Pure Madness

My thoughts on the "behind the scenes" of life. You will find inspiration here. Share it generously


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In case of Tragedy, Please Stay.

There are many tragedies that have occurred in Kenya in the recent past and left the entire nation on its knees. From fires to road accidents to conflicts to terrorism.  The effects of these tragedies will linger on longer than we would like them to. The memories of the pain, the scars, the loss of loved ones. Our lives will change and we will never be the same again. We only move on because we have to but within us, we remain stuck. Unable to let go unable to move on unable to catch up with the rest of the world. So we’ll learn to be around you without being there. We’ll learn to laugh with you, all the while we’ve never stopped crying.

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The hardest bit about any tragedy must be seeing everyone else moving on with their lives while you remain stuck. And who can blame them? Their lives have to go on. They too have their problems to deal with. Life may have stopped for you, but they are doing their best to keep theirs from stopping. And that’s OK. They must move on. We must let them.

But sometimes we move on too fast that to the victims, it feels as if our being there was a task that is now complete and we quickly moved on to the next. To the victims it seems as if what they are going through isn’t important to you anymore if it ever was. They feel alone deserted and disappointed. As much as their expectations from the rest of the world maybe unrealistic, if we put ourselves in their shoes, we too would not be any different.

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Imagine how life changed for the Loreto Msongari girls after the accident. Imagine having to learn to live without a limb on top of the trauma of the accident itself. Imagine having to learn to depend on others after you worked so hard to be independent. Imagine seeing a need but can’t give a hand, literally. Imagine, wanting to hold someone else’s hand, wanting to write a text, to make a call or board a matatu… but you can’t. Not just yet.

Now imagine your friends and parents pitying you, making you feel even more helpless. Imagine your friends feeling so helpless that they begin to keep their distance making you even lonelier. Imagine your friends not calling because they dont know what to tell you when all you wanted was for them to be there and to talk about the same things you used to. Now imagine this going on for weeks, months and even years!

To the victims of the different tragedies, forgive us for being so insensitive and quick to move on with our lives without caring about you. Forgive not only our selfishness but our strategy as well. In our minds we thought we were doing what’s best for you. Now it’s clear that it was what is good for us. We should have known better. We should have stayed even if we did not know what to say or do. We should have stayed.

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We should have asked what you wanted us to do or be before we made the decision to leave or give you “the space to deal”. We missed a chance to be there for you when you needed us the most. That may have been one of the toughest times of your life and we, your friends were not there. Maybe there is little we could have done, but at least we would have been there. Your long days could have been shorter and cold nights warmer. We may not have had the answers but we could have listened. We should have been there.

Now we know better. We will stay even with nothing to say. We will stay until you can see a better day. We will stay.

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Situations Vacant: Kenyans Wanted

How Kenyan are you? If there was a Kenyanometer that was going around like the tetanus shots, would you be found infected and in need of immunization? Are you Kenyan enough to pass any test including the potassium permanganate one? What does it even mean to be Kenyan? Do we have a unique identity that defines us as a nation, as a people as a state or as a community? Who is a true Kenyan and how do you identify a Kenyan from the crowd?

Photo Courtesy of www.mnimani.com

Photo Courtesy of http://www.mnimani.com

Clearly the national dress failed even before take-off. The loyalty pledge which used to be one of the symbols of national unity is no longer recited in schools. We barely know more than one stanza of the national anthem and our national heritage that used to be a unifying factor is our greatest source of division. Who then knows what it means to be Kenyan? What do you tell your child to be when you are teaching to be Kenyan? What’s in your Kenyan curriculum for “Think and Act like a Kenyan”?

Who then is a Kenyan anyway? Is a Kenyan that driver who can clearly see an ambulance behind him and hear the sirens and as the others drivers struggle to give way, you are unmoved. It’s not your fault that there is traffic or that we don’t have emergency lanes right?  What about the fool that decides that an ambulance needs a chase car risking their own life, the lives of other road users and the lives of the people in the ambulance too. Is that a Kenyan?

Who is more Kenyan, the one that hikes bus fare because it rained without caring the impact that will have on a fellow citizen or the one that pays and validates the one who hiked the fare? Is watching someone stealing from another person and instead of raising alarm, you clutch on to your bag and look the other way Kenyan? What about taking advantage of desperate citizens; asking for sexual favors in exchange for employment, using your authority to intimidate colleagues in your workplace, taking advantage of the people you swore to protect. Could this be Kenyan?

Are you a Kenyan if you as a leader, never deliver on a single promise to your electorate or are you Kenyan if you accept that your leader will never do anything for you to the point of not holding them accountable? Is being a Kenyan abusing your voting right by voting for a leader who does not have leadership qualities just because he/she is from your community? Is being a Kenyan allowing yourself to be used to bring harm to fellow Kenyans? Is it standing up for tribe or upholding cultural practices that are harmful even to your own children? Is being a Kenyan following instructions and orders from “territory kings” without question?

Do you litter your environment without a second thought? Do you make hateful comments about other communities in the name of humor and comedy? Do you use your social media platforms to preach ethnic hate and obscenity? Do you use media to sell wrong values to your viewers or even worse are you compromised to hide the truth from fellow countrymen? Are you one of the citizens who tore up a woman’s dress because according you, she was indecent? Were you the one who instead of fighting for her stood there laughing cheering on and worse still recording the entire thing with your phone? Is this what being a Kenyan means to you?

