Extortion City: My Take on #KanjoKingdom


Any Kenyan has an idea of the troubles the people working in Kenya’s informal sector go through. An idea. But as always, we know nothing!
 

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The Kenyan History Sanitisation Project


We have a distinctly Kenyan way of sanitising history. We interestingly seem/wish to forget certain ills and transgressions that have been occasioned on the peoples, and act like we are so much better off today.

But are we?

Are we any better now than the native Kenyan under the colonialist’s baton and bayonet? Are we any better off than the champions of democracy who were so quickly eliminated upon independence under the guise of that very democratic leadership? Are we any better off than our fathers and mothers who mutedly spoke of “Mwakenya” under the constant fear of the Special Branch? Or are we anywhere better than those who championed a cause for transparency, accountability, ease of doing business and multi-party democracy in the decades past?

On a balance of probabilities, maybe we are. And yet, balanced out against the cost of the actions of such persons we so eagerly sanitise, maybe we are just paddling in quicksand my friend.

We celebrate criminals, thieves, philanderers and louts of all kinds, and award them positions of honour. Every day, endless clamour on how we would never have gotten where we are without grace, effort and sacrifice is peddled around at the lowest price to the highest shouter. The mass audience always gulps it down, without a hint of mental mastication, and the wave grows and grows, most notably over five-year cycles.

Damn right it did!

The stars of the hottest scandals, paraded on national TV and quizzed on whether their household cats are feeding well, or how they “feel” about the allegations. Of course, they feel bad; like “I-got-a-nasty-flu” kind of bad. Who wouldn’t? Even their cats would. And just as quick as the first one came out, the next is “unearthed” (un-archived would be more appropriate), heavy-laden with spooky soundtracks, catchy commentary and graphics out of a failed James Bond movie. And for just those 40 minutes, and maybe the office-day after, we seem to care. Then what?

We have come far, no doubt. But for almost each five steps we take forward, those thieving louts stand before us, pulling us back another three steps. We remain in an endless flux of scandal, uncertainty, violence and mediocrity which we owe to no-one else but ourselves.

Admittedly, I have never been much a fan of proverbs or riddles, and you can blame the significantly myopic and robotic 8-4-4 system for that. However, it stands true that every cloud has a silver lining. Yes, these thieves have brought good and prosperity to our land. Indeed they have helped some of the weak and oppressed who we of relatively lesser means sometimes dismiss. Granted, I will also not take away their industriousness and hard work from them. I actually admire it and seek to learn what good I can from it. This is because they, just as much as the common burglar, possess an admirable level of bravado and ambition which ironically, is worth sanitising and adopting for oneself.

Nonetheless, I refuse to be socially conditioned into accepting the erasure of facts from the people’s conscious mind. Some ills should and must remain indelible in the public eye; holding these transgressions to account is the only remedy to heal a wounded nation.

So for as long as we demand and cry for change and yet seem as willing and submissive as the village herd of sheep to cling to these lupine shepherds, backward shall we remain.

If you, for all your ‘higher education’; salaried life; central, intermediate-median, upper-middle class tags (or whatever they call it these days) and cultured life, cannot claw out of that intellectual cocoon that you hibernate into, cast off the perverse stereotypes that pervade the understanding of basic human elements, and apply a discerning mind to facts (and not PR machinations) thrown at you, then we are lost.

There’s a hymn that most of the Protestant faith have heard: Fight the good fight with all thy might. Ridding it of religious connotations, and accepting Paul of Tarsus’ epistolary prowess, it rings true for the very nature of the human condition.

If you can rise and fight that good fight against the mental myopia that oh-so-nearly blinds you, then you, my friend, are the only hope we have.

