Friday, January 22, 2010

Can You Convince Me?

Do not argue with me, do not despise and work against my idea. Rather, and more critically, create your own idea and woo me.

See, I am just one man, just a person, and I have thought up a passion, I have worked my mind, listened to my heart and the advice of wisdom; I have evolved through thought, dusted the old that others thought, knew and fought mortally for, and I keep marvelling at the now-born. From these musings, weak hands and scarce tools no matter, working only  with hope, and a desire to manifest it while I live these hours, I have synthesized, mixed and matched, until at this hour, I trust this thought.

And I thrust it out, like a god's Javelin, with all the power of my strained sinews, with all the warmth of my last breath, to the farthest ends it can reach, of this world.

Made in the image of God, to have a creative idea, is to simply fulfil nature.  A door is only a door when open. Closed, were it a wall, for all the need of it, none would be the wiser, of its purpose.

Now, you too are made in this wondrous image of God.  And God is the Supreme Good, the uncreated creator, the almighty source unsourced. He only forges the ultimate, the best. Clearly, then, you have this same creative capacity.  You can come up with a better idea, you can warm up your own heart, kindle the fire of your own passion, strike your own pose and call out the world, to bear you audience, be still and listen to you, and if moved, haste to lug heavy boulder upon heavier boulder, to build your brave Pyramid.

Only the height of your monument, and the unimagined sum of the co-operative effort it unites, to raise it above mine, will hold hearts in beating rush, and pull lips in gaping awe, raise faces in bewildered gaze, and glare eyes in enchanted stupor, stopping feet in long, captive arrest, and wobbling knees so weakly, they will bend to the ground, and lead necks in reverence, to worshipful bow.

And any ear that hears about it, will rush tongues to exclaim, "I never saw the like of it before."

That is honour.  That is fame. 

Foe, you will not get that by arguing with me, and the world neither will  respect the loudness of your voice, nor reward the scraping force of your words. Further, to argue with me is to be my slave, to work for me, in the foregarden of my mind's home, weeding the flowerbed of my ideas.  If I did not exist, would you be idle and without a task, would you be a loafer, grabbing at morsels and unfed?  Be a proud master of your own time, and raise your own rosebushes, though thorny, your own frontyard of thought.

So, do not argue with me.  Create your better idea, and convince me. 

Or, let me forth to the world, to live in humbling honour of onerous duty, or to die honourable ever more, in the rattling rage of battle, for mine ideal here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

SAfety at World Cup 2010

The SAfety World Cup

South Africa, still, is the biggest casualty of the machine-gun attack on the Togolese national team bus headed to the African Cup of Nations tournament, CAN - French for le Coupe d'Afrique des Nations - in the Cabinda enclave of Angola, on the evening of January 7th.  The African audience's collective conscience is used, even inured, to news of tragedy, and I trust the CAN will proceed, even with a shaken limp or upon a crutch.  It is the wider global followers of this football religion who will be hit hardest. 

FIFA's Josep Sepp Blatter feels it a low blow on African football, having hosted three truly successful tourneys in 2009, in Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa.  In his 35 years of working at FIFA, he confides, this is the first such direct attack on a football delegation.  He believes this is an isolated incident, that should not damp the enthusiasm and happy mood that is enveloping the continent in this new year of great football.  The World Cup in South Africa, is under direct scrutiny.  Danny Jordaan, South Africa's Chief Host for the global fiesta in five months' time, believes it is unfair and even warped, to think that what happens in one country should influence the hosting of a global event in another. 

"When there was the bomb in Spain, ...the bomb in London, nobody said we should reconsider London 2012!  When there was a war in Kosovo, and the World Cup in Germany (in 2006), everybody understood that the war in Kosovo had nothing to do with the tournament in Germany.  We should not apply double standards," he says, adding that he does not understand the thinking that underlies the fears of those questioning security arrangements for the World Cup down South later this year.

