Somali Pirates Overthrown By Taiwanese Fishermen

I’m surprised this wasn’t more prominent on the news by sheer virtue of excessive badassness.

So this Chinese ship got overrun by armed pirates last week; a fate many have suffered from. Well over 350 ships were attacked by Somali pirates in the past year. Put that in perspective, that’s a ship everyday with the exception of two weeks out of the year. But this ship was different. On board were a bunch of fishermen. That’s not what made it different though; the difference was their level of badassness.

At some point, these guys did the math and thought “10 guys with guns and grenade launchers versus 28 malnutritioned guys without guns; we can probably kick their asses.” So they did. Continue reading

#KenyaAtWar: “The Question of Unity”

I was watching my Twitter timeline intently on Monday evening.

Reports that a bomb had gone off in the CBD at the OCL bus stage and that there may have been deaths, definitely ‘tens of injuries’.

It wasn’t shock or fear that immediately overwhelmed me; moreso confusion and malaise. My first question was obviously “Does this have anything to do with the ongoing efforts in Somalia?” If so, this was a clear escalation and warranting of some concern. If not, it meant yet another problem – threat, perhaps – had befallen our country.

The second question was “Are we as Kenyans ready yet?” Continue reading

#KenyaAtWar: “Have We Already Lost?”

On my way to work this morning, I glanced at the paper and two stories caught my attention. One was about Paul Muite suing someone on Facebook, which I thought was hilarious. I don’t remember the details, but Muite was demanding an apology from someone who claimed he coached ICC witnesses. According to the story, if the apology doesn’t come in 7 days, things will go to court. I found the whole thing hilarious and wondered why I hadn’t seen it on Twitter. Apparently, the story did break online. Last week.

The second story that moved me was the one about the war. Yes, in case you haven’t heard, we’re allegedly at war with Somalia.

I didn’t want to write this piece, because it’s a weighty issue, and I don’t like approaching weighty issues with a lack of knowledge. I don’t have all the statistics about the number of troops, the reason behind the war, the ideology at work and all that. But as I trawled my timeline, I felt everyone was missing the point. Continue reading

Surprise, Surprise. The Media’s Compromised.

I’ve never been one to care much for the media. I barely watch TV, and I only watch the news if there’s absolutely nothing else on or the internet isn’t working. Why? Because when I was very young I learned media houses were owned by various political entities. Shocked as I was, I remember my mother telling me this like it was just common knowledge. As I grew, I came to learn that it was. So how are we supposed to trust people who clearly have other interests? They’re all liars as far as I’m concerned; bake you a mud pie and tell you it’s chocolate fudge.

So I wasn’t surprised when a new tip got to me that a certain huge media house was involved in some shenanigans. The TV station in question had been running ads for an exposé Investigative Feature that brought to light the fact that the Kenyan government was recruiting Kenyan youths to the Somali National Army to go to Somalia and fight Al Shabaab. What supposedly happened next was that some super high ranking military bullies marched their way into this media house and put a halt on the show that was supposed to start yesterday. Continue reading

Feed Kenya: Each of Us Can Do Something.

“Man’s constitution is so peculiar that his health is purely a negative matter. No sooner is the rage of hunger appeased than it becomes difficult to comprehend the meaning of starvation. It is only when you suffer that you really understand.” – Jules Verne

The only fictional work I’ve ever read, cover to cover, were High School set-books.

Only because I had to.

Although it was many years ago, I remember reading Bhabani Battacharya’s “So Many Hungers”. While I’ve forgotten the plot, character development and all that other literature stuff we had to cram for the final exam, I still remember the deeply moving and heart-wrenching images of hunger and poverty in India portrayed by the author: “children crying themselves to death; mothers killing their own children for want of milk and food; hungry infants seen sucking the breasts of their mother who have already died of starvation; mothers selling their daughters and even sending them to brothels for the sake of food; a mass of corpses strewn everywhere and a myriad vultures gazing down upon them. The corpses lying everywhere, picked to the bone; only the hair uneaten; fluffy baby’s hair, man’s hair, the waist-long hair of women..”

Bhabani’s lacerating account of a whole population staring death in the face could easily be used to describe the situation in the forgotten Northern frontier of Kenya and across the border in Somalia. Last night on prime time news, they interviewed a man from Somalia who had buried 7 children on his way to Mogadishu, just one in the many tragic stories coming from the drought-stricken areas of Northern Kenya and Somalia.

Can you imagine the horror and pain that a human being goes through before finally succumbing to death from hunger?

Meanwhile here in Nairobi, my colleagues, friends and readers could be skimming through this on the smartphones as they wait to be served a sumptuous lunch in those lunch spots where the tables literally groan under the weight and variety of food.
Ordinarily this would be the part where I spew bile at the government for their greed and lack of policies for fair and equitable distribution of resources and opportunities throughout our country. But, I won’t. Not today.

Today the guilt-filled weight of knowing I’m not any more Kenyan than those dying of starvation in the North is why I feel that I must start being part of the change I seek.

I, as an individual, must contribute to the change I seek by embracing an “I must do something” attitude over the tired “something must be done”. Rather than simply complaining and blaming government, I can start by adjusting my own approach – is it fair when I wait for ‘Mututho Hour’ (Friday 5:01 PM) and unload my wallet at the pub yet there is a Kenyan family out there trying to share the fruits of a wild cactus?

Luckily, there is already an initiative called #FeedKE that wants to help and all it needs from me is a contribution. The images I have seen over the last week have moved me enough to finally write this and encourage all those reading this to donate generously to this worthy cause.

Lets join hands to “Feed Kenya”

Ways to Donate:
• On M-Pesa Paybill to ‘10,000’ Acc ‘feedke’
• On Airtel nickname ‘REDCROSS’ reference ‘feedke’
• Online: www.kenyaredcross.org

Daily Dozen: 14/01

Kenyans and Their Peculiar Habits [Twitter]
Which is the best internet service provider in Kenya? [LikeChapaa]
“Ideally, elections are held to choose leaders, but in many cases in Africa, elections are intended to dress up despots in democratic garb.” [Guardian]
Somalia’s new PM says government troops will target Al-Qaeda “very, very soon” [IOL]
Why is Winnie Still Using the Mandela surname anyways? [BBC]
Can Europe Be Saved? [NYT]
Territorial Triumph and Geopolitical Pitfalls in South Sudan [HuffPost]
Once again, Africa is in love [AN]
Does race determine efficiency? [WT]
Things Your Boss Won’t Tell You [Yahoo!]
The Science of “Single”: One Year’s Worth of Dating Advice [TIME]
Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time. [Economist]

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