My Saba-Saba Take


I have restrained myself enough. Long enough have I focussed my energies on matters more instrumental to my personal life and of those worth lending my mental faculties’ abilities too. Intellectual property, international humanitarian law, investments and securities, and the persistent dabble in matters history, science and literature. It’s a satisfying life. It is also an ignorant one. One that tries to block out the morass that goes on daily around the average Kenyan, being fed lies, corruption and substandard service.
Before, I found it easy to comment on daily political events, maybe spurred on by a certain naivety that adolescence gratefully endowed me. Even then, the demagogy never failed to escape me. I can thank a proper exposure to ethical concepts in my childhood for that, as well as some forays of my own into unchartered waters.
And it is with such exposure in mind that I choose to discern the past year (and two months). We have been fed the usual lies by the Government and its equally inept opposition, and begged to turn equally blind eyes to the realities that face us. Instead, the powers that be propose an all-so-predictable form of combativeness, whose effects lay way too fresh in our minds. Nevertheless, hapless Kenyans rally to a call for action.
Mass action, they call it. The masses rally. Why? Because it’s a democracy. For what? Because he said so. So who is he? He’s that guy, you know; one of those scions of a greater age in whom hopes of millions supposedly lie. He says, we do. Why? Because we must dialogue. DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! And after the rally, what then? Throw a few more stones, eh? Or hear of another hundred slaughtered in the Tana Delta and blame it on the other side?
And in the alternate corner of the ring (because that is what it has been drawn up to be: a championship battle of sorts), foolish questions of manhood are brandished in the air, garnished with an air of bravado and passion to engage the not-all-too-discerning masses.
In the middle ground of all this, stands a goody-two-shoes middle class, ever happy to sit in their air-conditioned apartments, complain about slow internet that can’t allow them to stream today’s news broadcast, strewn with the usual political garbage. Keyboard warriors: laptops and tablets at the ready, tweeting and posting with witty abandon (if at all that is possible), blogging and updating Facebook statuses whenever the boss isn’t looking. Ironically enough, I almost fit oh-so-smugly in that category. It’s sad, I know.
If I do, then it’s unfortunate. But I will try to play my part. Speak my mind and try to sway wayward thought where it may be. Challenge thoughts and speech that misleads by shining the light of reason and logic, aware to the possibility of even my own logic being misinformed. The mark of great men is being able to entertain other peoples’ opinions without having to accept them.
And so I will pose my opinion to the faceless yet presumably great men and women who happened to stumble upon this clueless rant.
When a Government you fervently support and voted in, voting “six-piece” from the ground up, only for each and every level of it to serve you the very same raw deal this nation has received for 51 years, what say you? Do you continue to blindly proclaim unquestioning loyalty, or do you hold them to task? When they repeat the same hatred-filled vitriol of 07/08, and you, (supposedly) educated and all,  feed into it openly because (s)he’s your tribesman, of what good are you? When you get the chance to right your wrongs, whose effect you have endured for the previous five years, and yet choose to prolong you own suffering, who do you have to blame? Mwiba wa kujichoma….
And to the ever combative mass actioners on both sides of the divide, claiming that we must rally to Baba, to protect our Uthamaki, how much of Baba and that uthamaki put bread on your table in the morning? When’s the last time you had bread on your table anyway? The darned thing now costs as much as my fare to town! You claim you want dialogue, very well. That seems like a fair request. He says that that should only apply to matters not already governed by the Constitution…well that’s legally sound. But you all refuse to budge, for what?
I’ll tell you what. Political mileage. That’s what a disillusioned electorate offers, especially one marred by historical divisions that seemed to have been whitewashed over. You are pawns in this expansive and emotion-ridden chess-game. The kings and queens already have their endgame sorted out, their more beneficial affairs running all-so-smoothly in the background, even trading with each other. Typical Machiavellian society.
Summarily, I’m angry. Angered by the nonsense I see daily. I’ve seen colleagues, some whom I shared my most intellectually enlightening years with, sucked into the bowels of the monsters that rage this nation. Tribalism, corruption and demagogic politics are what they breathe daily, behind the scenes, afraid to show their true colours. Even present colleagues, in the halls of legal study, predictably drawn into the heated arenas of politics, turning blind eyes to the very legal reason and logic they are  infused in daily.
Above that, however, I’m sad. Sad that in little over twenty years, we’ve seen the very push for democracy that Kenyans died for reduced to a notion personal gain for a few political elite. Sad that every day I leave the house, my security is not secured. Between me and my night’s sleep lies a grenade-throwing, gun-wielding fanatic who falsely believes himself to be Muslim. And in support of his mistaken actions stands and equally bewildering security system, strewn with exotically cooked (pun intended) stories, theologically-motivated policing solutions and misplaced accents (actually this one just makes me laugh). There’s nothing more disconcerting than someone trying to reassure you of your safety when he doesn’t believe in his own, armoured vehicle and all.
15,000 personnel rallied at a whim to “protect” a rally, while hundreds die at the valued Coast where we expect tourists to valiantly visit. Who are you fooling?
As it stands, this nation needs help. Not aid or just anything, but something like a desperate grab at the remote and hitting “RESET”. We can’t go on like this. A lying Government unsure of its own self, an equally inept opposition more focused on the next elections that being the people’s watchdog and a deluded electorate feeding into the lies self-serving politicians serve them.
It will take time, a long time, but there are a few good men. I will do my part, which I’m still trying to figure out. I’m no activist, just an angry Kenyan who thinks being a keyboard warrior isn’t enough. Our country needs us.