And some fans in Ghana agree.  Manchester United lived after the Munich air disaster.  Liverpool survived their stadium collapse incident in a European final.  Both teams lived on to win more glory.  Surely, Togo will live on, despite the loss of its three citizens that has curtailed their participation in CAN 2010, following their president's executive order to withdraw the traumatized team.  It is the right way forward.

Still, South Africa is in the cross-hairs of all the world's watchful lenses.  Let Mozambique, Lesotho, Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Tunisia, Egypt and all the main nations of Africa help Azania to keep secure the World Cup.  Any incident in any of these countries is critical to this perception.  Act, and explain later, rather than explaining your failure to act.

And Kenya must be under greater scrutiny.  Neither at CAN 2010 nor at the SA 2010 Fifa World Cup, we still matter most, simply because we are President Obama's Uncles, and he is the world's perceived chief anti-terrorism campaigner.  How about that for kinship and responsibility!  What would it have meant if that Nigerian scourge of Detroit was from Kenya?  Obama would have resigned, or come very close to that.  He can avow all his soul to America, but they all do not love him as much as we do.  And they know he still has breathing relations at Nyang'oma in Siaya, here.  We all owe him that presidency.  We cannot afford a terrorism act linked to East Africa in this new decade.

Let me ask, can we deliver?

A man in touch with his origins

Zuma: A man is still a man

Watching a video of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma snapping his feet on the ground, shaking his head in a joyful frenzy, kicking out at imaginary ghost enemies and lumbering like a flagpost, back-first, into a coterie of his seated tribesmen, amid cheers from his charmed and gawking visitors, I was amused by a very satisfied man, confortable and in charge of his dates with destiny. As his skin-skirt touched the ground, a 'village warrior comrade' jumps into the fray to jestily 'admonish him, find out how he fares, and inquire of this man, whose spirit has been felled by the charms of his new bride.' He was introducing his bride to 'elders and ancestors,' a BBC report says, and is still engaged to another future bride, a woman from Durban.

A president with unfettered access to all of the sartorial fineries of the world, but still cloyed in 'traditional bull fats' and dressed in strips of leopard skin, doing a jig on a grassy patch at his former Black reserve village is very gripping indeed.

A self-educated man (some say that is the best way in life), who bats his eyelids and takes two days off to marry a fifth wife, half a year into his leadership of Africa, in broad daylight, does not only strike me as a wise man who knows a thing or two more about life than his hollering detractors, it fills me with wonder about why Obama has to holiday with the whole White House in Hawaii.

What does Obama do, that is not on Zuma's role profile? Global Policeman? But the US has many more professional defense gurus, more specialist departments for specialized action, more tools of analysis and levels of permission, implying, to my mind, less need for presidential action. Further, Obama is far more formally educated, which means he should multitask better, without a full office on holiday. Or does formal education count for nothing in the management of humanity? If you ask me to choose between being Zuma or Obama, you know where my loyalties would go, to my African chief. I am sorry for my nephew from K'Ogelo. A man cannot enjoy a day off, to dance to the drums and jingles of his ancestors? What sort of job is this American Presidency? Freedom and Pursuit of Happiness, indeed!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hosting AfriCom in Kenya - Let us welcome Obama.

Security: Host AfriCom at Wajir in Kenya.


Security is the wide base that holds the broad pyramid of any Civilization.  Infact, in all known Civilizations of the world, military power was always the draw-horse preceeding the wagon of economic progress.  With modernity, democracy and the much-vaunted rule of law, militarism has had to take a lower profile, to sit silently on the back-benches of public governance and discourse, to attend his illustrious diplomatic masters, as states and societies have sought to project softer, sweeter faces to the court of world opinion.  But such facades should not lull the keen observer into any stupor, and we should make no mistake about the magnetic pull that attracts glory to the gun and yields honey after 'smoking the hive.'


The Colonialist lugged his religion in the left hand, and his rifle in the right.  This was no accident of adventure.  It is the thing it was meant to be: where the locals spurned the message of Love, Morality and opportunity, a few rounds of rumbling lead shots would exorcise their impundent ghosts and silence the leading rebel for ever. 


