IF YOU HEAR THIS MESSAGE
I will not start this with an introduction about how long I have been away. I will not even refer to the fact that my poems seems to fall on really shallow eardrums. I will not even admit how much of my fault that is. I am normally thinking of a movie I watched when I was 7, referencing an event that happened in 1992 whilst using words of songs produced in 2015. I am the anti type of Ken Saro Wiwa. Asking questions about the government while fearing for the lives of those I care about. Cowering behind rhymes and ambivalent statements. Hoping that some people will get it. A perfect example is this one. Wenyenchi’s theory
Today, that is not the case. I will be honest, I might be brutal, I might even shed some tears on this canvas. But believe you me, today, you will not leave this page trying to figure out what I was on about.
WHEREVER YOU STAND
This message is not being directed to a certain clique of people. I am not speaking to the Kikuyus, the Luos, the government, the voters, the apathetic or the believers.I am speaking to humans. I am asking you to pay heed. To grow, from whence you are. Be a better you. Stop looking at others. The vibes you project onto others reverberate across boundaries, religions and generations. If there is a problem around you. You are either the problem or you are fixing it.
I’M CALLING EVERY WOMAN, CALLING EVERY MAN
We have been part of years of women coming into literacy and power. Still miles away from the dream but women have been shaping and changing the world long before they could vote. Long before women were allowed to get an education. Long before they were allowed to lead. For isn’t every man who has led before, the son of a woman? Did not the same woman not teach him how to wipe his nose and tie his shoe laces? Does he not look up to her more than he can admit? Isn’t a man who believes in “genuine” feminism the proponent of the change the world needs? Isn’t he the guide other growing boys will need as a mentor?
WE’RE THE GENERATION
I have probably heard these 2 statements more than I would care to count.
“This next generation of teenagers will be the worst adults ever.”
“Our generation was messed up by our parents.”
These statements come from the same group of double tapping, G.O.T loving, keyboard smacking 25 to 35 year old millennials.
They have relinquished their responsibilities in actually making sure they change themselves or mentor the younger generation not to follow into their what they call misplaced and misguided footsteps. The politician who is 30 has no difference from the one who is 60. Most of them are after power, money and fame. The pursuit of who will make the best sponsor.
WHO CAN’T AFFORD TO WAIT
“I will one day open a children’s home. I will one day give like 10% of my money to the poor”. I hear this every month from friends and colleagues. Meanwhile a girl who is 23 has been saving her pocket money by walking part of her distance to college. Keeping fit while at the same time giving others a chance at a well fed life if not a good life. I am in no way chastising you. You mostly choose how you live your life. You should not feel bad about what luck and hard work has borne you. But a bottle of Tusker and a fancy phone cover could buy 20 homeless kids lunch for the day. I am not suggesting that I am any better. I am just giving you an idea. A better way to see the world, a better way to see yourself.
“If you have done well in whatever business you are in, it is your duty to send the elevator back down” –Kevin Spacey
THE FUTURE STARTED YESTERDAY
I was watching the comedy Blackish. In Season 2, Episode title “Hope”, Anthony Anderson goes into a monologue that opens and rips your heart apart. It smashes your skull in as your mind blows all over your already stained carpet. And you go like: “You talking to me? You talking to me?”
“Oh, so you wanna talk about hope, ‘Bow? Obama ran on hope. Remember when he got elected? And we felt like maybe, just maybe, we got out of that bad place and made it to a good place. That the whole country was really ready to turn the corner. You remember that amazing feeling we had during the inauguration? I was sitting right next to you. We were so proud. And we saw him, get out of that limo, and walk alongside of it, and wave to that crowd. Tell me you weren’t terrified when you saw that. Tell me you weren’t worried that someone was gonna snatch that hope away from us like they always do. That is the real world, ‘Bow. And our children need to know that that’s the world they live in.”
In 1992/1993, I cannot be sure as I was very young. While my sister had taken me to Hospital in Limuru at a place we called “Kwa B/Fateri” (I would find out it was Patel years later). Clashes erupted between cops and people who were having a multi-party “Kamukunji”. My sister and I ran and had to plead with a shopkeeper to let us in. And then stay locked in that shop for the next 2 hours before the coast was clear. It has now been 23 years since then. We have enjoyed freedom of speech to a certain extent, we have enjoyed good leadership, again to a certain extent. But in the same years we have seen what complacency can yield. We are comfortable with watching other people’s fathers and sons protest injustice for our sake from the comfort of our homes. We have decided to use the word “reality” vs “idealism” as the reason for our inaction. Can you imagine how many people once thought slavery was a reality? How many people believed colonialism was a reality? Why do you choose to believe that impunity, corruption and injustice is?
AND WE’RE ALREADY LATE
We have seen that the quiet overlooking of laws and the constitution comes for your enemies, your opponents and then for you. We support laws only when they work for us. When the cops inhumanely beat up protesters, hawkers and looters. We nod and agree. Sometimes we even smile and make memes and then laugh some more. When the cops under the same training and disillusioned justice come for one of your own. You are up in arms. You will make noise and tell your friends about how you did not get a government tender because they needed a bribe. The truth is that is not the problem. You could not afford the size of the bribe. Otherwise you would be in jail every week for over-speeding and running red lights. How soon do you decide to change? How soon do you decide not to give up?
You have to let the fear go. We all die in the end. Death comes for us and we can only choose how to face it when it comes.
I don’t want this to be a write up that ignites a spark in one man that he uses to light up the world and burn all our hypocritical iniquities. I want this message to ignite just a big enough flame in every human. I don’t want this to be shared just so we can discuss how many likes it got and whether my blog stats are on the up. Thereafter the message will be lost and the point will one day be found in some deep rusty annals of the wreckage that would have become Kenya.
I am looking for that person who will read this and internalize it. Use it to change a friend or two, a generation or a family. Make sure that even if we don’t get to benefit from the fruits of our actions, our children or their children do; for we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors but borrow it from our children.
There is nothing as strong as an idea. It gives more will for action than the reality can. The reality is scary but an idea, a probable future is full of hope. I am looking for the person who shall keep this idea burning. If you’re out there….
5 thoughts on “John is a legend – A Kenyan Pledge”
Am out here
Thank you for reading. Please act on it. Please.
Quite the challenge Bandit…
It really is. But I feel we really should never tire on achieving the idea of real freedom and brotherhood.