Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wangari Wa Maathai left us hope and a dream: "I will be a humming bird, I will do what I can!"

Wangari Maathai
This pic was taken from Fb from my sister´s site. 
Nightbird says that the world is still trying to do what Wangari wa Maathai did years ago. Kenya too. 
And she is still a beacon of hope!

The world is full of complications right now, 2014. Beheadings! Actually the face of Harvey shook me today! Kidnapped girls #BringOurGirlsback!, Imprisoned writers...voices shackled and hidden from sight so long, what happened to Swedish Isaak Dawit of Eritrea?

Rape by police. UN soldiers. War in South Sudan, CAR. Did I forget SYRIA up to now? And all that Middle East bombing and blasting recently? And all that, and all this Ukraine and Putin? And so much more!

So much so that Nightbird was dizzy looking left, right and centre continuously for three months. Yes, three. Wangari still inspires me. Read through to below and hear her recorded!

What do you say at home when things are so tough? I will try. You might say something more or just be silent. You go to your room, you think as you read or speak now and again with wiser folk when you can find them. One consults and wonders. 

I want to see the world from another point. In Kenya, our wildlife is getting abused largely in the killing of elephants for ivory. Yet we have many lessons to learn from nature. 

When I saw a lioness bringing up oryxes several times, I wished, how I wished our political leaders could learn. I saw Wangari in this lion. I saw good leaders or at least those who try to do their little thing as we say. I wrote a poem. It was about Namunyak as the lion that did this was named. It means the lucky one. 



                                                         NAMUNYAK OF THE MAASAI
            ©Philo Ikonya, This Bread of Peace, Lapwing UK, 2010

They called her Namunyak.
I would have called her Sankara,
Makeba, Wangarĩ or Ellena.
Me katilili or Nyanjirũ.
Who mothers Afrika?

In Namunyak is all these.
She is the mother lion,
hidden in Samburu Park,
in Kenya, under a bush
and sun bathing
her dusty golden coat.

They call her Namunyak, the lucky one.
She spreads peace to all, not greed.
Yes, Bahati, Bakhita, Mũnyaka.

Ma Lion what is your secret?
You feed and adopt six baby oryx,
six even times, quite odd.
You know the oryx are usually your food,
but you feed your victuals,
and not to make sumptious
a feast later.
You protect with all your strength.

Maybe you should claw us!
You are greater than
greedy presidents.
With the focus of a cat,
you feed and care for those,
outside your clan and plan,
tribe and specie,
the dearth of Somalia,
and the diamond sides of Congo.

In Kenya,
three presidencies you beat,
all of them fallen, on the sword
of tribal discrimination,
the rim of the nation weakening
till collapse.

You beat countries giving visas
with grudges, strings attached and
humiliation, I say often, of the poor people.

Would you redeem humanity?
One of their own,
is always, the rejected,
prophet,
rubbished,
and offered gall
for wine.

With love you are so powerful,
your neighbours they kill human Albinos
to get rich of a sudden on death!
Would you cut our own chains?
The misery we tie around our necks?

You come home to find,
Mzee Lion has eaten your oryx.
For one, you mourn and fume,
for long. You get five more
to no harm.

Have you seen how our fear has ‘children’ these days,
Fear with grandparents and roots?
Have you seen the fears of children today?
You sit there six times,
a puzzle, posing they think.

To your lesson,
We are here to give honour.
I dress you with a mane.
Incredible mother of beauty.
Karibu Mama.
Hakuna matata.

Come Japanese to see your Nisei,
San with Nikon,
snap, snap.

Another face of Africa.
Eyes open wide,
People of all races are back,
do they turn to make Africa?
Is pigmentation enough?
Come American Indians,
Australians.
Come all to take an image of harmony home.
Come they with verses spoken long ago.
But you just sit there Namunyak,
And I award you for feeding your food,
sensing life in disaster.

To peace and freedom.
You challenge we give to suckle.
Delicadamente
Dedicadamente
Na upendo wa amani,
Mkate huu wa amani na wa uhuru.
Feed, house,
Water,
Keep it,
Like in safe villages or,
cities,
in the jungle,

in your style.
  ©Philo Ikonya from second poetry anthology book
This Bread of Peace, Lapwing, UK, 2010

Remembering Wangari Maathai´s advice always helps Nightbird. Why forget her positive spirit. Kenya can still learn so much from her. 

The longings of a people captured in deeds is so impressive. The longings of a world captured in small actions too is amazing. 


