Pulse Media


Thoughts for Kenya

Watching and hearing about the recent violence in Kenya, I felt at first, and as usual, frustrated and helpless. Oh sure, the 'western' powers have voiced their concern with regards to electoral irregularities and of course the violence which ensued. As we must all have realised by now, if the 'democratic West' says there were irregularities, then the reality must be much worse than the picture painted in our official media. But what exactly is the 'democratic West' intending to do about it? We've seen their reaction to the massacre of the burmese people. We've seen how much russian democracy matters to them. We've seen how the people of Darfur are still waiting for the 'West' to deliver them from their tyrants and bring 'democracy' to their country. So, what exactly should we expect our leaders to do for the Kenyans? However, I feel the need to react to the image of an ethnic war painted by the media. I have no doubt, that the kenyan media are also responsible. That Kenya is an artificial country created by colonialism is clear. That it is a country with various ethnic groups, of which the main two are the Kikuyu and the Luo, is also a reality. That said, politically it is one country, as is the United States of America. In the US, there are many ethnic groups, and these groups are also special interest groups, some more powerful than others: Latinos, Blacks, Jews, Cubans, WASPS...The leadership, however, is, for better or for worse, the american leadership. It goes without saying, that that leadership is dominated by white males and predominantly protestants. However, when George W Bush was elected in dubious circumstances, it wasn't a case of the white anglo-saxon protestant community oppressing other communities. If oppression of certain communities exists, and it certainly does, it is not done so by the dominant community but by the power in place. If whites in the US are generally treated better by the power, that does not mean, that whites are all out to downtread members of other groups. In fact, I would say, that on different levels, it is all the american people (and citizens of the world!) who are oppressed by the power. Through poverty, repressive laws, propaganda lies and more, the leadership keeps the population under control. It seems, to me, admittedly an outsider (just as much to the US as to Kenya), that in Kenya it is also the power in place which is oppressing the people of Kenya. If it is true, and it is, that the kenyan leadership is dominated by Kikuyus, that should not be understood to mean, that Kikuyus all have their boots on the heads or chests of Luos, Masais, Samburus or others (for yes, if we were to believe our media, only the Kikuyus and Luos count in this dispute). The question of independence for ethnic groups in countries such as Kenya or in the case of the Kurds of Irak is of course a complicated one. It is far from being a black&white one. Should countries break up or should unity be maintained? I believe the very least is to give real autonomy to ethnic groups, where they are effectively living apart from other groups and where their culture and way of life is endangered by more dominant groups. However, if the people of a given country, despite their ethnic affiliations, claim to be nationals of the country, then they should treat the leadership as a national leadership, and it's oppressive power to be directed at all citizens. If Kibaki and his accolytes are holding on to power through electoral fraud, they are not doing so on behalf of Kikuyus, just as Bush's interests are not that whites should dominate american life.
These are my thoughts of the moment, and nothing more. As usual open to discussion.