 

PS: I will leave with you with a few curated thoughts, some that I agree with and other that i deplore but include, just for perspective.

The Social Clapper


Eminent person X takes the dais to address the assembled guests

X: (utters a series of the usual pleasantries and awkward, shallow attempted jokes)

Crowd: (applause) hahaha!

X: I am very happy to be here and thankful for your hospitality.

Crowd: (applause)

X: We are opening this school today to celebrate education.

Crowd: (applause)

X: It is good to keep the streets clean and presentable.

Crowd: (applause)

X: And that is why we are going to increase your taxes by 50%.

Crowd: (applause) Wait….WHAAAAT?

That, my friends, is a disease that afflicts almost our entire society. It’s almost like there’s a virus, hidden deep within our collective being, whose chief symptom is the serial bringing together of one’s hands audibly so as to show ‘appreciation’ for the precious oxygen that Dignitary X had to forego for you to hear random ramblings on what is and what isn’t.

Social clapping is a filler, sound forced into those oh-so-predictable pauses after a sentence or two, just to cancel out the silence therein, and to give an illusion of utter understanding and fully donated attention. It is a device created by despots and larger-than-life figures to exalt their name and to shroud them in false magnificence.

It has been drilled into our skulls as children that we should always clap. Why? Because it is fitting and honourable to do so. Because if we do not, we are being disrespectful. Because if we do not, we are rebels who are against the agenda of dignitary X. A non-clapper is a protestor, an outcast, a shame to the society and one not worth associating with if you know what’s best for you.

This happened to occur when I was back in high school. Leadership changed hands, and the top man that came in decided that every single little deed deserves a hearty clap. In his occasionally wayward mind, almost every single sentence uttered MUST be given an icing of applause. And his idea of clapping was that it would be repeated till the volume produced by 800+ students satisfied his eardrums…. I’ll spare you the sordid details of my high-school life, but I note that that is when I refused to be a social clapper, out of protest.

I refused to put my hands together to massage anyone’s ego. I refused to clap to please.

I chose to clap to show appreciation, to acknowledge effort, to signify contentment, admiration and pleasure.

I refused to have someone tell me when and when not to clap. Yes, I was protesting.

But now, with time, I realize, it’s no longer a protest. It’s the norm: to have the freedom of choice and putting my mind to what is said, weighing it and deeming it worthy of appreciation or otherwise. It’s simply a decision to do or not to.

It’s a decision not to be sucked into the mediocrity and lies that are spewed at us by leadership all around, who seek nothing but gratification; a gratification that society, over time, has made all too available.

Majority of leaders, hence, are the type whose speeches are laden with unnecessarily inserted pauses, specifically anticipating the crowd’s almost mechanical routine.

Social clapping is no more than a robotic movement, reducing one into a machine that digests and absorbs endless rhetoric.

A social clapper is no better than a full-grown seal, seating on sandy beaches, clapping its fins at fellow seals.

A social clapper is the kind of person who forgets his place in a classical music recital, and starts clapping ferociously during a particularly lengthy rest, all for the music to pick up and carry on, leaving him behind in his awkwardness.

Social clapping is a DISEASE! A festering wound in almost all social gatherings that teaches us to conform and not put our own minds to what we are told. To ACCEPT AND MOVE ON!

No-one’s forcing you because you have a choice.

I choose not to clap for your convenience.

Let’s Get Monied – Crowdfunding in Kenya


So today we get a tad bit serious.

I came across this story on the Capital FM website. Read it first.

Impressive, no? I consider it simply amazing. I wish I had that kind of zeal and passion, or at least tap it out of this young lady who seems to be overflowing with it.

