I am supposed to be going to juvenile prison in a few hours time. However, I feel like there is a heavy weight on my shoulder. It is like the whole world is squarely resting on my weary shoulders. I don’t think I have the energy anymore. I am weary, wounded, surrendering, losing faith and hope. The Gunners have been winning games of late, both in England and in Europe. That translates to millions of soccer fans being happy. Arsenal is winning but why are we still sad?
Because of the toxic and poisonous vibes arising from our politics right now, I feel sad. As a result, I don’t have good news to the boys Lifesong Kenya seeks to empower. There are far too many of them waiting to hear reports from their parents, siblings and the people they have wronged through crimes. While most of them will be happy that Arsenal is finally on a winning streak, hearing the ongoing toxic and poisonous politics will make them feel sad.
Arsenal is winning but why are we still sad
This kind of toxic and poisonous political temperature reminds me of the 2007 post election violence. I remember witnessing what was going on and all of a sudden, James Blunt’s ‘No Bravery’ resonated with what I was feeling at the time. Strangely enough, the song has more meaning right now, more than it did 10 years ago. Here are the lyrics to the song…
Arms outstretched and to the sky
Tears drying on their face
He has been here
Fathers lost without a trace
A nation blind to their disgrace
Since he’s been here
In your eyes anymore only sadness
And I see no bravery
In your eyes anymore only sadness
Public outbursts, chest thumping and negative ethnicity
Babu Owino may be free on bond. But does it mean he is ‘free at last’ in other people’s minds and hearts? What about other politicians who have been spewing hate as they keep campaigning for their preferred presidential candidate? How will they feel when they hear that lawmakers have been calling and encouraging willing men to rape women who support other politicians? What about the University of Nairobi students who were being mercilessly clobbered?
All these questions, and many others keep playing in my mind. Worst of all, I am not able to fall asleep. I fear for our country, its people and future. The boys we mentor usually expect us to come bearing good news of what is happening out here. They expect to hear that Kenya has finally got its act together and we are finally pulling in one direction towards becoming the greatest nation on earth, if not Africa. Instead, they will be seeing no bravery in my eyes.
I may not tell them that the political powers are pulling the country apart. But how long is this going to last before they can tell the truth for themselves? How long will I hold it within myself before all the sadness spews out like a flood? Will I finally find the courage to share my deepest fears with them concerning Kenya’s chances of becoming a better country before they get out of prison?
No bravery, only sadness
Yet the boys in juvenile prison always expects us to share what is going on in our country. They always ask what is happening so they can have hope for a better future, for themselves and their families. But I don’t watch news anymore. Watching news breaks my heart into pieces. Watching and hearing leaders spew hatred and the police beat up hapless Kenyans makes me shudder in fear.
I don’t know about you. But I don’t think I need the analytical nous of the so-called experts to tell me how deeply we have sunk as a nation. But I’ll tell you this: if we don’t take steps to redress the situation, James Blunt’s ‘No Bravery’ will stop being just a song. It will become a reality we will have to deal with. Trust me, it isn’t an experience I would recommend, but hey, take a listen…