Lest We Forget and Keep Forgetting

This will be short.

Yesterday, media houses had a field day with the Nancy Baraza story. This quote from The Standard stood out to me.

Declared a liar, a woman whose outlandish actions and runaway rage brought the Judiciary into disrepute and social rogue who brandished gun at an unarmed guard, Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza’s fate appears sealed.

Social media went amok as well.

And if it wasn’t that, it was the olympic coverage. That Kemboi can sure dance his ass off.

This was what we talked about all day.

In the evening I had a passionate debate with some folks. We all agreed that the culture in Kenya needs to change. The youth need to be better educated. They need to be motivated. They need to be more involved in decision-making capabilities. We agreed on these ideas.

Our point of contention was that I believed that in addition to all the above, someone needed to die.

Someone who believed in our country needed to die for their belief, for their country. I am of the opinion that this is the huge hole in the patriotism we have as Kenyans. We don’t value our blood, that red on the flag is essentially worthless to us right now. It’s the blood of our fathers and grandfathers, aunties and great grandmothers. The blood they shed for our freedoms and our liberties and our land. But have we shed blood? As children of the fifth monkey, I think not.

They argued that I was out of line. Kenyans don’t have to die. We can change without senseless death. Because when we do die, it changes nothing.

Which is precisely the problem, I retorted. It’s senseless and pointless because we don’t die for anything we believe in; and so we don’t value our deaths.

They said we do value Kenyan lives. We’re just not educated enough to have the appropriate reaction.

I disagreed. And I still do. Because Kenyans die everyday due to injustice, brutality and terrorism and yet we are so quick to forget. So quick to tarmac over the Nakumatt after it burns down and kills so many and turn it into a parking lot. So quick to drop manslaughter cases on prominent persons, yet so unwilling to let this Baraza thing go.

THIS is the problem. Now, I don’t think that any person on the wrong, regardless of their wrong, should be pardoned. But if we can forget that a University student was brutalized and murdered by a government official a few months ago on Waiyaki Way while we refuse to forget that Baraza pinched someone’s nose, what’s the point?

What have we really accomplished when we forget the death?

“But we don’t forget!”

Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of Black Friday. Hundreds of Kenyans lost their lives to a terrorist attack.

Remember that? Most didn’t. Bar these Nation and Capital FM opinion pieces, I daresay coverage was dismal. We were still debating the DCJ. Discussing the Olympics.

Discussing that shit all day.

What if Black Friday was what we talked about instead. What if we dedicated one day out the year to the color that covers a third of our flag, our sacrifice and ultimately the cost of injustice and impunity?

What if we weren’t so quick to forget?

The fact that question is a “what if” scares me.

6 thoughts on “Lest We Forget and Keep Forgetting

  1. Finally, someone else is saying it publicly. For there to be a change in Kenya, any change in Kenya, somebody needs to die. Black Friday was celebrated by our Parliamentarians who unveiled their $3,000 dollar seats in a country where a majority live on about $1 a day.

    Anyway, we have Obama to look after us right? *rolls eyes*

  2. I wonder what it’s going to take to get Kenyans to come together and react to all the crap happening around…no arab spring fever in the air over here…not for the next unemployed campo kid, the next rape victim, the social injustices…not even for those bloody expensive seats in parliament!!

    • What this Nation, I believe, suffers from is a special case of 360-degree myopia. We cannot look back far enough, forward towards our own betterment long enough, or sideways towards each other for support and solidarity without letting class wars get in between us.

      Because we have the memory of a cognitively dysfunctional goldfish, Usain Bolt’s reaction time (there I go throwing in Olympics already) and a gross lack of personal reasoning ability, we cannot pro-actively come to any conclusion that is not pushed by some perceived Lord’s agenda. We do not have the vision to actually solve any of our own problems, instead rushing to implement *read copy* ‘innovations’ that make no sense to our situation.

      Will a society of people who point only too quickly when the orchestra plays, a society that has no individual tune to play to without following some maestro’s lead, then turn around and work together in the name of patriotism? I think not.

      Yet it’s not only those who are doing something who are to blame. Those doing something in the name of patriotism, even with the best of intentions, still don’t get it. I always go back to the Kenya Ni Kwetu #LoveProtest when I think of initiatives that are missing the point:

      * The organizers gave free T-shirts. Of course this attracted the idlers at Uhuru Park.

      * The free T-shirts were not enough. Kenyans queued, got to the end of the queue, and realized they had queued for no point.

      * Cue the violent rush for the last few T-shirts. We hadn’t even left the park. And we were fighting. Each other, not the MPs we had converged to ‘fight against’.

      * Some of the organizers cut queues and picked out T-shirts for their friends, who were standing by, couldn’t be bothered to queue. Sound like something a preacher of equality will do? Or more like the very same MPs we’re fed up with?

      * The few of us who were vocal enough to try and bring some sort of sanity back into the masses were then singled out and offered T-shirts. Again, why us? Why not the 6 or 7 other Kenyans queued ahead of us?

      At the end of the day it’s not just the big dreams and ideas that matter. It’s the small ones as well. If we cannot rise above petty rivalries and favours for each other while crusading for justice on the outside, who is to say that we’ll do better should we get to be the “wielders” of justice?

      • We get the leaders we deserve…like you said…most people put in the same position of power will do the crap they condemn cos we have no manners and some serious issues to reflect on

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