Category Archives: Politics

The Kenyan Conundrum

In an attempt to explain the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Erwin Schrödinger, in 1935 proposed an experiment where a cat is placed in a box with a sealed can of poison that will break open at a random time. Since no one knows when the can of poison will break open, the cat at all points in time can either be considered to be both dead and alive. It’s only by opening the box that one can tell the cats status.

1935 and 2013 have something common, I’ll make that clear in just a bit. Let’s talk about 2013 for now.Glorious 2013.The year 2013 which goes down in history as the year Kenyans took to the polls and elected a new president, chose an entirely new system of government through an entirely new system of voting, with an entirely new commission in charge of the whole process. So if you witnessed this whole phenomenon be thankful, someone somewhere sometime in the future will read about it and wonder what it was like. Judging by the discourse held in most social gatherings most Kenyans are still reeling from the results of the recently concluded elections. Be it through a joke, a fact, a jibe, an allegation, a remark you name it, the subject happens to somehow surface, wherever you are. And as we continue to bask in the euphoria of peaceful elections, soar on wings of dreams fulfilled, trample on dreams shattered, as we pump up our chests and bark at any foreign media house that dares cross that red line. The world  continues spinning beneath our very feet.Life goes on all around us and in one way or another we return to the very state of mind we left.Reality.

Plato once said that “Democracy… is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike”. But on the onslaught of rising insecurity, increased unemployment rates, rampant spread of HIV/AIDS and strained foreign relations. It seems the second most important thing next to Atwoli’s ultra ego is the welfare of Kenyans. I don’t know what’s more irksome the fact that MP’s believe that they are actually justified in demanding for increased pay or that the police just stood by cuddling their guns and rungus as Atwoli’s zombie army mercilessly flogged Boniface Mwangi. At this rate if “the main aim” of democracy is to equalize the unequal say bye bye to “the main aim” and hi to “the exact opposite”.  So from my heart to yours…

Dear Politician,

  “In whatever truth you hold right and in whatever esteem you hold your thoughts kindly remember they come second. It is your earnest duty as a leader to put the welfare of those who you serve above anything and everything else. Just thought I should remind you. ”

Yours sincerely, the conscience you seemed to have lost.

With the crimes against humanity charges facing the President and Vice President in the ICC. There’s a lot of speculation going around about who is right and who is wrong, what is true and what is false, who did this and who did that. But if history has taught us anything at all, it’s that we can never actually predict the outcome and repercussions of events, each individual is part of a bigger picture.<< Pause>>. The bigger picture here being; The millions of Kenyans who are struggling to make a living. The mothers who go hungry so that their children can eat .The fathers who work incessantly hard in order to put food on the table. The students scouring  over books day and night in an attempt to make better a future that is hitherto capricious. There’s people crying on the sunniest of days, people constantly scratching to make a living, people looking for a way to make things better, people searching for a way out. These are the people that matter; these are the people that count. These are the people whose welfare must be put first, people who the system should work for not against. As a country we’re walking on a very tight rope any wrong decision, any miscalculated action can render a tragic end. And if you thought Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace was bad you haven’t met this one.

Schrödinger’s experiment is a thought experiment which tends to provoke the mind, awaken the sleeping logic and trivialize that which you think you are sure of. This is where 1935 and 2013 meet at the point where logic meets reality. Here we are; a new breed of leaders and hopefully a new school of thought, things can either go really well or really sour. For we know not what the future holds and in this case the box is still shut. Until the box is open at which point time will tell, then shall we be sure. Whether we are dead or weather we are alive or whether we are dead and alive we…we…can never be too sure of anything really. To all you pessimists I say hope, to all you optimists I say think twice. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the Kenyan Conundrum.

Time alone  oh, time will tell:
Think you’re in heaven, but ya living in hell;

hanging-out-on-brooklyn-bridge-cables-black-and-white-old-vintage 1914  Eugene de Salignac

  • Talib Kweli & Novel – I am
  • Bob Marley – Time will tell

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Economy? Ideas ? Politics ?..Technology!!

