Thursday, October 30, 2008

In loving memory: A tribute to Maitũ Milkah Wanjirũ Kĩnyua

Mwendwo nĩ-irĩ Maitũ Wanjirũ mwarĩ wa Kĩriakũ na Wairimũ Aanjirũ a mbarĩ ya Karũe. Mũtumia wa mũtiga-irĩ Kĩnyua mũrũ wa Mũhoro na Wanjikũ Aagathigia a mbarĩ ya Gakuũ.

Twenty four odd years have passed since you crossed over to the land where they say people never grow old, eternity. Dear mother your sudden departure caught us so unprepared, so young yet not so innocent. Flashes of uncertainty and destitution blurred the horizon. Everything lost meaning, but only for a moment.

Maitũ, in life you lived like a candle in the wind but your strength and resilience surpassed the Mũgumo tree. Nothing could take away your beauty, your wisdom and integrity. You remained steadfast till death. Even as your health deteriorated, you never let your children go hungry. One day in the market and another spent in our small acre. It was small, infertile yet invaluable. The Acre’s worth could not be measured. It fed us. In it you grew pumpkins, bananas, maize, sweet potatoes, sukuma wiki, yams, and sugarcanes. The macadamia and avocadoes trees graced the small acre, God’s acre - a true inheritance. With your never ending energy, you prodded us to take care of the coffee trees, though not a lovable chore.

Through sheer hard work and entrepreneurship you made sure that we remained in school. When dismissed from school due to lack of fees, you walked us back to plead for our case with a promise that money owed would be paid, somehow. Though you never had the opportunity to pursue a career, you made our success your single most desire. You reminded us of our responsibilities in life and in the world. In words and action you taught us the value of hard work, honesty and kindness. You wanted us to excel. When we seemed to forget our purpose in life, your mũtathi whip was ready to remind everyone that none of us was going to become a brat or a vagabond under your watch. Many are the days we disappointed you but you never casted us aside.

Your wealth did not go beyond the small acre, a few pigs and our adorable Kanini (the cow that gave us milk and manure for gardening), yet your hospitality knew no bounds. You made our home a refugee for the poor and hungry. Unemployed men, single mothers, orphans, old women, even the outcasts of the village found a good neighbour in you. You always had a comforting word for them and a meal to sheer them up.

Your radiance and peace came from the joy of knowing a saviour, Jesus Christ. You talked about him to anyone willing to lend an ear to you. You sung about his love and his providence. With the vigour of a true revivalist you shed his love abroad. Even when the Church rejected you because of the abounding joy of meeting this saviour, you loved them anyhow. As I watched you laid in the casket that took you away, the disarming smile was still there. I could not help smiling back, even though in tears and sorrow.

Standing together in our small Acre and joined together by your love we sung “In the Sweet By and By” as we bade you kwaheri. In that solemn moment, I saw you smile - again. I have carried this smile with me dear maitũ to this day. The smile is always there to comfort and to remind me of your love for us and for humanity. Your unforgettable smile reminds me also to count my days for they are numbered just as yours were. I must make haste to love, to serve, to honour, and to respect humanity. I miss you so much maitũ witũ.

Rest in Peace Mwendwo nĩ-irĩ na irĩri Maitũ Wanjirũ.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Forgive, in whose name?

After the Waki report laid the buck right at the desks of Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Raila, the next thing we hear is that Kenyans, need to pray and forgive murderers in the name of God, national unity and security. I mean, who is fooling who? This is nothing else but an elitist class struggle for survival against hapless and helpless mwanchi. It has nothing to do with national cohesion or peace. It is trickery of the worst kind that makes mockery of justice, peace, love and unity. It is a cover-up!

People burned their midnight candles scheming and planning evil. Before we invoke the name of God, we must ask ourselves whether, we invited him in the first place at our cabinet meetings, churches, mosques or at political rallies to bear witness as we ignited fire of fear, anger and hatred. It is mere short-sightedness and lack of human feelings to call for blanket amnesty. Who is qualified to ask for forgiveness? Where are the victims of such orgy and murder in this equation? Who should speak on behalf of those blessed ones who perished in infernos of hell while others helplessly watched and mourned as their loved ones begged for mercy from hideous marauders ran amok? Who shall defend the cause of the young women and men who were shot at, maimed and killed in the streets of our cities? I mean the government and politicians cannot run away from their responsibility. It is a moral obligation to bring to justice all those responsible of the atrocities suffered in the land of Kenya.

If history is the mother of all lessons, then we need to pick up some ABC lessons from the dusty shelves of our existence as a nation. Ugly lessons of history mock the very word “forgiveness”. What a déjà vu! Remember the old adage that meaningless “sorry” led to the loss of entire Whiteman’s chinaware? We have seen it before; heard it repeated over the years of our existence. It started with the “founding father” of the nation. After colluding with imperialists, he declared that we must “forgive” and “not forget”. This was right after millions of Kenyans had been utterly dehumanised through villaginisation, mass detention and mass murder. Yes, we heard it said “forgive” when Kungu Karumba disappeared, When Tom Mboya, J. M Kariũki, Robert Ouko, and Bishop Alexander Muge were all brutally murdered. Then came the 1992 massacre and now, forgive? To use an uncouth analogy, one does not sit and watch his feet get pulped by jiggers that keep multiply and sucking the very blood he survives on. It takes courage to sit with all known tools of trade to deal with the menace once and for all. Painful? Sure! But singular attention and resolve bring the nasty blood-suckers to an end. We must not be blind to the facts of history. Once people learn, sharpen and perfect the art of murder, the beast grows. It even mutates to an uncontrollable monster. I am talking about real, pure Evil – ugly and nasty, that is what it is. The only solution is to stand up and face it. It will be a painful and even scary process. When we resolve to face the beast, the animal will summon all of its bestial powers of evil. As it seeks to survive, the beast will retaliate with vengeance. But we must be relentless in our resolve and be not intimidated.

Sentimentalism, which is only an emotional bash in the name of love cannot and must not replace redemptive and creative goodwill. Real people got killed and others lost their livelihood. Mothers, fathers, youth and children were equally affected. Our own flesh and blood, not abstract amorphous beings out there, bore the blunt power of evil. Victims of violence need no pity, no forgiveness but justice. Lives lost, property destroyed, livelihood dashed against hard walls of anarchy, and grand scale land grabbing, economic inequalities will not be resolved by mere sentimentalism. We must squarely look in the face of our wounded personhood and reclaim it through the rule of law. Yes, there are some ignorant unemployed young men who blindly followed schemers, perhaps those we can forgive but not the perpetrators of violence.

If the Kenyan legal system is too compromised to handle this, then international jurisprudence must take over. Justice must not be assumed to happen, it must be done. I write in the strongest terms to protest and denounce all those who are calling for blanket amnesty.