Proof: Colonial is a 4-letter word

My last post prompted some heated responses. When I tried to reply my antivirus kept alerting me that the page I was trying to access was Forbidden. Proof, then, that Colonial is a four letter word as far as Kaspersky – amongst others- is concerned.

As my grandmother always said, politics and religion never were dinner table talk. Cyber sphere at least affords a modicum of anonymity. I’d add choice of children’s education to the list given the number of arguments I’ve ended up in about same.

So – some responses here instead in the hope I slip Kaspersky’s net:

 Random African – no, of course buffers weren’t a good idea. I merely presented the thought by way of demonstrating that though Europeans have been accused of carving up Africa indiscriminately, without heeding tribal boundaries, they were aware of them. And yes, I still think tribal ethnicity is exacerbating the turmoil. But I also agree with the argument proffered by an interviewee on the BBC: that the wananchi are pitched against the wabenzi: that they are tired of watching the Have’s enjoy whilst they have not.

Ian, thank you for reading. If 40 years isn’t enough time to recover from political and social upheaval, was the fifty odd years of colonial administration enough time to fundamentally change a culture? And I agree: the Kenyans have done  a great job: I just think they’ve been let down by politics.

Which brings me back to New Year Resolutions: it occurs to me I ought to heed my grandmother’s words and decline from discussing politics around the virtual tables of blogsphere.

My thoughts are with the people of Kenya. Because I was born there. Because my father was born there. Because it will always be Home. Because her people deserve to have a voice and have an ear. Because no matter what has precipated the hateful situation they find themselves in now, they deserve much better than this.


10 Responses to “Proof: Colonial is a 4-letter word”

  1. Iota Says:

    Please don’t stop discussing politics. I feel I learn so much first hand from your posts, and I am otherwise very ignorant of African life, history and government – it’s rarely in the news unless there’s a crisis. I think a little healthy debate in the comments box is fine, so long as it isn’t unpleasant, and you always have a right of reply in your next post.

    I rather like the fact that you posted a couple of days ago about treading on a puff adder. It could have been a metaphor for posting on Kenyan politics. The puff adder slid away, no harm done. Is there a blogging equivalent of wellies?

  2. Iota Says:

    Did your grandmother have any words of wisdom on not shouting at children?

  3. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thank you Iota. Yes, blogging equivalent to wellies might be useful. I am still tiptoeing about carefulling watching my step – in the real world at least, even if I do tend to blunder about in blogsphere. No, Gran didn’t have any tips re shouting at kids. And when she felt like revveing up dinner table conversation, she frequently forgot her own rules. Which – of course – always improved the content of table talk.

  4. Primal Sneeze Says:

    Yes, blogging equivalent to wellies might be useful. I am still tiptoeing about carefully watching my step

    Always bear in mind, Mem, that this blog is yours. This where you can say what you think unlike when you are paid to write by some publication.

    It is your home and we commenters are guests.

    Debate is healthy. Encourage it. Just don’t ever apologise for what you say in your own home. Tiptoeing is for when you go visiting.

  5. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thanks PS. Of course you’re quite right. I shall remember that and put my wellies away. Except when I go visiting, of course! Or walking on the dam. All best for 2008

  6. R. Sherman Says:

    I concur with the others re: writing about things which inspire you, politics included. Frankly, those of us in middle America don’t hear enough about what’s going on in Africa.


  7. Random African Says:

    It’s really history, not politics..

    But well, yeah, Colonial Administrations varied a lot. Some ignored potential conflicts, some exacebated them, some just used it, some created a mess, some try to repress them. That everybody knows.
    However, still responding to your original question. Just think about the effect buffer zones had. And if you want to go deeper and guess where the clichés on theGiKuyu come from ?

    I still don’t see why you think the post-elections violence has ethnic roots. Do you have evidence that it’s only Luos and Gikuyus fighting ? Does that correlate with the votes (both candidates got more vote than just in their ethnic group) ? What about the killings in Eldoret ?

    I’m not saying there’s no ethnic tensions in Kenya, it just makes no sense to blame this one on them (or on the colonials or on the CIA or on Somalia). And it certainly makes no sense to bring in the myth of benevolent settlers who ruled Kenya fairly and without cheating, stealing and killing.

  8. Kathleen Says:

    I’ve seen a few blogs delete posts because someone objected to the content. As far as I’m concerned if someone doesn’t like the post then they can move on. Blogs are a medium to express yourself. You are in a unique position to be able to comment on African politics and conditions. This blog is your HOME. Feel free to express yourself. There are too many people out there following the politically correct road. If someone doesn’t like your comments then that is their problem. I don’t always agree with everyone’s blogs but I dont’ think its any of my business to correct them. Anyways, a little bit of controversy is good for the soul, thats a quote from my grandmother.

  9. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thanks Mr Sherman. Geography is a huge divide vis a vis press reports. Kenya’s story is growing in profile, her position is of huge importance stragetically and economically for the UK and US. And sadly her crisis deepening.

    Thank you Kathleen. And I like your gran’s take on controversy. My gran only pretended to adhere to her own no politics, no religion rule; she was the most controversial woman I was ever lucky enough to know. And she hated snobs. That was her best rule!

    Random African. Thank you for continuing to read and add interesting comment – I am assuming you are a Kenyan – which makes your responses pertinent and timely. Yes, I am afraid I still believe the violence is essentially ethnic. And no, it’s not just Luos and Kikuyu; I have a friend and journalist in Nakuru who tells me that the Rift around lake Elementaita is filling with Kikuyu who have fled their homes on the Mau on account of raids by Kalenjin. I think that the tribal divides between Luo and Kikuyu have exacerbated other tribal divisions. And I think the intensity of violence is exacerbated because ALL Kenyan’s feel they have been cheated; either because those who voted for PNU feel their vote is being negated or because those who voted for ODM feel theirs wasn’t counted. And I think the poor masses are sick and tired of the corruption that robs them. But yes, I believe tribal tensions, are at the root of this.

  10. Gillian Says:

    Thanks Mem, I’m enjoying the exchanges here. Your blog is rounding out nicely. Keep at it! A bit of turbulence is to be expected here and there along the way.

    It would be a bit strange (and sad) if your blog ignored the biggest thing happening in your corner of the world right now.

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