Monday, 26 November 2012

Do more...Be more

'Be The Change'... an old cliche that carries a world of truth.
Sunday mornings are surreal. The reality of the new week is just beginning to hit you as you try to hold onto the remnants of the weekend. Sunday mornings are the moments when the weekend’s escapades stop feeling as glorious when you tip out your wallet to see what’s left of your last pay check. For some, Sunday mornings are their only chance to reconnect with family, pets and well...God. For Kenyans, Sunday mornings are the times we wait for that Breaking-News update or that lunch-time bulletin informing us of the latest blast or hopefully, reassuring us that there was none.

You probably think that is a gross exaggeration. I mean, it’s not as if there’s a blast EVERY other Sunday... and no, we don’t wait for it with baited breath. But think about it carefully... When was the last time you were genuinely shocked at the news of such a tragedy? I am willing to bet that it’s been a while. We have grown used to the feeling of helplessness when we hear news of 2, 3, or 10 more lives lost. It no longer fazes us. And we have every right to give in to the hopelessness. We have nowhere to look for help, if the killing of 42 policemen in Baragoi is anything to go by. Our security forces are incapable of protecting us. What’s even worse is the fact that at the slightest provocation, they are willing to turn against us. Look at what happened to the poor residents of Garissa after 3 soldiers were killed by suspected Al-Shabab.

Last Sunday it dawned upon me that every time I think about Kenya... every time I REALLY think about Kenya, it saddens me. It saddens and angers most of us... and in our desperation we resort to desperate measures. Like making angry xenophobic comments about communities that we have lived with for decades... communities that have as much right to be here as anyone else. I was so shocked to see the tribalism and ignorance on my twitter feed last Sunday. How can a supposedly educated person watch youths of a certain community getting battered for a crime no one has proof that they committed and tweet about how right that is? Even go on to add their two-cents worth of hate speech?

It’s sad that the state of our country has turned us into these people. I recently listened to Ingrid Michaelson’s “Keep Breathing” and thought that it ought to be our anthem, seeing as we have lost so much hope and all:

The storm is coming out but I don’t mind,

People are dying, I close my blinds,

All that I know I’m breathing now.

I want to change the world, instead I sleep.

I want to believe in more than you and me.

But all that I know is I’m breathing.

All I can do is keep breathing.

All we can do is keep breathing now...

I am tired of being this person...tired of sitting in the sidelines and watching as my country gets torn apart. I want to do more than just to keep breathing...and I will, in my own small way. By calling out anyone who spreads a lot of tribal BS; by refusing to listen to empty promises and lies from our politicians; by doing my part to build this nation; by making sure no one feeds ignorant tribal ideas in the minds of my younger siblings; by challenging my parent’s misconceptions; by making my vote my voice next year; by asking you to do your own small part.




Friday, 2 November 2012

Random Musings

 "Between writer's block; the distraction that is Twitter; and this guy who keeps brushing against my computer on his way past and disconnecting it, I feel as if the world has conspired to ensure I don't post this."

I suppose that the world had conspired against my post because I typed that sentence a week ago before proceeding to stare at a blank screen till now. But guess what, the Muse has smiled again.I woke up feeling young and carefree. Yes, it was a gloomy Friday morning and I still had a 2 hour long test to sit for, but life felt ultimately good. But no matter how good I feel, I will never be reduced to living by the motto YOLO. Same goes for declaring TGIF jubilantly on every other Friday. I will not be reduced to this state because I firmly believe that those two acronyms show just how far gone Generation Y is. Yes, you'll only live once. Big deal, so will everyone. The fact that its taken you 18,19,20 something years to realize this fact doesn't make it any less obvious. And as for TGIF, I settle my argument by quoting one Robin Wood:  "If it's Friday and you don't tweet "TGIF" is it still Friday?"

But not everything about being young and affected irks me. In fact, most of it intrigues me. It intrigues most of us. There seems to be a buzz about it in music, books, television, movies... I bet you all remember Jay Z's 'Forever Young'... ingenious, to not only live forever but to live forever young...

The there's The Band Perry's  'If I Die Young'. The ultimate paradox of immortality. Dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse. The thought makes me sigh whimsically. Don't get it twisted, I don't want to die young. That romantic idea is for people who live short, beautiful lives... like fireworks. They are beautiful; explosive; they stand out; but they burn out equally fast. Some of us, on the other hand, are like a slow fire. Slow, sure, constant and long lasting.

But the ultimate 'being young' song has got to be 'Here I am Alive' by Yellowcard. It wraps up what it means to be young and carefree. To make mistakes and forgive yourself easily. To fall and jump right back. To have the clarity to listen to your heart amidst all the distractions and noise.

I know that this has come off deep and philosophical. Yes, I can be that way sometimes...okay, most of the time. I blame this particular bout to a wonderful book that I just finished reading called 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky. And no, the book had nothing to do with building a case for loners like I did here. It was about, well...being young. All the aspects: love, friendship, loss, making mistakes and more importantly, saving up good memories for those bad days. I felt as if I had lived a thousand lifetimes just by reading about one year of Charlie's life. What stood out most was this quote:
“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” 

And I suppose that's what being young is REALLY about. If we can find such moments and live for them, we'll always be young. Like hell, we'll die young... and as impossible as it sounds, we'll live forever...young.

Have an awesome weekend and I hope you stumble upon such moments... and if you really have to chant YOLO, at least do it with a little class... In Latin perhaps... Carpe Diem would be a perfect alternative.