Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Creativity,Leadership and Politics

Oslo- A city vibrant with literary events

When Mohammet Omer stood to receive the Ossietsky award on the day of Writers in Prison at the House of Literature in Oslo, many people wept listening to this young man who at the age of 8 began to record the horrors of war for a news editor who run a column titled 'eye witness'. Mohammet received the prize with much grace and he told us he knew where the founder of this prze would be if he were alive today. Ossietzky, he said would be in Palestine at that front, reporting. It was very moving to watch the slides of violence Mohammet showed and more moving still to hear him say of a man lying down dead.." that is my friend so, and so, he managed to film the grenade that took his life on that day!" And of course some young boys lay beside the journalist taken by fire thrown at a truck clearly marked TV. Children, women, journalists and all died in the horrors and are still dying in the east.

Mohammet spoke of guns and their power with precision. Every time he saw a weapon, when he was older and was reporting from the field, he knew its potential and all that. He showed us a car, a truck bullet ridden and where he sat as the fire flew around. At that point, he was trying to reach to boy he could see outside calling for help. Both the legs of the boy were blown up. He only had a torso and a head and yes, he was calling for help! Mohammet meant to reach him but he could not because of the bullets. He had many such things to tell and it was a miracle to see him standing there before us so to speak in full health. No, Mohammet has suffered much torture and pain. He is receiving treatment to help him cope with life after arrests and terrible beatings. I was also surprised to hear that the company he was working with, which should undersand human rights, sacked him as incapable after he had received his wounds for reporting on human rights.

So, on that evening of the 16th of Nov. 2009, many of us cringed just to think of how much this man has endured and how terrrible violence is. It was not surprising that Kjell Olaf the former head of PEN Norway received the words of praise on his award, also given that night of writers in prison with a reaction of he wished all such words would be addressed to the likes of Omer and he also mentioned me, because he said these are people who have risked their lives for another's freedom. We were all very touched and our spirit of freedom was enlivened and of course the need to carry on in the struggle by this event.

I was honoured to read that evening after the prizes were awarded. I read two poems one on writers in prison remembering Dawit Isaak who languishes in prison in Eritrea, Aung San suu Kyi and Xia Liu Bou in China. I asked Obama, not just to speak but to do something that makes sense in a world so full of torture and violence. I also read an excerpt from my novel, Kenya will you marry me?. In this book i speak of our begging the earth to accept us for we all have been too violent. I plead with Mother earth, before i take on politicians who glory in violence as a way of getting to power and staying there.

In the hall downstairs that day, The Africa Literature week begun. A good representation from most parts of Africa but the horn were present. Tjis discussion on a different post below.

In literary Oslo, the Bragen Pris was also awarded to novels of many categories but the novelist who received the award of honour later that night, blew my mind with his opening speech. He aruged that words can also make a thousand pictures.. coming from the saying that that a picture is worth more than a thousand words. He also said it is very sad that rich business people and politicians often say they do not have time to read. If they do not read he said, then they have no time to make pictures, to imagine, and how can people without imagination be in charge of governance and power. I thought this was very powerful a thought for today anywhere in the world. I am waiting to read Obama's next big book. I can see him in the future reading stories to his grandchildren. I know he is not a Kenyan as such.. and that is not why am saying here that I cannot see many old Kenyan politicians at home reading to children.. I cannot see some of them quitting politics to make more pictures with words.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. jvmylmxwqivphylm; Nail Fungus Treatment, ejnTzku.