“Power is in the hands not of the minority but of the whole people.When it is a question of settling private disputes,everyone is equal before the law; when it is  a question of putting one person before another in positions of public responsibility,what counts is not the membership of a particular class,but the actual ability which the man possesses.No one so long as he has it in him to be of service to the state,should be kept in political obscurity because of poverty………..” Pericles view on democracy

“When your spirit is strained and you limited to change
The lyrics in your limericks will change
A different hook, the way the sentences arranged
More demented in your deliverance, more sinister in your slang..”

Capturing Wisdom:

The Question :“Are Political structure and Ideological developments Independent of Economic changes?”

Early historians believed that history was primarily influenced by spiritual and intellectual changes.This idea progressively changed as historians in the early 20th century put materialist and economic explanations at the centre of historical change.The logic of industrial capitalism was and is still the dominant force explaining major changes in human affairs.This however, does not mean that political changes depend solely on economic developments.A more pertinent example being the Mau Mau movement in
Kenya which was in essence a social/political movement that advocated for and in the offing prompted  major economic changes in the then colony.

Even in feudal societies ,political/ideological changes affected the entire population ranging from the aristocrats to the peasants a clear indication that changes such as these were not based on economic status rather were based on ideas and constructs whose time had either come or whose time was long gone .It is important to note that historical development is determined by an interaction of forces:economic changes,ideological developments and mechanisms of state. Therefore economic,political and ideological factors are in themselves inalienable and synchronously serve to bring about historical changes that have shaped the world as it is today.

So where does technology come in? Fast forward to today and by today I mean this hour,this minute and this very second and I set aside economic,political or even ideological developments for something greater,something urgent ,something more “sophisticated”… Technology.Technology which in itself is a historical change chronicled by the gradual and painful shift from manual to automated systems in the world over.Take for instance the internet and the revolutionary aspects that have accompanied it such as social networking,in this day and age the internet offers governments unprecedented access to information about us, and a level of control previous generations of politicians could only dream about (“The Kernel”).In the most basic yet most  pre-eminent of ways the internet has led to the complete erasure of geographical boundaries which until recently were a major limitation to communication in terms of urgency,speed and even cost.

The Cold war was chiefly  ideological “Yesterdays communism without freedom,Today’s capitalism without justice” that was then today’s wars are Cyber wars.Industrial espionage is carried out by intelligent programs and  neatly designed algorithms are just about all that is needed to bring down nuclear reactants.Safe to say that in technology, confrontations between the east and west have found a “peaceful” outlet an outlet which has not yet struck fear into the heart of the world.An outlet that may seem subtle at this point but may prove terribly destructive in years to come.

Could it be that we are part of a crucial time in history? A time in which technology plays a central role in the life of man ? A time in which man dethroned man in favour of machine ? Could it be that future generations will study our ways and the decisions we made ? And whether these decisions led to our prosperity or our ultimate ruin?

As a coder I often wonder whether futuristic ages will look at software developed during my era as simple,too basic and in the worst case utterly and completely rudimentary , and the answer is yes they probably will.That  generations to come will be by far more sophisticated than we are , the answer is yes ,they will.That our activities today will be the history that they study and that our mistakes they may learn from,yes that will happen.That they will laugh at the sheer absurdity of some of the ways in which we handled our business , the answer is yes , that they will.Yet in all this we should find repose in what we have done and the accomplishments we have made,the foundations we have laid and the strides we have unwittingly managed to take.

Are Political structure and Ideological developments Independent of Economic changes?” to this I say yes and no ,maybe or maybe not.Then again maybe the question I should be  asking is “Are Political structure, Ideological developments and Economic changes Independent of Technological Changes?”  to this I say no , not at all. Political structure, Ideological developments and Economic changes  are entirely dependent on Technological changes.That very statement is applicable to today and the events that have made today as it is, that statement marks  the point where history changes,that very statement marks the point where  history is made.

“But you gotta understand our differences is the same
What starts in clouded minds, finishes in the rain
Of the fools that are used that’s instruments in the game
Where oppression is the queen and ignorance is the king
Where revolution is dead…”

Freedom Bus – UrbanArt

“And you’ve got to  respect the position in which you playing.Never let your heart reflect the conditions in which you staying.Even if it’s dark, and the temperature is the same..”