Was it you who gave that bribe so that the authorities could look the other way and you “got away”? Are you in a position to employ deserving and qualified citizens but you would rather employ your family and unqualified personnel for your own gain? Do you deny deserving students the opportunity to come to your institution after they have worked hard because you “sold” their slots to the highest bidder? Have Kenyans entrusted you with a certain responsibility and you don’t deliver as per the agreement whether as a leader, a doctor, a teacher, a mechanic an employer or employee?

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I clearly don’t know what being a Kenyan is anymore but I am sure of what it’s not.  Who will tell us who a Kenyan is? Is it you Mr. President? Is it our Education System or our religious institutions? Is it our parents and our communities? Is it our employers or fellow Kenyans? Where will we go to learn how to be Kenyan? Who is that model that for us who desire to be Kenyan will look up to?

Do we need to develop a shot that we can immunize our newborns to prevent them from being un-Kenyan? Who will lay down their life for this cause; that your children and mine and their children’s children would reap the fruit of being Kenyan? Will you?


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From the Pulpit to Politics

Madness I tell you. That is what is going on these days. I am not sure I can keep up anymore with the level of madness that you find in Kenya today. When a mad man tells you that you are mad, maybe you really are mad. It’s what he knows best. Madness. Now that madness seems to be “in season” let’s talk. One mad person to another.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

Talking of madness, how is it that people who barely have enough for themselves, fall prey to schemes in which they enrich other people. Seriously, I don’t have enough for myself yet someone will somehow convince me that to get more I will need to give them the little that I have? Logically, this principle works this way, if I have and someone else doesn’t, I give to the one who doesn’t have. If you don’t have and then you give the little you have to the one who already has, then you my friend, are a competitor! You are mad.

If we were to do a madness challenge, the person who barely has anything to give and yet finds something to give to the one who already has hoping to get more would take the cup! Let’s break it down further, even the model and instructions in The Bible are; to eat, you work. Simple. That is why people often pray and ask that “…the work of their hands…” be blessed.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

So while the rest of the sober and sane world works an entire month to get a salary at the end of the month, you want to “sow a seed” so that you can get “certain fast returns”? You my friend are out of your mind. That’s a pyramid scheme. You are greedy and you are cutting corners and that’s why someone is preying on you instead of praying for you. Here is an even better idea. Don’t pay rent anymore. Get a sack and a corner like the rest of us. You are mad.

So you woke up in the morning took a shower and dressed up like a sane person. Then you went to a religious institution where the leader tells you to show the entire world your breast (the one that you had covered very well when you left the house perhaps because you knew that was the right thing to do). Your own father and mother would never ask you to do that, your teachers in school didn’t either, your husband at home (if you have) has never asked you to do such a thing.

In fact if your boss dared to suggest such a thing you would sue him and he would spend the rest of his business life behind bars. But this stranger, not a doctor, a man asks you to show the world your breast and you do so? You are probably mad and under a spell. I hope it’s not contagious. Grab your corner. Feel at home. With us, even if you walk naked no one will care. You are lucky you got to rehearse madness before you became mad. Some woke up one morning and alas!

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But don’t worry, actually be proud of your new status. There are people who are fighting their status. They walk around like sane people but if you look closely they aren’t. Here is your consolation. Every five years, these people will wake up early in the morning spend the better part of their day queuing to vote. That’s doesn’t sound mad right? Wait till you hear who they are voting for. That’s where the madness checks in.

They will vote for someone who for the last many years has been making the same promises to them but never delivering anything. Yet they will wake up early in the morning vote for him/her, spend the entire day watching TV to see if “their leader has won” and even pray that God would allow the leader they voted for to win. Others will vote for a person with a criminal record or a bad reputation and hope that they will deliver what they promised.

Once “their leader” wins, their lives becomes worse, while that of the person they voted for becomes better. Their kids will get poor education in congested classroom if any, while the politician will take their children to international schools. They will spend hours or days trying to access good health services while their leader will get the best treatment outside the country. They will work hard, earn less, pay more taxes as their leader works less if at all, and gets tax exempt packages. They will lose the little they have earned to robbers and thugs as insecurity soars all the while the politician gets more security and adds another layer of tint to his armored vehicle. As their roads get worse and worse, his car gets higher and higher.

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And then as if that’s not enough madness, after five years of doing absolutely nothing, he/she will come back with 200 bob and they will validate him as a good leader that remembers his people. He will get into his car and speed off. As the dust settles they will realize that 200 bob for five years is not much. But it’s not the first time they have been taken advantage of. Nope neither is it the last.

So you see my friend, you might have shown your sick breast to world and they thought you mad. Well, even we mad people thought you mad but that’s not the point. The point is, they only see other people’s madness. Never theirs. Just like the leader of your religious institution, their political leaders continue to prey on them while they pray that the bad leader they voluntarily chose changes.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

I pray too. I pray that one day we can all loose our minds. Maybe then, our sight will be better and our decisions wiser. If not, well, we were mad. What did we expect?

Yours Truly

The Madman