Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kenya on the mind

I just did a search on Kenya on my Google News Reader. Nothing since the 5th. A week and a half ago.


Not a blurb.

Not a peep.

As if the country stopped existing.

Or maybe as if everything is just fine and dandy again. And just as it should be.

Status quo.

And I suppose that's how it is. Once again.

The status quo of our news coverage is that we chomp down on international horror stories until we've had our full. And then we vomit. And then we gorge down on Britney Spears and have our full of that until those days are beyond us.

As if we're afraid to chew on and digest slowly the bitter roots that happen around and, indeed, within us. We have tasted it (or so we think), and that is enough. Give us saccharine.

I am a bit frustrated. Not just about this particular instance. Or the many similar (albeit in larger scale) ones from before (Liberia, Afghanistan, various regions of Iraq, Rwanda, Bosnia...). But what I see in myself as a willingness to go along with the tide. To be satisfied in being satisfied. To think that what goes, goes. And so should I.

Fortunately, the voices of the shut-out don't shut up.

Pastor Eugene Cho from Seattle had a guest blogger on his site last week who talked and amalgamated and linked to and wrestled with stories on Kenya.

This is my favorite of the three part series. It is from the mouths (er, keypads) of the countrymen/women themselves. Here are a few excerpts:

I was watching CNN as opposed to Kenyan television channels because I wanted to see what the world was saying about us. The world is saying that Kenyans, who had been on the brink of one of the most astonishing democratic transitions witnessed in Africa, degenerated, very conveniently for the West’s stereotypes, to a ‘business as usual: chaos and anarchy right on schedule’ version of the African story. These broadcasts are brimming with just barely-suppressed glee at being able to say that tribal violence is tearing the East African nation of Kenya apart, long regarded as an exemplary bastion of stability in the region. We have confirmed some cherished stereotypes and validated many racists worldwide. (read directly here)

By the way, how come CNN does not cover American soldiers or civilians bleeding and writhing in pain, yet they show such images from other places?? (here)


Our politicians are not suffering. They have running water. Milk, eggs, bread, meat and even cake are delivered to their doorsteps. It is me and you, my friends, who risk being beaten up by mobs and shot by the police as we look for milk and bread for us and our own. And while our brothers and sisters and cousins and nephews and nieces are dying, pseudo-leaders wallowing in crass stupidity appear on TV to grandstand, blaming the chaos on each other. Listen, nitwits. We are not interested in your grandstanding and finger pointing. We want solutions. (here)

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