After my somewhat emotional piece yesterday, and Greatrnk retweeting this piece that he posted on his blog a while back, I went down memory lane and if you are reading this, I guess I pulled you along.
There seems to be a statute of limitation on honesty, open-mindedness, tolerance, justice and human dignity. Those qualities that should be the definition of humanity, in Kenyan society they are only valid as long as they are relevant to the one calling them out. Well, to be fair it is probably not a Kenyan thing, most likely a human thing.
Honesty, is replaced with hypocritical deception as soon as one reaches one of those milestones that mark adulthood in Kenya. I’ll hide behind religion and perpetrate hateful schemes in the name of faith. Never mind that the tenets of the same religion stand by love, joy, peace, kindness…
When I say honesty, I don’t mean telling the truth whichever way I want without regard for other people’s dignity, feelings or the consequences that may result from telling it. When I say honesty, I mean a sincere understanding of one’s own shortcomings and the acceptance that everyone else in spite of their shortcomings does have a right to life and dignity.
Open-mindedness, has been replaced with evil, hateful, close minded phobia of anything that is new or different, even if it is beneficial to the general society. Sure, as long as one is young you will hear speak of the newest gadget, technology, way of doing things. But then hit a certain age and its ‘vijana wa siku hizi.’ I know you probably want me to stop and speak of the sexually different so you can lynch me. Go ahead, do so, but remember by our sincere kindness and honest love we teach the truth. Otherwise, why do think Jesus Christ let the ‘sex worker’ wash his feet?
By the way, by open mindedness, I do not refer to the unprincipled acceptance of everything that passes under the sun. Rather, I am speaking of the possibility for life to be lived in different ways, and of the possibility for each one to be a vessel of good and excellence in society with whatever it is that we have been blessed with.
Tolerance: I am a woman, who having been raised in a family where the majority was male sometimes tend to think like a man. No, I don’t like Soccer. Rugby fascinates me. All those big men.. ah! My mother is still not convinced that I am not gender confused. But to her credit, our last conversation on gender stereotypes and the more precise gender fluidity was reassuring.
No, I’m a woman, although a lot has been said about Fujoshi, Bois, and tomboys. I love teddy bears and hate flowers. Hardly a butterfly, am I?
I couldn’t care a bit what some celeb did or what gossip has been put up on some blog.
I would be at a loss if you asked me what tribe I was. My maternal uncles say I should just identify myself by the language I speak, but they along with my mother speak Kikuyu and Maasai. My father speaks Embu, German, Pokomo and Italian. My step-dad whom I absolutely adore speaks Embu, Luo and French. I speak Swahili, Giriama, Kamba, English, and really good Kikuyu.
All I know for sure is that I am a citizen of Kenya. I like English and Spanish films but abhore soap operas, Spanish, Mexican or English. I am a fob for American Police Dramas, British Sci-fi and a hardcore Marvelite. But I will read DC Comics, and indulge in The Walking Dead and very likely watch an Aussie flick once in a while.
I am crazy about african urban fiction, if it is written by Mwangi Ichungwa and Ian Arunga. I will re-read Charles Dickens and Haruki Murakami and in the same day cross over and read Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell and very possibly Jilly Cooper and David Gibbins.
I love Sautisol and I still listen to bango sounds. I love classical crossover – really everyone should have a listen to Mario Frangoulis’ new album Beautiful Things. I love rock español [I have a huge crush on Juanes], bachata, some castillano ballados, indie rock, coffeehouse rock, country rock, reggae country (I’ve got Island Song by Zac Brown Band of replay) and I have a thing for Tchaikovsky.
A mongrel, that’s what I am. So I find it hard to be mean to someone just because they are something I am not. I have my own principles. I trust you to have yours. And I REFUSE to hold you to mine. In fact, I’d rather walk away from you than try to beat you into submitting to my principles. I say this in the same breath I will call for your justice, and mine. I will fight for your dignity, even if you might not fight for mine. And in this, will you refuse to accept my difference?
God forbid, that I should grow older, get married, have a baby… and use that as an excuse to be something I am not. Or the other way around, although I must admit I’ll have a hard time with not growing old 🙂
Whichever way, heaven forbid, that I should ever uphold my well being by trampling on another’s soul.