Did Martin Luther King die in vain? – Nina Simone
Methinks he did sometimes. It seems trivial to dwell even for a moment on the issues of a country and a people so far away – race, equality and human rights of African-Americans. We have enough troubles of our own, but what Dr King stood for remains timeless and readily applicable to our context and our reality. The USA, another country that is no longer the beacon of progress it used to be hailed as, a shining light for the world. The emperor has no clothes. Or, has the emperor always been naked and have we just always been wilfully blind, closing our eyes and hoping the monsters will go away? Juvenile, this is, that if I cannot see you then you do not exist.
I wonder, in this day of rapid flow of information, what if Rodney King had been lynched this year, or a year when twitter and Facebook had already become mainstream media? Would it have made a difference? Would things have changed, given the exponential amplification these media give to topics of the day? I do not know. Whenever atrocities such as police brutality or xenophobic attacks occur, there is always the simple go-to message of “Never again!”, or for us Kenyans, “We are one”, “#weareone”. It seems like a dark and ironic joke, when at the back of our minds we are all acutely aware just how much we need to do to make those statements a reality, and, more disconcertingly, the knowledge that most of us are not willing to do that.
What is “that”, you ask, the “work” that will pull us out of our ignorance and prejudice and hopefully set us on a path to making this country a nation? I do not know, and I gather neither do a lot of people. I might have a fuzzy idea of what it is: first, we get rid of the current political class, which also controls our institutions, and replace it with progressive-thinking leaders. That is as far as I have gotten. The political class propagates both biologically and ideologically, and with the economic power that it exercises, what can an outsider do? Add this to the fact that we have a largely ignorant electorate and one can be tempted to give in to despair that this is how it will always be.
This is a vent, plain and simple, and I will not attempt to form any coherent argument concerning any issues raised. Sometimes, you just have to say what is on your mind without care whether there is a soundness to it all.