Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Letter from a Rational Kenyan Ediot in the Diaspora

My fingers are itching; my brain is in full gear drive ready to engage on this debate, my heart is fast beating as it is full of emotion to a point I have to indulge my intelligent compartment of my medulla oblongata, but I can’t help but smile. Ooooh I thought reading Bikozulu’s “A letter to Kenyans Abroad” http://bikozulu.co.ke/ was an intrigue in itself as this really put me in a point of reflection (having been away from Kenya, my country of birth and my motherland (for exactly 11 months this day). To my pitiful self after hours of trying to digest this piece I wake up (two hours after my fellow “Kenyans” have already ventured out and are searching for their daily bread) this time to a response to Bikozulu’s letter “A letter from a Kenyan Abroad” by one Mkawasi Mcharo http://www.vibeweekly.com/index.php/11-features/54-diaspora-kenyan-responds-to-biko-zulu.html#. This one is written from I guess a naturalized Kenyan living in the states and intended to leave no stone turned with her already well-choreographed and I can tell rehearsed defense presented to whoever cares arms akimbo. Now you can imagine what I am experiencing at the moment. If only by organs could speak for themselves,mmmmh, my toes would have written this on behalf of my fingers. But wait a minute I had to prepare a Kenyan dish to set myself in the right state mentally and off course physically to air my two-cents piece of mind.


The dish that has always saved me from succumbing to obesity as a result of MacDonald, KFC, Maryland and the likes

First things first, when I set up this blog two days ago I had intended to use it as a platform to share my experiences, stories and inspirations based on my new found formula “EDIOT” you can read the piece here http://anoptimistmind-ediot.blogspot.co.uk/. However I had created a page “Gadget” with the title “An Idiot Abroad” just for the fun of it. But now here comes an opportunity to share my thoughts on this particular issue I had intended to address. What an opportune time, yes go ahead and call me an opportunist, that’s exactly what defines me (Read EDIOT). I have decided to express my thoughts on this and I bear all the risk of being called names, feel free to add this list; naive, egoist, maggot, traitor, inexperienced, Idiot, nincompoop, terrorist ……………………use the space provided bellow for more comments.  

Don't allow your tongue/fingers be too fast but allow your brain to think before you show the world how inept you can be

Judging  from the publicity, rants and reaction this two articles have attracted on social media to either revert, comment, retaliate or even share the two articles I can categorically tell that Bikozulu and Mkawasi Mcharo have won supporters and enemies alike (talk of “fahari wawili wakipigana……..I wonder nani ataumia”). I can only imagine what they are actually concerned about having seen how this has now culminated to. I guess Bikozulu is now smiling all the way to the bank as his earnings triple and traffic and popularity quadruple whilst Mkwasi Mcharo (note there is no English name here, I wonder what happened to it)   is now contemplating taking up writing as a career to increase income either to wire “home” or pay for the next ticket back “home”. Too much of the side-line show now let’s delve into the issues raised here. I am  warning  you in advance that this letter is an idiotic (or is it idiom) expressions from a concerned Kenyan in the diaspora.

The two things that remind me am Kenyan despite my surrounding. 
BikoZulu’s article is based on a typical innocent Kenyan (might have been imagined)  based in Dublin who’s been away from Kenya for over 11 years, mmmmmh I pity the poor fellow because if he only knew he was to become the subject of ridicule, malice and public outcry he would have shut up and minded his own business(Just like the British always do). This article is more or less describing a typical Kenyan who went abroad to seek greener pastures not knowing the Promised Land was not as beautiful or promising as he had dreamed and heard about. Now he can’t even go back to his ancestral land to bury the very people who contributed their hard earned money to pay for his plane ticket, how ironical is this. I bet from the foreign currency he remits back home his folks believe he already runs successful money minting business that will never run dry. No wonder they keep on calling for more money every now and then while the poor fellow works up to three menial jobs to protect his reputation. Seriously is this worth it? I bet Mkwasi Mcharo will say as long as it pays the bills its fine whilst others will typical frown at the poor fellow like if they will pay for his up keep, OK! I will leave you to be judge . But frankly I call this being an “idiot”, yes I said it for those who doubt me check the “Oxford dictionary.”


