Tuesday, February 21, 2012

KenyaFeb28: A Mockery of Egypt & Tunisia?

Now I usually agree with Miss Bree unequivocally on everything, but as she aptly preempted in her post I am the Devil’s Advocate, and possibly expected in light of my previous posts on the issue, today is not one of those days. The hilarious bash at our pseudo-intellectual attempts at being 21st century Shakespeares was a nice touch though; remided me of a post I read recently about guys coming up with “really bad Romeo and Juliet pastiche” on Midegablog.

Let me start by stating that I do not know, nor am I affiliated to anyone that started the 'fad' – her words – that is #KenyaFeb28 any more than the next guy. I do not know what their intentions were, whether political or simply populist. What I do know is that had they not started it, I would not have been put into the same jar as many of the people in whose forums I have since been thrust. I would possibly not have had the gumption to go ahead and present my own opinions for my fellow tweenyans and the the tworld at large to see. That would have made yesterday Black Monday for me, akin to that commercialized Monday a fortnight ago.

I am pro#KenyaFeb28. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it is the Mona Lisa. I consider it more of a Mona Marangi. As I read Miss Bree's lead, and considering what day it was, I found myself thinking "Here we go. This will be like seating at the Cinema with a film production student." And I thought I was right, as she started with the usual 'poor lighting here, poor frame there'. But then she advanced to the Movie director, 'poor frame, let's do take 2'... A bit ambiguous on what take 2 should be, but nonetheless effective for it got me thinking.

Mona Marangi

Her argument rightly states that the motives for this 'fad' may well not be noble; the organizers clearly had no vision for it. Or didn't they? For that argument you have probably seen my recent blogpost on the same.

My two pence of contention however rests on this statement: “If Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Morocco are doing something, let’s do something too…” That it is a mockery of their efforts. As an individual with a keen passion for History, I would have you know that Africa has been more or less nationalistic – regionalistic? – within the same time-frame, and the same goes for a good majority of the rest of the world. Think Independence and the enlightenment resulting from World War II. Think the Prise de la Bastille as the trigger that pulled an American Independence story in the 18th century. Think the Industrial Revolution and the similar factors that led to most of the 18th & 19th Century industrial powers' advancements.

You could even think how Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau and Togo all came together to form ECOWAS in 1975. Cape Verde joined the following year (we came up with a mnemonic back in 2000 to deal with the pressure of remembrance put on us by the awesomely infamous 8-4-4 system; that’s how come I remember them.) Since then we’ve had the likes of PTA ‘81, now COMESA since ‘94; IGAD ‘86, which came up as a response to economic hardships in the region between ‘74 and ‘84; and now EAC and the West African Monetary zone both talking about common currencies by 20 whatnot.

Don’t even get me started on how many African states gained their independence in 1960. And finally, I am sure you know that while independence was extremely bloody – MAUMAU, Apartheid et cetera – some of the nationalists (Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere) advocated for, and in some cases succeeded in carrying out, peaceful diplomatic ventures as opposed to Guerrilla Warfare. How effective the diplomacy would have been without the backdrop that was warfare spread all over the protectorates, however, is a matter of conjecture.

So yes, we react to cause, and come up with effect; and in so doing we affect others, and become their cause for similar effect. Their implementation of said effect is not sacrosanctly bound to be similar to our own. So no, this is not a slap in the face of the Arab world; we've had our Guerrilla Warfare, and by God I know we agree that we do not want an encore. This is the time for diplomacy, and that only begins with unity. #KenyaFeb28 was probably a mere display, in which case you would be right: it’d be a mockery of North Africa’s revolution.

But the forums started as a result of #KenyaFeb28 can be used to fortify unity. They can be used to mobilize privileged Kenyans in an enlightenment project for the underprivileged, read the "Have-blogs & microblog's and the Have-not-blogs & microblog's". For revolutions are indeed populist, not elitist.

"The only time you and your friends will be able to see your dream come true is when you make them buy into it; when they see your dream of a country without tribalism, corruption and selfishness," a wise woman once said. This paradigm shift is what we can start trending as the next 'fad', transforming it into a similar mass demonstration. A demonstration of #KenyaFeb28 with collective ideas from the dialogues it has generated. So let's hope yesterday's display was a curtain raiser. 

It may seem rather harried a response, but the truth is that to go somewhere we need a starting point. When did the Plasma TV first get to Kenya? Was it not in this century? Yet in principle the plasma television was first described in 1936, and invented in 1964...yes, for as long as Kenya has been a republic there has been plasma TV. My point being that there are challenges to everything, but there must be a beginning for anything to work. 

'Then what?' Then we, you and me, misterNV and diasporadical, 3cb and plus254, mashada and thinker's room among the many other avenues, keep the dialogue burning for the hard substance that will transform this country. 

Demographics are in our favour, what with 84% of the population still 40 and below. Yes. We Can. We do not need someone, or some elite class, to tell us what next. We can come together and tell them 'This Is It'. 

Question is, shall will we?


  1. Oh My! I love that heartshaped 'From Kenya With Love' emblem!

  2. We watch the news and shrug our shoulders with apathy at goings on - especially by politicians - that should infuriate us into action...and if we are roused into action, it is to rise against long-time neighbours and friends because we suddenly take acute note of their being of a different tribe from ours. I hang on your words...everything must start somewhere. If it takes effort that looks like mockery of others' efforts to finally get us to think as Kenyans, then let it be.

  3. iAte

  4. Indeed Serendipity. Your response brings in a very interesting angle to the equation. That as Kenyans we reacted with such venomous bile against each other as a result of our very honourable *ahem* politicians.Yet we find little in the way of constructive RSVP to their mockery of our collective intelligence as a nation in the in-between period,waiting for another election 'to vote them out'.Really?Vote him out when he's for the past 2 or so months been such a doll?Aaw,he started a project here.Such myopia!

  5. And yes :) I am E-Ville incarnate. But credit to Thinker's Room blog where I got this Apple dampling of a pic :D


Your comments are highly appreciated.