T.C

People Ruled Over Others

Lyrics Used :

“Ranging from  colonial times where people respected skin color more than they did  themselves to present days where people put stature before character and mind over matter this is why people ruled over others and continue to do so…

Redemption Song.. Image courtesy of Bob Marley Page Facebook

People ruled over others not because they were big and strong but because they had  guns .The guns were magic and their purpose was tragic but they had never been seen so the guns stunned the people even as they lay their silent in the arms of a foreign man. Although the oppressed towered over their oppressors such that they cast shadows on their languid bodies,the guns seemed louder than the people ever could be and so the guns spoke on their masters behalf and the people understood this language.They understood this language of violence and dictatorial directives.They understood this language that seemed better and stronger than the sum of their individual will and ambitions.They understood this language of actions and not words.They understood this language that preached superiority to one party and domination to another.They understood that they had no guns therefore they had no say.They understood that despite the culture and traditional values that they so desperately tried to uphold,that which came with the gun was better just like the gun itself.

People ruled over others not because they were worthy to rule over them but because they were “worthy” to own them.They were wealthy enough to buy the land upon which they lived and wealthy enough to harvest the grain that their sweat had planted.With their big cars,their big houses and most importantly their big stomachs,people felt inferior to these men of big things.Men who promised and promised and promised and who ate what they promised only with their family and friends but never with the people whom they had promised.

People ruled over others not because their character and their ways were the ways of God but because they themselves claimed they were from God .With their humongous bibles and fire at the tip of their tongues they cast away demons,they healed those who were ‘sick’ and collected money from the poor.They proclaimed that this money was not theirs but belonged to God (because God’s services were not free and the people had to pay through their nose for this so called redemption that they terribly needed).These ‘holy’ men of whom  it was said that they died not but were taken up to heaven in golden chariots,these men who wore golden robes that ‘symbolised the glory of the kingdom of God’,these men who claimed to have a direct line to The Father…these men who sanctimoniously ordained themselves rulers of both physical and spiritual worlds.At times the people argued amongst themselves but they never argued with these men of God whose injustices were justifiable, these men who when angered spoke in tongues and when given the chance spoke nonsense in tonnes.

People ruled over others not because they were wise but because they were educated,they claimed that they had gone to school so they had been taught and now they knew what others had no clue about.They knew it all , so with their degrees in their briefcases and their briefcases in hand they strutted the corridors and paraded the streets.Speaking of an ignorance from which they had come and an ignorance to which they would never return.The people listened to them and the ‘colossal’ words they used , and although they did not know what they meant they knew that what they had in their heads was peanuts and these educated men were gods of the understanding realm.They felt that they should never disagree with men so endowed with knowledge so they let them rule,they let them ask questions,they let them answer the questions they asked and they entrusted them with the power to make decisions on their behalf. After all they were brighter than they and all they longed for was a brighter day.

Still,People rule over others,not because they deserve to but because they posses superior qualities;a strange machine, a family name, a  form of currency ,a speck of diamond or in the least a supposed aura and an imagined halo..but others change and when others change the “People who rule over others” follow through.

“You see men sailing on their ego trip,
Blast off on their spaceship,
Million miles from reality:
No care for you, no care for me…'”

…… and the story goes..”eventually  People will rule over others not because they earn enough to but because they have earned the right to..” .Until then our hands were made strong by the hands of the almighty so we forward in this generation  triumphantly.

Image courtesy Bob Marley Page Facebook

 

“So you think you’ve found the solution,
But it’s just another illusion!
So before you check out this tide,
Don’t leave another cornerstone
Standing there behind,..”

*Part of my inspiration for this post was the story “The Headstrong Historian” by Chimamanda Ngozi  Adichie taken from the book The Thing Around Your Neck.

🙂

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery for none but ourselves can free our minds have no fear for atomic energy coz none of them can stop the time..”  *Redemption Song*