Wednesday, December 10, 2014

STOP touting the end of the era of Human Rights, we have not had any! Check impunity in the world!

Nightbird cried. For things were hard at her domestic level. One is part of one's sister somehow and when a sister dies, a part of one lies immobile too. But soon good flipping of wings taught Nightbird to get up and fly. 

Nightbird has been flying from night to night in deep observation. Meditation. Long live the owls, they greeted her with wisdom.

Where was she to start? Not so long ago Nightbird wondered at where the world was leading itself from. Who would have thought to hear things like if Martin Luther King Jr. were alive he would cry? 
Look what they do! May a million Dr. Martin Luther Kings arise! 2014
And this from one of Nightbird's favorite programs, HardTalk? Well, why on earth are not millions of Dr. Kings crying and of all colors? Why has this been so? Must it be black to cry for black? How when we buried Mandela a year ago speaking about a rainbow? Do we say rainbow only thinking of colors? It cannot be.

No. Every president ever anywhere, not just Obama, every person of authority should have been Dr. King Jr all this time. We have tried to be him. Nightbird did. Everyone regardless of gender. It is imperative for every one of us to stop pointing fingers elsewhere and ask ourselves what we are doing about racism. 

Nightbird wanted to write that we are not being creative enough when she realised through Fergusson and others, Mike Brown, Gayner that this is a heavy loss to the world. 

On human rights. Nightbird wrote about Mexico and disappearances. This week some walls have fallen. All of us must stop at a moment that could remind us we are so far away. 

The President of Brazil Dilma Youssef was weeping as she read a report of torture in Brazil years ago. We saw those torture chambers. No denial here. They are facing it.

Mr Hyden former boss of CIA on the other hand seemed to happy to ask what was wrong with banging a fellow who was secured on to a wall? It was meant to make noise, more noise than cause harm. What part of the body was hit? He asked. This is terrible. 

Who does not know that police cause noise to harm and still traumatise? It seems to me you cannot know until you are that person. The victim in this case does not know what is happening minute by minute and that is what is wrong. This is torture. The Guantanamo 6 are out after so much suffering. 

Mr Hyden justifies some tactics... but CIA and America as told by China this is so wrong and not possible. At the same time Kenya too has been involved and guess who was training in Brazil and in Kenya for torture. The UK of course.

Maybe someone might hear Nightbird, or many people. This is a moment we cannot lose. We have to agree that we are helping create terror with these deeds. We all have to acknowledge including those who fuel planes for renditions to Guantanamo and other places. 

We have to accept that we have made mistakes. We cannot sit there and wait for terror to stop. Beheadings will not stop. We have to live up to our beliefs if we so believe in human rights. This is a shocking moment.

For if more life, even one is lost it is us to blame. We have to stop this depravity which has led us to wonder if there is any moral authority left on earth. We have to hear Malala Yousoufzai say the same. If we continue to torture and even kill while asking others to respect our rights will they? 

We have to act and believe first and show that we believe that the killing of one person is the killing of all humanity. This is possible for us before we can ask if it is possible for the others to believe and live it. 

The struggle for Human Rights has only began. We cannot with some experts start believing that their era is over. How can we when the Millennium Development Goals were undeliverable. Good morning 2015!

It is time to see what we can do, what must stop is the taking of any lives, the torturing of individuals. The world must hear that this has stopped. People can be tried peacefully. 

Nightbird is flying around the globe again. Nightbird is searching. Nightbird is believing that yes, we can stop these ugly ways. That with color or without, with terror or without we never put the rule of law second. Stop all forms of torture and stop it first those of you who claim civility before you tell others who are acting in retaliation to stop. Stop this now. Enough of impunity!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chilling Ayotzinapa killing: #EyeOnMexico, Will revolutionary Mexico remain the same?

              #EyeonMexico                                      Fragor        
¿Qué trazar a los muertos, qué borrar, qué inclinar?        

What remains to trace the dead, what to erase, to tilt?
¿Ese sobre de órganos equivocados? 
That what is on their corpses mistaken?
¿La imagen detenida en pacientes frentes?  
The image stamped  forever on their patient foreheads?
(pienso en una pradera donde el hoy difunto estuvo feliz) 
(I think of the prairie where today's dead was happy)
¿Qué recuerdo detenido invocar? ¿Hasta qué? 
What memory still remaining can be invoked, until what?
¿Cómo reduce el pasado sus ahoras?
    How to reduce the hours of the past?
¡Llénese el país de manos!
   Let the country be filled with hands!
                Francoise Roy, Guadalajara, Mexico

The Day of the Dead in Mexico 2014 was filled with more pain than ever. 

Leo ni leo Mexico! Now is now, we say in Kiswahili and we say it for Mexico today. Years of bloodshed. People in Mexico are demanding now: STOP KILLINGS and 

expressing still, their hopes for peace, need for it, a society free of racism, need it. A society free of hunger, must be it. A society free of killings a must!