I don’t think she is alone. I believe she is unique, but only one of the intellectual gems that this country holds and is yet to be unearthed, or is in the process of doing so. Most who stay hidden under the stereotypical blanket of gloom and naysaying are only stuck there because of one thing: lack of funds.

Be it mere insufficiency of it or abject poverty, it all leads to one general position. Stagnation.

Recent times, however, have brought along concepts that are keen on breaking these previously unbreachable walls. In relation with the above post, I’m going to briefly highlight one, then leave the rest to you to ponder and research and engage.

Crowdfunding: a novel concept which, simply put, is “internet Harambee”. It’s been there for a while…but surprisingly the whole thing is yet to fully catch on in Kenya.  I must note that we have had our own platform, M-Changa, functional since January 2012. I wonder just how successful it’s been.

Kickstarter (very appropriate name) is the largest crowdfunding website on the interwebs…and so so many people have benefitted from it, down from those in need of a couple of dollars to those seeking thousands and millions.

It’s out of good heart, dishing out those few idle coins we have lying around. On your own it’s an insignificant effort, but pooled together; well, just take a look at #KenyansForKenya and what it did/is doing.

But now on a more personal scale, I wonder how many entrepreneurs, social campaigners, start-ups, innovators would be daring enough and brave enough to put it all out there and say “Please, Help Me. I can’t do this without you.” (Mushy, I know, but heck, you know it’s true). This TEDtalk by Amanda Palmer on the ‘art of asking‘ should give you some perspective as to just how magnificent this concept can work out.

I leave it to you then. Are you shackled down and want some financial boost up the rear to get you going? Ask for some help…hopefully someone out there is willing to help.

Controlled Chaos vs Chaotic Control


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That sublime balance between chaos and control. That thin line between rational protest hormone-driven mayhem. It’s a slick boundary, a grey zone through which we very easily, yet unknowingly, can venture past. A zone that crowd-mentality can easily push us into, with no option of being towed back out.

So there you are, revelling in the new-found revolutionary voice, speaking out on the oppression that has for so long been boiling up a tempest of suppressed emotions inside you, with no outlet. Like a valveless pressure-cooker, explosion awaiting. And in all your youth, all you wish to do is scream and shout, release all the torment in you, be heard…until you get carried away on a wave of wanton violence and nonsensical destruction.

You see, youth is a dangerous thing; a lovely, beautiful, enjoyable yet severely dangerous thing. It blinds the eyes. I’m still young so, heck, I should know (I think). Or at least biology/psychology taught me so. Always thinking we are right, and that the choices we make are the most brilliant, thought-provoking one’s ever made since Adam met Eve. Well, thought-provoking indeed the may be, just not very positive thoughts sometimes.

All in all, it wouldn’t hurt to exercise some caution once in a while, would it? No need to take things too far.

Expression is your inherent right, don’t abuse it.

What Is Africa, In My Eyes.


In Darkness…Or In Light.

I was listening to BBC Africa Radio today morning. Yes, it’s not my usual but what other option I have when Capital FM decided to bore us to death with that obnoxious hullabaloo they dish us every weekday morning….except for Fridays. Well, there was a debate, of sorts. Views were being sought on the image of the African continent. Our self-portrayal. What the international media paints us as. The answer to that is rather well-known to anyone.

Impoverished, disease-ridden, famine-struck, continuous war and violence, anarchy. A wild land inhabited by illiterate, hungry, charcoal-dark, thick-lipped, rough-haired and uncivilized ‘humans’ who know nothing but hunting and herding. I say ‘humans’, yes, because we can’t escape racism. It’s there, and we no longer have to go beyond our borders to see it (Blame globalization and that ‘global village’ stuff everyone’s talking of nowadays.) Most, if not all, stories and examples of development and positive change in the entire continent are deemed not ‘sensational’ enough to grasp the emotions and attention of the intl. media’s audience. You wonder whether it’s the journalists/correspondents on the ground who shun these breakthroughs. Or maybe their editors, in a bid to seek their promotion from the boring and ever-lucid Africa news-desk, maybe back into the cities where all the magic happens, where the real world-changing stories erupt from. Wall Street, Hong-Kong, London. You name them.

And what caught my ear today morning was one view the moderator of that debate put forward today morning. I liked him by the way, pushing the debate further along, without losing grasp of the topic. Or sensing when the situation was turning a wee bit sensational and thus immediately thrusting it into a totally new dynamic. Such as the young student lawyer from S. Sudan who wanted to go H.A.M about their on-going war. Wish I’d caught his name, the presenter’s that is.

