Sometimes I wish the characters I create could leap out of my mind and walk the earth. These men and women would be the answer to all of my immediate problems. [Husband-pap! Hehe] I think that is the joy of being any sort of Creative; having that ability to thrust your hand into the dark void of the mind and like clay mold something wonderful out of that nothingness. That wonderful way in which one can build perfect, alternative worlds whose only flaws would be being too good to be true.
Politics. Ah, the dirty, dirty game. [He hexes, smelling, dirty socks] I haven’t written a story about a politician…yet. And trust me it is not due to lack of inspiration! It’s just that it’s the wrong kind. I was at the National Museum the other day and as I walked though the ‘History of Kenya’ room with a knowledgeable friend I felt such a huge sense of betrayal. A heavy blanket of sadness descended on me as I mingled with the curious parents herding their children from one display stand to the next.
The expansive room is filled with every sort of memorabilia from the periods before and after independence. They even have a copy of the controversial land treaty signed between the Maasai and the British; complete with the unsuspecting chiefs finger prints! Pictures, medals, clothes, letters, newspaper clippings, show reels everything you could think of right down to the inventive home-made guns used by the Mau Mau warriors.
It provides a pretty accurate chronicle of how far the country has come; from a fertile ‘wasteland’ to a British protectorate, a colony and finally an independent republic. What gets my goat [funny expression this] is the current bleak state of affairs. What lies ahead of this nation that started with such promise, vigor and pride?
Truthfully, I take issue with A LOT of the things that came about as a result of colonization [the act in itself is deplorable]. But with all due respect [and realism] we must look at where Kenya presently stands and what ‘tools’ we got handed down to us. The Kenya of 2011 is a nation divided; both unfamiliar and afraid of true Democracy.
Why else would we jeer the idea of trying suspected perpetrators of crimes against our fellow countrymen at The Hague when we know that Kenyan courts are hard pressed to uphold justice? How are we ok with having politicians who earn bloated salaries while our brothers and sisters live way below the poverty line? Last I checked ‘Democracy’ meant ‘People Power.’
I take great issue with people who shoot down ideas because they feel that these ideas are ‘too hard’, ‘too foreign’, ‘too so-not-Kenyan’ [ok, we’ll just let that one slide…] For instance ‘Feb28’, the day a group of passionate activists urged the nation to sing the National Anthem as one on the anniversary of the day our leaders signed the peace treaty to end the post-election violence. Why would we be against an idea that was meant to foster unity and national pride?
But for me, that is not the problem. Sure, our mentality needs a major upgrade, but what we need even more is a true leader. [Cue the wistful thoughts that started this post.] I know, I know. Power is maddening. May be if I was President for a day I would probably be just as overwhelmed by my title, ordering truckloads of mabuyus to State House and such! [Ha!]
There is a beautiful [or terrifying, you decide] Jewish mythology that tells the story of a ‘golem’ a humanoid made by man from clay and water with incantations and spells that could be summoned in times of great need [think a cooler version of Frankenstein’s monster] Although it is said that the golem turned against the people, let’s focus on the oh la la-ness of it all.
What if I could write my Kenyan politician to life?
We all want to rally around a central figure; a leader who is wise, brave, just and kind. A HUMAN BEING! Someone who is not blind to pain, anguish and more importantly, hope. With a heart that beats in his/her chest, fluttering with fear and faith just like mine. I want a leader who dreams and makes me dream too, someone who urges me to hold on to my dreams and makes haste to bring them to life. I want a leader who will restore the dignity of my people.
I want a leader who will put the interests of ALL Kenyans before his/her own. Because looking around at the old crop of devious and selfish leaders I shudder to think how the 2012 elections will turn out. But I pray that we will not descend into violence and that my ‘golem’, my ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ [all very good, very cool versions hehe] actually exists and will emerge just in time, à la Obama.