds on our own selves and depreciating our worth.
There is no existence without the woman. There is no progress in terror. There is no economic growth in civil unrest. We are capping ourselves in the knees in ways we are yet to comprehend. We are taunting our own mental health. We dwarfing our egos and stifling potentials. Do not blame it on women.
We have become an army that kills its own. We are no different from religious extremists who claim to want to take over the world without foresight on the necessary political and economic structures of government in matters of education, food, health and employment, and begin by maiming their villages. We are no different from trigger happy policemen who shoot to kill our fathers, husbands and sons without trial. We are rapists, and we have justified ourselves using snippets of scripture taken out of context. We have gone back to slavery by suffering ourselves to amnesia and exchanging our true African culture for a fabricated one to suit our lusts and to satisfy our own sense of inadequacy. We are no different from the drunkard who beats his wife because of his own impotency.
The most ignorant aspect of this ill is the fact that our views change drastically when it comes to white women similarly dressed walking on our streets and visiting our markets. We are fans and watch them faithfully in movies and music videos. We struggle to befriend them. We follow them on the internet and share their photos. We hallow them and make them the standard for beauty and modernism, even imposing them on our women. What happens to decency then? Is our definition of dignity based on the color of our skin? What happens to an African American tourist, a Nigerian visitor or a White Kenyan? And who are these new guardians of culture? Where have they been and by what delegation were they bestowed this authority? What really is this standard of dressing for Kenyan ladies? Could someone share? Tomorrow it could be me!
What adds salt to injury are killings by fanatics made more painful by unsubstantial responses from the Government. Many of us got excited by the prospects of the government being run by younger leaders who are accessible and embrace technology. What good is all the smiling, greeting and tech-savvy if our lives are not safe leave alone improved? Do we have intelligence machinery in Kenya? The hot mess bubbles over at the profound absence of police patrol, whose presence would have tamed criminals for miles.
I missed the news today and I barely have internet connectivity in my room. Tomorrow, as God wills, I shall check for any action taken by authorities – my sense of optimism. For now, I make this blog post, founding it on a prayer for a better tomorrow.
Change comes by the voiced displeasure of the masses. Let us not be quiet.