Recently in Kenya; during the Labor Day celebration, an activist was mishandled by hired goons, protecting a Man who claims to be the image and representative of the millions of labourers in Kenya.
As in the case of the Good Samaritan; the first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him? (Martin Luther King Jr.)
These words of wisdom are normally embedded, knowingly or unknowingly, in the hearts of many activists or civil society movements that advocate for the various rights which may have been directly or indirectly violated by either the ruling government or highly powered individuals. These rights may be first or second generation rights, Animal rights, Conservation rights or right to have rights.
Was the activist justified to express his inner most pain and frustrations of what he and many Kenyans feel but fail to express? Yes he was. Did the government do anything? Yes they did by letting the hired goon mishandle him and later charged him with disruption of a state function. We the ‘priests’ and ‘Levites’ sat comfortably in our living rooms wining and dining while applauding the circus being screened on our flat screens TV’s as the activists were being carried like criminals while others were busy criticizing the activists harshly.
Within a week the same activists made headlines by bringing pigs feeding on bloody filth outside parliament. The pigs were branded with names of Members of parliament who are adversely advocating for the increase of their salaries. The activists were arrested and are being charged with cruelty to animals. I think as a country and especially the newly elected leaders (Governors, Senators, Members of Parliament and Members of the county assembly) we are missing a very critical point that these activists are trying to pass across.
Allow me to give you all a mental flight to the last seen series of protests and demonstrations across the Middle East and Northern Africa, which came to be known as the Arab Spring/Uprising. These series of phenomenal started in Tunisia when a man decided to set himself on fire which resulted to the escalation of riots and unrest which led to President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia. A spill over to other countries such as Algeria, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt which resulted to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak was experienced. The gross but bravery act by the “burning man” in Tunisia as he came to be known was majorly a protest against the high rise of food prices, mistreatment from the authorities, high unemployment and other social injustices that a common man in any part of the world faces.
Having enlightened you and myself on the “Arab Spring” I wish to join this group of young activists and assume the role of a “media activist” meaning I am among the class of the “Priest and the Levites” but undergoing a mental emancipation to become a “good Samaritan”. Our leaders have mastered the art of selective amnesia whereby they choose to remember what is beneficial to them and forget what is not. When they campaigned they knew how much they will earn and none complained. Some even made promises to donate their salaries to the various constituents but now, they have forgotten the promises and their new song is that the Salary and Remuneration commission is plotting to kill them. On the other side, we the Kenyans suffer from “adaptive syndrome”.
We adapt to any situation we find ourselves in and most of these harsh situations are man made. As a country, we have a large percentage of educated youth who are internet savvy and creative but lack employment. We are faced with food inflation, lack of freedom of speech and extremely poor living conditions. Something needs to be done and if not then we will have a battle of the haves and the have not as we are currently seeing through the Occupy parliament protests. To the Kenyans, the activists are simply saying, if they don’t stop to voice the injustices we face, what will happen to all of us when the “pigs” take all the food. Is there anyone listening?