'See, if he is the Son of god Khau-khii, why can't he raise himself up from the dead?'  How would a caveman respond to such logic from the 'Stranger with a fire-stick, who could shut the Grand Magician up?'


Religious and folk lore abounds in histories of tribal increase through the ransacking, pillage and annihilation of weaker, less spirited contemporaries.  Of course, current reality makes it imprudent, plainly unpopular and unwise, to seek economic progress by plundering and despoiling other nations' produce while riding the military power-horse.  But then, that is not to say that it ended with Napoleon.  The twenty-first century David attacks and sacks his neighbour's granaries using more subtle means, but back of all of which there is a clenched military fist in the velvety glove of aid, grants and free trade.  The face smiles, but the voice is guttural, the feet ready to pounce and pound, the hands bear a huge stick called 'reform,' while the eyes betray a lurid lust for the host's resources.


But right here, where the beastly bear appears to overwhelm us with the stench of his unwelcome intrusion, is where our opportunity lies.  We lose everything by resisting the irresistible.  The tree that bends with the wind lives long and learns to scatter its own seed, while the reed that resists the gale breaks in rue.  Knowing this, and aware that the best student learns from his teacher, to beat him, then it is our opportunity to page the grizzly king, and learn his ways to sharpen our own insticts.  The more extensive our acquaintance with those who have excelled, the greater will be our powers of invention (creation of new ideas), and the purer, more original will be our conceptions. 


So, if China, yes, the Oriental multitude, the million-man army from the East seeks a military base here,  let them have it.  If the Americans - Cousin Barack's blessed aunts, remember - say that they are seeking a camp for their homeless African battalion of their warrior class, then by the Hills of Kirinyaga, if we are the true home of the Maasai moran, we must be kindred spirits.


Consider the outcomes with me, supposing we decide to host AfriCom here in Kenya. What infrastructure goes into the institution of a full Yankee base?  Roads, railways, water, communications, military hardware 'gifts' to the host nation, personnel training, equipment, a general perception of security in the Horn of Africa, medical infrastructure, some level of employment for the local community, the unlocking of unimagined opportunity, etc., etc.  We could negotiate for a large scale 'peaceful' nuclear energy programme, have progressive partnerships with some of the world's highest institutions of research, learning and innovation.  Part of the collateral damage will be in 'the rise of the Marines' - the Pointies or QuarterBlacks, I call them, and that will involve 'lots of love.'  If the airlifts of JFK and Mboya gave Obama to the world, our girls could always do with reciprocation, or does anyone disavow little Johnnies anymore?   Further, security will make our country highly attractive to serious investment flows into Africa.


Effectively, we become a Fifty-first American state, sort of, protected under the futuristic Missile Defence shield, joining Poland, Germany, South Korea, Japan, and Australia as strategic global defence posts.  In geopolitics, as in no other human endeavour, does it ring more true that decisions are made by those who attend, and to my mind, I can’t find an easier ticket reservation for the high table, than by hosting the reception.  Host AfriCom, and become Africa’s chief barracks.


Note that we are six (fighter-jet) hours away from all end-points in Africa, three hours away from Saudi Arabia and Israel, and would offer the perfect support for the bases in Germany and Turkey, in case of any imbroglios in Persia. For fifty future years, we enjoy proper security, and therefore have freedom to pursue liberty and happiness.  A half century of peace and stability would establish us as the gateway to Africa, an entrypoint into the jungle that is Sub-Saharan Africa.  If Africa is the continent of the future, then Kenya's NEP is the doorknob to that future.  And that is how we should understand Mssrs Rannerberger and Carson, why Bill Clinton made Nairobi the capital of American diplomacy in the Cradle of man.  How about long-term strategy?