But I digress. The moderator, who now has the misfortuneof being labelled ‘X’ by my uncreative mind, asked a simple question. Drawing parallels between Brazil and the entire African continent as a whole, with reference to the general portrayal of this Latin American economic powerhouse in the international media and in the public view vis-a-vis the same as regards the African continent. Why the difference?

Because the more you think of it, as X put it, there’s not much difference between us. Economies threatened by massive corruption, poverty on an unimaginable scale, unrepressed insecurity where gangs set the law on the street…and behind the scenes, an economy trying to break through all these layers of grime that restrain it’s growth. True or not?

And though I had just woken up, my attention was pricked enough to grasp the proposed answer to this view. Another panellist posited that we are to blame. We, Africans have abdicated our role to promote our respective countries, to hold them up and the light shine upon our good and chase away the dark that we are so infamously known for.

Maybe we are actually, I thought to myself. Remember that time CNN blazed worldwide the ridiculous headline “Violence Breaks out in Kenya” or something along that line when in actual sense it was a terrorist attack? And so a vindicated Kenyan populace armed with the somewhat ‘toothless’ social media in their arms decided to take the war to them? I must say I was part and parcel of this cyber mob, and proud of it. We decide to do what’s right and change what the world/media wrongly decides to portray us as. At the onset, it was all honourably done, demands for an international apology and withdrawal of the statement. Then came in the more-or-less unrefined mob, hurling insults, making rude baseless jokes that did nothing to further the impromptu cause but rather increase their follower count. Most were directed towards DavidMacKenzie, the  chief correspondent in Kenya, I think, who had actually, in his own words, stated that he had reported the story accurately and the headline was not his doing. But I got to admit, some were quite funny. It’s social media, it’s never that serious.

But still, isn’t this just what we are viewed as? Unrefined, uncultured, impulsive and sometimes direction-less? Losing track of what we started off to achieve and quickly dipping into sensationalism. Just like the very same MPigs we’re always criticizing, no? We’re more or less the same, worldwide, with these very same characteristics seen in all cultures and countries. But unfortunately for us, (and unlike these so-called refined and civilized countries) with us African countries (Kenya specifically) it happens with the most visible portion of the population, those whose voices can be heard. Those who have the role of changing the direction, of changing the international mentality.

It might be ambitious, but tell me, is it true or not?

I want a 400K seat.


My butt is killing me. You know my cultured behind is not used to these ‘hardwood’ desks that I spend my student life on. I could really do with a vibrating masseuse of a chair that presents me with the remote just at the thought, gives me random backrubs, has a ‘Call the Wife’ functionality, you know, basic ish like that.

But I hear only a bunch of pigs have access to that. I don’t even want to know the features that those seats could have. But all I know, it has been proven (actually it hasn’t but we all know it) that these mboys/children/MPigs (God bless them) will not even lay a hand on them. Uneducated, backward, ancient, archaic and prehistoric as in the case of Ephraim Maina, Njenga wa Karume (is he still alive?)…

Just waiting for that new house to be opened. All that fanfare, hullabaloo with Mwai wa Kifaki doing his usual robot dance/walk, smiling/smacking his lips thinking of his long-lost White Cap. Hiyo ni musuli sana. Saana saana sana! Ummmh, is it an old guy thing to say words in threes? ‘Hiyo ni buuuuree, bure sana , nakwambia bure kabisa!’

  

I digress. As I was saying (or as my high schooling peeps say it, ANYHU!…what the heck is that?), as the Othaya man walks around, sits down on one of those wastes of taxpayers’ money, as his cronies do the same. So tell me, when you got men and women who had to pay sums of money to get those required education certificates (and, mind you I’m not talking of tuition fees), and whose Blackberries are handled exclusively by their Personal Assistants. Do they even know the difference between a BB and a blueberry, raspberry, avocado etc? Am I seriously expected that such individuals have even an inkling of how to operate that darned contraption of a chair along with the heavy upgrade that the August House is receiving?

I hate those guys. Hate them so much (with few exceptions) that I sometimes wish that upgrade hadn’t happened until the Government was purged of them. To think that after all the money they’ve sucked out of us and yet I can assure you after two/three months, another ‘Milimani’ will be on our headlines.

