Thoughts on Kenya

There is little difference in the Kenyan turmoil and what I can easily see by going half a mile from my home on the South Side of Chicago when I read the news about Kenya’s recent election turmoils. Black men with frustrations turned inward, finally coming to a point where it implodes upon their communities. What I see in the news, are Kenyans who are frustrated with the lack of being able to voice their desires in an orderly fashion.   Yet, what I read on the blogs, are Kenyan voices trying to make peace, sense and have some sort of existential conversation about those frustrations.

In The thinker’s room, its author raises proactive questions to solve an insolvable problem—tribal conflicts and allegiances.  The author’s personal account of going out to “capture the pulse of the country” gives an untraditional view of the struggles Kenyan’s are facing when it comes to having fair elections.

– I actually visited some polling stations and saw clumsy attempts to modify tally sheets.
–I actually went out and into the Mukuru slums a couple of days after the residents stoned our houses  and forced us into an impromptu curfew. I have seen horrible things and heard horrible tales. I have inhaled quite a bit of teargas and my reflexes to sounds like gunfire have to be seen to be believed.
— I still go out to Mukuru even now. I tell you its one thing to see these people on TV and it is quite another to talk to them and share their experiences.

On My part of the world, the author writes about the violence in broader terms, the impact it could have on a whole.

A writer said there is nothing as dangerous as an unemployed young man, Kibaki’s failure to create the jobs he said he would or encourage the growth of small businesses is indicative of the large number of looters, rioters and militia. Rest assured if these young men had something to call their own, they would have been less willing to riot and enter battle.

The author raised three broad points, but acknowledged that the fall out could be wider. On Global Voices, there were reports of using online forums and blogging to fan the tribal fires.

When conflicts erupted in Kenya after the elections, many fingers pointed at the newspapers and radio as the sources of hatred and fanning the fires of tribal hatred that have been lit over time. None focussed much on blogs and online forums. But it has proved that even online forums have been breeding grounds for war mongers.

Mashada forum, Kenya’s first online chat room was forced to close after discussions got out of control.

It would seem the amenity of the internet would actually be a safe haven for people to solve any human rights issue, but if it is susceptible to the whims of those who are inclined to use it as a tool to breed more anger and hatred, I fear more voices will be made smaller.

Word count: 254


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This entry was posted on February 5, 2008 by in International thoughts.
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