Nightbird likes to remember Wangari Maathai of Kenya. Tomorrow is the third anniversary of her death on 25 Sept 2011. Many know her and of her already so let Nightbird speak with heart. And briefly. Nightbird met her in life.


                                       Kwa Mama Mpendwa, Wangari
To Beloved Mother

When I look back I can say you gave us a dream and for that I thank you. Let those who try to say they did not see what you gave begin to marvel. You made us dream and hope for a better country, Kenya. For a better world. You did. Have you seen how politics has divided people into hating ethnic enclaves in Kenya? Why is there so much insecurity there? Whey are people not equal before the law? Of course humans are and can be insecure anywhere but Kenya your nation could be much, much better. 

We fall into serious killer divisions so easily. In politics people often take sides, and that is fine. I do not know if you would at this point in time have taken sides, Kenya needs unity so much. So does much of the world. Look how some are merchandising death in terror!

What I know is that you did not let the temporal matters of choice and voice make you disregard anyone, not a people certainly. You knew these were temporal matters. Not that you often spoke of  eternal ones as divorced from a tree but you had enough wisdom to know that we cannot because of a current system dismiss and hate people. 

You saw people as central to life even if forests mattered so much to you. You addressed issues a practical way. You were candid. 

A system, a political office, power is often misused. A system or support may be  bought, but not people. You influenced us to remember that as part of dignity. You gave us a dream as a people.

I can still see this dream in the form of a tree. You gave us a dream in the form of a tree like all mothers do when they birth us, our roots is what concerned you. These days we are lost in tribal hate and the world is no better. Racism is rampant.

Wangari you so often shoed us how branches relate with the trunk and when speaking about leaves that fall you told me never to forget how important each one of them is, as important as the palm of our hands, all the veins there, and nerves! They are many!

So that Mother, it mattered how one looked at a person. That is how one natured a tree. How you hated betrayal! You told Kibaki he could not betray an MOU, that he could not say, you went into your Mother Tongue for that with me, "Thiga (A man) ni arua ( Is already circumcised) gutiri marara nja! (there are no celebrations)" 

You used this proverb as is commonly used in the Kikuyu language to mean that fair is fair. That I cannot ask you for help and promise something and then turn around after it is done and say no to our deal. 

You were disappointed that the MOU with Raila Odinga was not honored. How sad you would be now. The split caused by this in Kenya has perpetuated itself to this day. You coming from a totally different region did not think that people should be abused due to their customs or origin. You loved them as they were. You were not threatened by diversity. You may have had other weaknesses but NOT this one that is now strangling us!

It is terrible to hear how ethnic groups express their differences by showing dislike for the persons and not the issues involved. That is what the people inherited from others. I do hope that they will remember your dream and remove manifestations of hate for one another because politicians used them temporarily to achieve a selfish goal. 

No. I wish that politicians will stop this irresponsible behavior. That they honor your land with your ways. That the people learn , we learn from you. Look how stunted we are getting as a nation. This is not like your dream. No. It was bigger than that! You wanted more! And you said, we only had to do very little without fear of the big animals. Take our little drop of water to put off the fire. 
 Like this you put it... 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGMW6YWjMxw

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hunger knows no words, Act!

Samson Ojiayo looks on gladly as Mbugua Muriithi, lawyer greets Philo I
author, after 28 hours of detention and lost files for decampaigning
corruption. 2009, the question of famine in Kenya
Since time began for some of us Nightbird knows hunger has always been somewhere near. And famine stalks us.

Do you know what it feels not to know what to eat next? I have known hunger but not of so many days. So many that people become thirty years older if they are adults and children become brown haired adults with extended bellies when their hair was black before.

I have known hunger on my way to a library even after eating, hunger that would not let me read or think and that was just between hours. Hunger and thirst for days on end. Hunger and thirst, famine that recurs every few years, five and we are never ready for it in Kenya, hunger known for generations. Can you bear to look at this video?
                   http://www.nation.co.ke/video/-/1951480/2367158/-/fs9yw2/-/index.html


Shall they hunger and thirst always, then? Why? Who is not providing?

No questions?

They hunger for food, water, education, freedom from mutilation, genital mutilation, early marriage and the rest is not easy. Can they at least be sure of food so that early marriage will not make sense.

Can we assure these people of food security so that they do not live only thinking of a few hours time. Will this be the last famine for which the government is not prepared?

For I was there in 2009 and we were arrested for shouting out 
" Corruption is Death!" There is the hunger for justice and the hunger of the eyes, the hunger that we must no longer only speak about but act. I know others hunger elsewhere but for this hunger
we can never be sad enough. No.