But wouldn’t it be nice if an eccentric revolutionary (Guy Fawkes type), walked in on the scene, places gunpowder…or cyanide to conform with the times…and give them a bit of the Gunpowder Treason and plot…and at this point I realize just how much my love for V for Vendetta is ‘poisoning my mind. I need a shrink…hehe! And I sincerely hope the NSIS ain’t reading this…bummer! Or I’ll go back to hiding in my bunker.

It was nice knowing you, peeps.

REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER!

I WANT A REVOLUTION!


Did any of you look at @ndinda’s tweets today morning? At around 8 a.m. to 8.30? Pretty insightful if you ask me; an ordinary Kenyans perspective on the ‘harassment’ from local authority, political shenanigans and the basic hassles of life. I don’t know if she paraphrased or quoted them word-for-word but each tweet from that matatu conversation spoke of the basic pains almost all of us go through. Some of these justified as they are necessary to weave up the moral fabric that holds the (in)sanity of our society in place, and some just the affliction that grinds our revolutionary wheels to a halt.

Because that is what we need: A REVOLUTION!

This famous French Revolution painting says it all

A revolution that will uplift the masses, inspire them to rise against, to go against the grind and seek what is rightfully theirs. To annihilate the beast that is the oppression that this beleaguered society lives under, making our souls bleed in search of a greater purpose in life. All the world’s inhabitants want is success. From that small bacteria/virus that has to successfully propagate itself, the insect that has to battle tens of its species with brute force just to dispose of its seed, the animals that fight to the death to get a mate and we, humans, overflowing with charm and a notion we call love to justify our claims to lengthen our family line (sophisticated aren’t we).

That’s all we need. A triumph, accomplishment, that realization; whatever you may call it. And that’s what our society’s present morass holds us back from. If only we could have the great, fearless minds to whom we owe the fair doctrine of liberty, equality, and fraternity (Robespierre and the like), to draw us out of the quagmire we lie in today. Maybe, as many have claimed, we do need our own Gaddaffi/Gadhafi (to *** with the spelling of his name): a benevolent dictator of sorts. Before you shoot me down for even thinking of this, just do some research. Ghadafi (their goes the spelling again) did just way too much for Libya for you to brand him the ‘world’s evilest ruler’. Well, Libya may have been a police state…I agree that that sucks big-time…and the end of his rule was his own undoing. But, for me, his many-year rule stuck the balance between good and evil…blame my ignorance of facts if I’m wrong.

So I pray that from the hills, shall come my salvation, our salvation…and mind you, this does not geographically eliminate flatter regions of Kenya…or Azania (Southern Somalia) judging from recent events. Oh and on that note, what’s with this @MajorEChirchir and dishing out info on twitter? I’m not complaining, just wondering how many armies globally also have that … North Korea maybe?

A Short Tribute


The Lunga-Lunga fire, the Zanzibar shipwreck…WHAT IS HAPPENING?

In the meagre space of 3 days, East Africa has lost promising 300+ lives, irreplaceable, loved…people who might have held the key to a better life for their people. People whose dreams and aspirations die with them, only to live on in the memories of their loved ones.

Just giving you a little dose of reality. Of just how fragile life is. Sometimes you never see it coming, totally blindsiding you. And one regrets not saying that simple prayer in the morning.

Just a random thought, I always wonder if the cliché that one’s life flashes before your eyes before you die really is true. Those that had totally escaped your conscious mind. I hope it’s true, because that would be just more proof of how amazing God works.

But I digress. My sorrow pours out to the victims of these two events. Two manners in which no-one would envy. Drowning. Burning to death. Slow, painful and full of anguish. A real-time nightmare. Kenya prays for those bereaved.

May God rest their souls.

Norway Massacre: A Kenyan Perspective


Who said this can’t happen to Kenya?  1 man, 3 guns, 1 crazed mind, leaving Norway, one of the most peaceful and stable Nordic countries, drowning in the blood of 90+ people dead.