And it would call a halt to Yoweri Museveni's oedipal military games, and Paul Kagame's expansionist ideals.  The region would be on order and alert to Nairobi's call.  What is Somalia in the face of a half-century Yankee siege?  Yemeni and Al Quaeda will have to close base in Somalia and seek for refuge elsewhere, in an increasingly hostile world.  This is our redemption in this region.  Perish piracy, perish Eritrea, Djibouti and Ethiopia's silly sibling meanness. 


But our notoriously mundane and ethically low leadership is beholden to non-issues in terms of appeasing undefined 'African' traditions and not thinking strategically.  State House is mulling this opportunity, and the instinct for corruption is holding a nation for ransom.  If we delay, some wiser elder will bag this gift that forever gives, and send us to bed, on empty tummies.  These things are very rare in their occurrence..


What if we refuse to be their hosts? We do not gain much.  We do not 'see' any loss.  Life just moves on at our blurred Vision 2030 pace.


Host AfriCom Now!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Compulsory HIV/Aids Testing?

A suggestion has recently appeared in the Press and at several Health fora, that to accelerate the process of HIV and Aids testing and statistical measurement, all visitors to all health institutions within the republic could be subjected to a mandatory HIV/Aids test, as a value adding service.

Previously, Kenyan society, and I am made to understand that the fact is true of East Africa as a whole, has depended on centres for voluntary counselling and testing to conduct the critical counselling service, the testing and subsequent collation of the HIV/Aids prevalence statistics for health planning. Resulting from this is the seemingly displeasurable fact that only 35% of Kenya's nineteen million adults have bothered voluntarily, or been circumstantially compelled to avail themselves of these services. Many moot reasons may be given for this response; fear of affront or social stigma, lack of knowledge of the value of VCT centres, apparent continued health, etc. 

May I, however, contend that it is thoroughly foolish and utterly impundent, nay, extremely imprudent to presume that these remaining compatriots are of unconscious choice; that they singularly lack the capacity to express their personal preferences, and must therefore be straitened in to NASCOP's or some other Council's generous judgment. 

I have an additional reason, and will frame it in the form of a question. Why track trouble? I mean, why should a sane person trace stress and duress, by seeking out things that are hidden from him/her? What one does not know, does not hurt. Every one knows themselves fairly well; morally as well as just generally. I must state starkly that sexual immorality is a personal choice; a fact that cannot be lightly tossed aside. The rest of us should not be 'punished' for keeping to the straight and narrow path. Test the perverts, do not pervert the test!

Therefore, if I am 'chilling,' as the teen-aged Nairobian would say, and am busy with my life, setting objectives, and attaining them on a consistent basis, why - of what right - should anyone: conscientious counsellor, avuncular medic or busybody statistician bother me by breaching my privacy, peace and productivity, through a compulsory test and the distressing disclosure of my HIV/Aids value? 

Friends, there is necessary information; then there is unnecessary information. Happiness in life is conditioned on moderate knowledge; too little or too much means sub-optimal joy. I am happy the way I am, and would be mortally harmed by this extra knowledge of my HIV polarity. Furthermore, sixty-five per cent is a two-thirds' majority: so, what is the benefit of forcing upon us all an idea suited to a small minority? In no country on Earth has a disease, disaster or catastrophe ever threatened the lives of more than four-tenths of the population; and that is nature. Sincerely, how is this compulsive method more beneficial than nature itself? Please concentrate on the sick, and leave the live ones alone.

Put another way, I ask, is a person's peace of mind lower in rank to the state's need for statistics? Is data collected about life more valuable than life itself? Life is lived in the mind, in every walking person, while dumb data is for storage in a dump, a forgetable file in some odious office. Would you rather disturb 65% of Kenya, just for the inane sake of nonsensical numbers? Would you have a nation of prancing and prattling psychopaths, just to feed your swinish data appetites? Get serious, fellows. We have a right to privacy; a right to free choice, and the primal right of Ignorance. You have no basis for bursting our beautiful bubbles of bliss. Unto Heaven itself, the most basic requirement is Child-like faith, not crazy, groochy, experimental Science.

Please, let me be. Should I need a test, we, then, will see.