Je ne suis pas #CharlieHebdo

CharlieHebdo 26

We say the words: “Je ne suis pas #CharlieHebdo” (“I am not #CharlieHebdo“) with due respect to all those affected by the terrorist attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices yesterday in the French capital, Paris. As Kenyans, we are all too familiar with the pain, loss and damage caused by acts of terror. So, we empathise with the French people and we say to them: “Poleni sana”. However, as #CharlieHebdo continues to flood timelines, media outlets and newspapers, we must decolonise our minds and remember not to get sucked into the Western Media frenzy. As Kenyans and Africans at large, we have very complex and pressing problems of our own that are not so fortunate as to receive the worldwide coverage currently being given to #CharlieHebdo.

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Cyberbullying: A Personal Experience

Last night, as with all nights, I was tuned to BBC radio. There was a feature on Cyberbullying spurred by the suicide of a 15-year old girl from Canada. It was a tragic story given that only five weeks ago, the girl had “uploaded a video to YouTube describing years of bullying that she said drove her to drugs and alcohol.” Her cry for help was misjudged as a pathetic search for attention. Clearly, no one bothered: The bullying continued and she eventually took her own life.

I pondered on the story while listening to various experts views on why cyberbullying occurs and what can be done to prevent it. While their views were insightful, I found it disconcerting that they seemed to focus on Cyberbullying among children.

Those who have been using social media for quite a while know very well that Cyberbullying is a reality among adults. As the number of social media users in Kenya increases, certain issues arise regarding the use of various sites. Concerns have been raised over Hate Speech, Incitement as well as Ethnic and Religious Targeting. But few of us are talking about Cyberbullying.

Experts say anytime you are harassed, humiliated or threatened online it’s cyberbullying.

As the country’s SM user crowd grows there are those who seek to stand out and make a name for themselves whichever way they can. Some, more so the tech savvy, will result to Cyberbullying.

This was my experience in the last 24hrs:- Continue reading

Drawing the Line: Online Freedom, Rights Abuses and the Constitutional Imperative

“The persistent controversy about the reach of the state’s power to restrict free thought and speech in a democracy suggests that freedom of expression has still not made an unassailable case for itself.” – Githu Muigai, Esq. (September 1993).

To speak or to otherwise express oneself is a natural, and indeed an essential human activity, part of what it means to be human. Expression is therefore a means of fulfillment of the human personality. On a larger scale, freedom of expression is essential to the functioning of a democratic state. For people to make political choices they must have access to information and to different view-points. In a democracy, the right to express grievances and to propagate or criticise policies enables people to contribute to peaceful progress and change their society.

Well, atleast in theory.

Enter the curious case of Robert Alai.

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Of Reed Dancers, Kenyan Tweeters, Naked Girls & Gentlemen…

Click for actual gallery. WARNING: NSFW

I’m not really offended. Just … confused. See, I know the naked body is fascinating. Especially the naked female body. If it has the wrong proportions, it still evokes a degree of fascination, even if it’s the wrong kind.

So when the conversation on twitter today strayed into the reed dance, I was kind of … well … disappointed. I suppose it’s silly to be upset by what is essentially human nature. After all, the dancers voluntary showed their wares, so there’s no exploitation involved. It’s a case of willing buyer, willing photographer.

And of course now the photographer is elevated to hero status. He has lived out every man’s dream. Attending the reed dance and standing close enough to touch is a zillion times better than chilling out at the Playboy Mansion I guess.

I think what really disappointed me is the implication. Continue reading

Makmende & The New Frontier

Makmende won't be on CNN. CNN will be on Makmende.

They say a lot of truth is said in jest, and Makmende is proof of this fact. Long after the jokes about how the KRA pays him taxes and the fact that we drive on the left because he drives on the right and we were in his way, it is hard to deny that this man has hit phenom status. He is more than just a person, more than a meme, and by far superior to a mere local hero. Makmende is now a movement and a sign of the change of times.

What change, you ask?

The change we earlier alluded to. Except that last time, we were focusing on the negative aspect of this change. The shift towards socialitetis(for those with tribal hinderance, that’s pronounced “So-sho-lyt-it-is”). This is that social syndrome where people become famous for the sake of being famous. For example, Arunga will be more sought after for her notoreity than her ability. And in Makmende’s case, I know quite few people who STILL can’t remember the name of the group or the song behind his stardom. Yet I can’t think of a soul that doesn’t know him.

I also can’t think of a reason why he should be this famous. Continue reading

Daily Dozen: 22/03

Happy Monday, Folks!

Tech Killed The Kenyan Blog [Potash]
Is Blogging Dead? [Thinker’s Room]
South Africa’s stadiums are ready and impressive to boot [Engineering News]
Remembering Sharpeville [Africa Is A Country]
Of Decent Indecent Proposals [Pink Memoirs]
The Return of Makmende [Archer]
The Top 100 Sites On the Internet [BBC]
Near Sex Experience [Our Kid]
Tiger Woods’ Sexting [Deadspin]
Top Terror Suspect Vanishes from Kenyan Prison [DN]
Kenyan Banks Losing Millions of Shillings Online [EAS]
Kibaki Knows About Twitter [Kenya Imagine]

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