To a native or typical British or American this is what a Kenyan looks like the rest are Africans 
Having said that I will admit that BikoZulu is speaking from a myopic perspective in that addressing this letter to all Kenyans abroad curtailed his ability to critically analyse and reflect something like wearing the shoes of a Kenyan living abroad (though this would have meant more time while he might have had a deadline to publish and bill to pay). I tend to believe there are genuine Kenyans who live abroad and never ever espouse these characteristics described here such as the accent, the drinking habits, the nativity, the homage territory etc. On the other side of the coin a Kenyan who has been in the diaspora for over 5 years and still rants about Kenya should have no other title but an “Idiot”. I mean Kenya has been active socially, economically, politically for 50 years three quarter of which were under an “inept goon” who fought any sort of justified development while the US has over 237 years of independence (From Britain which is over 1,000 years old). I mean what child would claim to be older than the parents just because they got married and enjoyed the forbidden fruit? Isn't that an Idiot?

The west (diaspora) is like an already blossoming flower beautiful to the eye but with lots of insects inside while Kenya (and indeed Africa) is a budding flower that is yet to flip its petals for the world to see its beauty. 
Now moving on swiftly to the response by Mkawasi Mcharo (I have to admit this is a lady with balls, sorry for my language). A typical British and I bet American lady who wastes no time in saying her mind. I mean I have seen arguments between a woman and man that go way past a football match time, with both extra time and post-match penalties added plus a rematch just because the woman wanted to have the last say in a concerted  effort to say her mind( am not a chauvinist) but still find this intolerable.  The fact that Mkawasi drafted what she calls “ten commandments” in response to a myopic article shows that she herself still wallows in the shadows of a “typical Kenyan” despite having been exposed to civilization. I am firm believer in the freedom of speech and expression of individual opinions but honestly if your opinions infringe on others rights to happiness and what you have to say is itself a concerted effort and driven by the urge to react rather than inform that in my opinion is an admission of guilt.

You don't have to admit being guilty but as long as it is written all over your face you will not hide it.
What I find amazingly surprising is the similarities between this two letters to each other. First, the letters seem to originate from two jilted lovers who seem engrossed in vengeance after being rejected by the other. I mean when you have put lots of energy to try and woe the opposite sex to no avail just as the flash of lightning your love turns to hate, that’s what’s up. Secondly these two letters expose the deep rooted tribalism in us Kenyans, only that this is between two tribes Kenyans in Kenya v Kenyans abroad, always blaming each other for their tribe’s failures. Thirdly, they have disentangled from the real issues facing Kenyans whether at "home" or "diaspora" and decided to base their arguments on hindsight. What exactly drives Kenyans to go abroad? Is it poverty, nepotism, bureaucracy, nativity etc.? What makes Kenyans abroad demean their motherland? Is it self-pity, escapist mentality, genuine urge for change, intolerance or what? Tell us? Finally both articles have adopted the perspective of generalization placing both the ripe and rotting oranges in the same basket. Is it only Kenya who work as cleaners, wash grannies, send money home or is it the black people, all Africans? How many Kenyans back home would sell their grandmother so as to jump into the ship “abroad”? 

Considering this is Bikozulu and Mkawasi Mcharo (representing voices of Kenyans in Kenya and Kenyans in the Diaspora) What are the real Issues? (Don't be numb lets discuss).
I suggest before anyone hides behind the screen and show the rest of the world their mind’s ineptitude ability lets ENGAGE as civilized race, Lets DETERMINE the real ISSUES and stop OPPRESSING each other, lets practice tolerance with one another and work as a TEAM to build our country either by staying home and working or by sending the much needed foreign currency to fuel our economy, I mean lets be EDIOTs. 

I love this formula it seems to work in all circumstances


Now I need to be informed (which I know some people are willing to give for free)
  1. What do you call a Kenya who lives abroad and will do anything to the extent of destroying their birth mark and mud-sling their fellow countrymen just to get the foreign papers?
  2. What do you call a Kenyan chasing after a woman 20 years their senior, masquerading as the perfect gentleman while they have a wife and kids back home, just to get the papers?
  3. What do you call a Kenyan who will sell his/her property or their parent's just to fly to the states leaving their families to depend on their monthly remittances.
  4. What do you call a Kenyan living abroad while his only unaccomplished  dream is to go back to Kenya but doesn't have the balls to do so because after years of handwork and suffering there is nothing to write home about?
  5.  What do you call a Kenyan who happily pays the taxes abroad but while in Kenya they will complain of the poor roads and services and they never contribute a penny?
However having said that I will conclude with is are you a Kenyan living Kenya planning to do abroad or are you a Kenyan living in the diaspora and planning to go home? I know they say “The means justifies the end” or “The end justifies the Means” but before you board your next flight to your destiny make sure you ENGAGE your mind, to recreate your DESTINY, draw from your INSPIRATION and jump for the available OPPORTUNITIES and never look back despite the challenges always be TENACIOUS in whatever you seek and you will one day find.


Peace, thank you for reading and I appreciate your comments. 

© William Murithi 2013

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