Widget Recent Comment No.

Why Kenyan Patriots Must Think and Speak Tragically

I took time to reflect on Wandia Njoya’s thoughts on tragedy and why many people will rather stay clear of tragedies in our society. This provocation happened due to recent conversation that Kenyans like focusing on negativity following revelation that a section of the standard gauge railway (SGR) that is under construction from Mombasa to Nairobi collapsed under the weight of ongoing rains in the country. It is not the first time this is happening though. There are many incidences where a section of Kenyan society has insisted that we embrace positive thinking; that we highlight the positive things that happen in society instead of always looking at the negative. Those in support of the government of the day have particularly excelled in this philosophy. Of course, they would rather be praised to death than critiqued to salvation! Corruption is our biggest tragedy. Until we think tragically, we shall never decisively deal with it and sure it will consume us.

It does not surprise me because we live in society where people hate and run away from things as simple as a thought of tragedy. People want to hear and to think and to see and experience nice things happen. They do not want to imagine or experience tragedies. So when you hear a loud bang, you want to believe it is something like a car tyre burst; not a bullet bumped right into a living mortal rendering its body lifeless! Unfortunately, and quite tragically these tragedies that we do not like to hear or see or experience or think about are part and parcel of the same life that we must live; they will always happen and pretending to run away from them is tantamount to running away from life itself. We simply must figure out how to live with them, not how to avoid talking about them. We must think and talk about corruption tragically because it is a tragedy.

In Wandia’s thoughts, every time a social issue is raised, like extra-judicial killings, gender discrimination, the typical "second side of the story" is that not all cops are like that, not all pastors are like that, not all men are like that, not all Kikuyus are like that, not all (fill in the blank) are like that. Then she says this is why she will keep talking about tragedy. Tragedy. Tragedy considers innocence less important than power. It kills the king because the king matters enough. Tragedy says - yes you are a good cop. But if some cops go rogue and kill wananchi, you are implicated, good as you are. Yes, Mr. Uhuru Kenya you appear to be a sweet president who wears rugby shirts and drinks sodas at kiosks and accepts gives of sugar canes from common folk on the roadside. But then again Mr. President corruption is a tragedy you cannot avoid. Some Cabinet Secretaries and top civil servants steal from the public. You are still implicated in everything that goes on in Kenya as long as you wear the badge of president. And we must think tragically when you throw up your arms and tell us you have nothing to do about it. You must be wrong on that. Very wrong and that is a tragedy.

Wandia says “I am a lecturer; I know fellow lecturers who are rogue. I am implicated. My response should not be that I am one of the good ones.” The response in her view should be to fight for an education system that encourages lecturers to do the right thing. Because as long as she still wears that gown on graduation and claim to have the powers to read and do what appertains to whatever, she is implicated. The President cannot claim he is clean; he is a good man; he is a victim of circumstances; he does not have what to do. There is something to be done. Meanwhile we shall keep on thinking tragically for indeed the tragedy has befallen our land.

It cannot be that when there is time to take pride in the work of an institution; it is shared but when it comes to responsibility; we shy away. In Wandia’s reflections; as long as you wear the badge of institutional power, as long as people carry out actions in the name of your gender, your ethnic group, your profession, or any other identity you ascribe to, you are responsible. You are implicated. The reply is not to say I am one of the good ones. It is to tell those who carry out those injustices: NOT IN MY NAME!

Wandia concludes by asserting that “to think tragically is to be an adult, as my friend Lewis Gordon says.” That is maturity. So we cannot become a middle-income whatchamacallit without tragic thinking as a nation. We can't have so much evil going on and no one being personally responsible, but everyone being innocent. Shirking responsibility is the thinking of a colony, not of an independent nation. Can we therefore, stop this narrative of “stop focusing on the negative” for indeed the negative is what is robbing us the opportunities and possibilities of ever creating a nation out of a balkanized Kenyan society. Corruption is a tragedy; let us think and talk about it tragically. 
Why Kenyan Patriots Must Think and Speak Tragically Why Kenyan Patriots Must Think and Speak Tragically Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on November 24, 2016 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.