I think I saw a carjacking.
I really can’t be sure; all I know is that the driver jumped in and hit the accelerator before his accomplice had even gotten both feet in the car. The onlookers swore to have seen nothing and cautioned my curiosity. There were no police reports. The news that night showed growth in the ICT sector and squabbling between Ministers and their assistants; fighting for themselves and not for us.
Maybe it was a kidnapping. That would probably explain why the man slammed the back door – harder and harder, over and over – until he finally managed to shut it and jump in the passenger seat. This would not have been a problem were it not for the fact that the body in the back had legs, and those legs were in the way of the door shutting. I’m not sure it was a kidnap though, as the newspapers the next morning headlined an outlandish statement made by one of the Principles. There was even a funny editorial cartoon and about 12 pages of job opportunities; but no missing person’s report. Just a sports page that was ridden with errors.
It may have been a robbery gone wrong. They tried to mug the man before he got in his car; he fought back, they stabbed him. Now he lay in a foetal position in the backseat trying to hold the blood in as it spilled out. All this right outside one of the biggest banks in the downtown area in front of at least a dozen witnesses. All this hidden by the dark shadows of the great buildings in this beautiful city. All this under a lamppost that is now more post than lamp, thanks to a certain lighting company that has a new ad on air. I saw it as I walked into the house that evening, hoping to see something on the news about what had transpired. Instead, I watch a company lie about providing a service they are renowned for not delivering. I got on Twitter and laughed as my peers mocked them. There was no place in that discussion for kidnaps and robberies.
Perhaps it was a murder and I had missed the part where they confronted the man now lying in the backseat a few minutes earlier. This probably happened in a dark alley where they pushed a chisel or a screwdriver into his jugular. They must have both rushedly tossed him into the backseat which explains why the driver was not in the car to begin with and why the body in the back’s legs hung so precariously. But there was no record of this either. Just more emotional politicians feuding, more sub-par singing on the screen, bad penmanship in the print, hilarity on the interwebs and scandals on radio. Because it’s probably more important for Kenyans to know that Agnes is not the only one getting cheated on, than it is that they can be murdered outside a bank with onlooking security and taxi men. Isn’t it?
Gil Scott Heron was on to something when he warned us about the failure to broadcast The Revolution. I used to ask ‘Why would the Revolution be televised, anyway? Wouldn’t it defeat the purpose? Isn’t TV a huge part of the problem?” Indeed it is, and it’s also what defined people’s awareness at the time. Just like all these different forms of media do today. There’s a reason it’s called programming; this is how your frequency is set every morning as you head to work and every evening before you go to bed.
Dear Kenyans, use your eyes. Don’t use them to watch overpriced TV ads showcasing beautiful uninhabited landscapes with patriotic hymns behind them, use them to see. See what is around you. This Kenya needs you, now more than ever, to speak up and do something. But if you don’t believe me, look around for yourself. See with your own eyes.
And then watch. Not the TV, but your back, and that of your brothers and sisters. We are not safe; just deluded to think so. Politics are not important anymore. The people in power should be the people now powerless; not the government. In a time when Bush is Obama and Kibaki is Moi; people are looking up too long to see what’s right in front of them. What’s in front of us is an abundance of opportunity and a nation of possibilities; a vibrant powerful with access to great wisdom and bountiful knowledge; an underdeveloped nation with corrupt structures and officials that exacerbating the cancers eating away at our societies, lying to us and not for us.
I think I saw a man die: but I can’t be sure because I stood at a considerable distance. I looked to a nearby security guard and the neglectful calm on his face said ‘There’s nothing going on here.’ The taximan’s face however said ‘There’s nothing we can do here.’
I can’t fathom that my brother’s and sisters would watch silently if that were me in the backseat. I don’t want to imagine that no one would help, because no one feels like they could. We sit silently, not because we don’t care, but because we’ve decided that we can not beat them and so we shall passively join them.
This is not how change happens.