Anders Behring Breivik, a well- educated man, residing as a somewhat loner in his farmhouse with only his mother for company, listing his interests on Facebook as bodybuilding, hunting, and Freemasonry (weird huh?) He also listed himself as a Conservative Christian and, through the Internet, was found to have strong anti-Islamic views. He also was allegedly affiliated to the right wing…which I don’t think has ever or will ever be a good thing.  He, thus, would be in opposition of the Norwegian Labour Party, whose Oslo offices, where he was seen earlier that day, were bombed. Approximately 90 minutes later, he opened fire at teenagers at a Labour Party camping retreat on the Utoeya Island.  Dressed as a policeman, he beckoned campers (who thought he was protective detail) towards him. He then opened fire on them…pushing most to the water’s edge where he shot many as they tried to swim to safety on the mainland. And after questioning, he unashamedly admitted that his actions were indeed “gruesome yet necessary”.

Labour Party offices in Oslo

What anyone would ask is what pushed an ordinary man to turn on his fellow countrymen, most of them aged between 14-18 years? Young innocent lives olucked at their prime. Well, we all know that the moment that bomb went off, the whole world was on the “Al-Qaeda” and Islamist jihad stereotype, believing that such acts could only be carried out by Osama’s cohorts (may the sharks feed on him thoroughly). So immediately the minute detail that the shooter/bomber was Caucasian, the terrorist title was quickly replaced with MADMAN! Difference much? In this entire disillusion, the Sun (a major British daily) published its front-page headline as: “‘Al-Qaeda’ Massacre; Norway’s 9/11”.

The Sun's headline on Saturday

Al- Qaeda? From where? The perpetrator was a right-wing Christian extremist!

Does the West understand the term ‘domestic terrorism’?

And as a Kenyan, this particularly worries me, putting into consideration the hard times our nation is going through presently. With an estimated 10 mil. people enduring the worst famine in 60 years, a disgruntled populous, a rising cost of living, the hassles of implementing a new Constitution while all along all the country’s leadership can think of is 2012 – elections! I bet none of them have watched 2012, the movie. Considering how mundane their views and actions sometimes are, maybe they would believe the movie and be focussing on…hell, they can’t even focus!

2011 has been the year of revolution: Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, even the former pearl of Africa, Uganda. However much I pray that Kenya be spared that fate, I bet even blindest man on the streets of Nairobi could ‘see’ that all the ingredients for a revolution are right here with us, just waiting for that explosive trigger. And judging from the ‘efficiency’ of university comrades in rioting (not forgetting K’ogalo fans); we are yet to see the worst from them. The recent go-slow by the Police Force comes to mind. Its timing was just…for lack of a better word, marvellous. The Baks, heading back to his retirement home from Manyani, had his escort in shambles as all radio comms were down. They had to use mobile phones…MOBILE PHONES! I’m even scared to think of the worst case scenario if his security had been compromised; considering the rise in hacking lately. And however much I hate the Kenyan police (for all the bribes they take and their baseless harassment), they are Kenyans. And just like any other citizen, they also bear the brunt of harsh times. So their call for their promised pay-rise IS justified.

But the Police are part of disciplined forces. So it might take a little more for them to go psycho – if they haven’t already. The trigger of such catastrophes is the basic struggles and/or stereotypes in day-to-day life. Like this ‘I’m-Muslim-So-I-Will-Bomb-You’ mentality, just sad. I was lucky to go to school near Eastleigh, the Somalia inside Kenya minus all the warfare. So between, wondering if the lady behind that bui-bui was hot or deciphering some of that language (too phlegmatic), I got to live alongside and befriend many who profess Islam. Spending 4 years with people of various cultures, flare-ups on cultural & religious fundamentalism were inevitable. And debate on these issues was common and some very confounded rumours too (like the C.U. official who vehemently claimed that Muslims worshipped genies! How now?).  Discussion. Discussion. DISCUSSION! The level of respect I gained for Islam in those years is priceless. Especially noting how devout they are, and never willing to stand back and see their religion’s name defaced.

Back to Norway, I pray that that guy’s motive was more political than religious. The world doesn’t need any more of those. However much an advocate for the sanctity of life I am, this is one guy who deserves the gallows (is the death penalty legal in Norway?) 93 people’s lives on your soul is too much, just too much! 1 is even more than enough! if you disagree, listen to this eyewitness account of the Utoeya Island attack:

As for Kenya… GOD HELP US.

And as a footnote: Oslo, Norway is the home of the Nobel Peace Prize. Just shows how the quaintest locales are the easiest to push into havoc. Although the Peace Prize itself has quite some contradictions in its origins.