Years of the disappearance of so many people as the world went on, years of losing journalists, years of terror and now:

The military parade on Mexican Revolution day celebration today makes no sense today. It is stopped. Tonight, Mexico stops and everyone I know marches into the streets of different towns.

Ayotzinapa killing is chilling and even when all the other killings were stilling souls every day as Nightbird flew... this time we join the uprising. 

Nightbird received a letter from Guadalajara and she is here blogging at the same time to join the demonstrations:
Today (20th November) is the big day: Massive demonstrations all over the country and the entire world. To demAND peACE, to demAND and eND to governMENT corRUPTION. I am sure there will be at least one milLION mARCHERS in MEXICO City. 

People are FINALly AWAKEning to the horrors they have been living since 2006, which produced a country filled with MASSGRAVES. Juan and I are going to march in our city. Mexico is UPRISING. I have never seen such a thing. Such indignation, in a very subdued people... but the 100 000 victims of that war and the 30 000 still missing seem to deny the fact that Mexicans in general are very sweet people non-violent people.

Let the world know: the fact that news of this message went around the world and caused an uproar, I am sure, prevented more killings and saved lives. The government cancelled the military parade of November 20th (today is the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution) for the first time in history
 and not dared touch anyone because the eyes of the world are on us. Not a single shot will be fired today: they just cannot ruin their image (Nightbird hopes so as she writes as it happens) more than this Ayotzinapa killing has already done. I have seen very moving gestures of solidarity, love and caring since these unspeakable acts happened. It is encouraging. 

An interesting thing is people have come out not just in Spanish. Nightbird got information just when she was asking where we are with all these languages...That people are talking in their own languages about their pain: Nhauatl, tzoltzil, Maya, Zapoteco, Zoque and Purepecha and more.

Yes, pass on that microphone and make it louder. 

"Maybe this is the awakening of a great and battered nation. People are still demanding that the students return alive, hoping against hope and knowing that when they are asking for this, they are, hopefully preventing other deaths. Eye on Mexico please, it matters for the world..."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Philo Ikonya wins Aidoo-Snyder Book Award 2014, Honorable MENTION. This blog's favorite book wins for a very "transformative and innovative work!"

Aidoo-Snyder Award, Honorable Mention, 2014.
"Wololo koyo ng'ich, wololo koyo ng'ich! Abiro nindo kanye?" Dholuo
Philo Ikonya © 2014 Award for 

Still Sings the Nightbird

The author wrote...

I did not know that Langaa Research and Publishing Common Initiative Group... had entered this book for a prize, therefore I am in a sweet surprise mood. 

I received an elating call from Nwando Achebe, a professor of History and this is what she said: 

" I am calling as the co-convener of African Studies Association, Women's Caucus on behalf of the panel of the Aidoo-Snyder Book Award 2014 to let you know that your book: Still Sings the Nightbird has won Honorable Mention 2014. Congratulations! This is a big accomplishment, I am so proud of you!"

Named in honor of Amat Ata Aidoo, the celebrated Ghanian novelist and short story writer and Margaret Snyder, the founding Director of UNIFEM. The prize seeks to acknowledge excellence of contemporary scholarship being produced by women About African women In alternate years the prize is awarded for best scholarly book or for the best creative work.

The author went on, "Of course I had to tell Achebe's daughter that Eneke the bird said that since men had learned to shoot without missing, she (we agreed on this gender) has learned to fly without perching. Igbo Proverb! 

Nighbird sings: Writers, work on... even when nobody seems to notice. Be brave too. Someone is reading!
"Vuveri ohh, Ohh vuchindo vuveho mno, ningoke hena vudiko?" Luhya
"Oh, ki bhishon thaandaa, ki bhishon thaandaa, kothaay ghumote jaa?" Bengali

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,
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,
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.
Na upendo wa amani,
Mkate huu wa amani na wa uhuru.
Feed, house,
Keep it,
Like in safe villages or,
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...

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?

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.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Sound of Silence : Speaking light to darkness

Speak out and let your actions follow your words and dreams
The silence that is not quiet hears your sighs and makes no noise. The silence that is not quiet urges you on to keep on asking questions. They sometimes speak about a  pregnant silence.

 It is therefore alive. It demands reflection. It sighs and screams. The surprising thing is that you may not hear its sound its. Yet silence can awaken you. 
The song "Sound of Silence" makes me think deeply. And connect.

Nightbird is listening to the world's sighs. You could argue she should hear the laughter too. But Nightbird is only trying to keep her heart beat healthy. That is not not easy. She seeks that silence that is resourceful.

In February 1964 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 on Friday, Nov 22nd at 12.30 pm at Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A, one of the world's best song writers, Paul Simon, wrote the Sound of Silence. The silence after shots ring? Maybe so and more. This song is an all time favorite for its poetic strength. 

What a greeting to darkness and its personification! It ends up lighting up so much. Nightbird loves to hear this song. For there are many restless dreams in the world. And there are many times we have to ask ourselves just how many gods we must make. You can go on with the song as much as you like. 

"Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter" Dr. Martin Luther King

It seems we are more alive then if we are not only quiet but singing about what is important to us. These words should wake up us if we are napping. One has to know what makes one tick. Nightbird is moved to act by many things and to speak.

Are you one of those who believed that a Tweet is a waste of time? Have you heard the silence of trouble when you cannot Tweet for yourself like when you are down under in a mine. Soma in Turkey?
Did the whole Boko Haram abduction of the 270 girls go past you because you thought that is just a small little group of militias out there and that is Niger... ria and you have nothing to do with it because you are from Vanuatu? 

What about Flight MH370? Why should you have compassion? That is not your national carrier? Or you simply know nothing about it at all because these days you do not even watch news because you have had enough?
Nightbird learnt that we do not even get most of the stories both good and bad happening in the world. Next time she is bringing good news.

Nightbird believes that your words and attention matter. Yes the do, regarding Somalis in Kenya too. It was never right anywhere at any time in history to target a people based on who they are as human beings. Hard to say bet we have to look for crime.

Loving The Sound of Silence is just so natural. It is the agony of a spirit that is in touch. It does not matter that when it was written Paul Simon was not going through a personal struggle. Somewhere it touched and it still resonates with human beings who connect at invisible levels. You know Nightbird will love to say and sing "Hello Darkness my old friend!"  She is not afraid of difficult circumstances because she writes about a bird that sings at night. In what might be seen as the hopelessness of a hard season or seasons. Still Sings the Nightbird!

Nightbird switches on to a part of the world called Burma. There are of course many parts of the world that need a beam of light. They abound. If only we could find more proactive people that point at where trouble is about to come so that efforts can go into prevention rather than picking up of pieces. Unfortunately these pieces are usually human bodies and as Nightbird normally says, souls have no spare parts as far as we know. Bodies yes, maybe. But souls no.

Not to forget Burma. The constitution of this country bars anybody who has relatives who are foreigners from running for the presidency. This is a strange law. It goes directly against the family of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. She would like to be the president of her country but she was married to an English man and so her children are foreigners in her own home. 

And so what is this all about when for years she was under house arrest on the island. How come it was not forbidden to have under house arrest a person who had got associated with other lands? 
And if this is not only against her but others how is a country to recover against its own divisions when it does not allow those who are somewhat different in? For the world in war time had already opened up Burma to other influence. 

My uncle from Afrika fought in Burma through no fault of his own. I would have imagined even I should be welcome there were he to have left some unknown relatives. 

And I see the men there, the serious men of Burma stand up and say change should not come to the island very fast? I think the speed thing is a lost cause. Change came very long ago and very fast. The Nightbird has seen the Ruhingya crying.

 Even though Suu Kyi did not speak up for them, Nightbird knows that with such limitations who stands to lead, their problems become even more foreign. Nightbird sends a strong beam of light to you Burma. Take it.

The way to go is to review that constitution that is stifling Suu Kyi who would like to be president and whom I think may easily get elected. Yes. Just do it. There is no other way of changing but changing. And change has been arrested for too long. It is not true that it must always tick like an ancient clock. It can move digitally.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Politics of circumcising power, Why do you persecute Korir and some members of Bunge la Mwananchi? Violence gives birth but is there justice?

              Rape: child of a militia gang rape safe-  Why do you persecute Kenyans for their views?

Why do you for example, persecute John Korir the President of Bunge La Mwananchi (one of its chapters)? Why? For Korir is entitled just like all Kenyans who have different views to peace and justice. He is entitled to time with his family and nation just like the President of Kenya is.

Maurice Odhiambo of Bunge La Mwananchi is also under threat for a long time now. The list is longer. There are many who live on the edge wondering what next. But all they did was to

Nightbird was on a lonely journey that found out Korir was having sleepless nights. And he is not alone. John Korir was attacked by some people who claimed that he is a witness at the ICC. Who are these people who go round intimidating others for this reason? 
We know of others who have reported similar incidences? Why and how come nobody speaks out for them.

Why are there hordes of people who go about listing some as supporters of the ICC and reaching out to them and their families for harm? So young people who discuss useful ideas in this Bunge belong to the group of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) who are deeply intimidated. Silenced almost. And yet everything they know if shouted from the top of the Kenyatta International Conference is everything all the people know about, the very things they whisper perhaps in matatus and in their homes. What is it? We are refusing to learn from our people who were deeply harmed by the violence we are talking about. 

The Government of Kenya, The County Senators and all its Bunge needs to speak out clearly on this intimidation and to see to it that anybody disturbing others and therefore depriving them of their constitutional rights is in the wrong. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 is strong in the defence of Human Rights. And the people are crying and trying to heal their wounds. Look.

A child of militia gang rape is breastfed and loved by a father who watched his wife being raped as he lay on what he thought was his own deathbed.

A militia meets gentleness in the worst of circumstances for their child is not aborted. The couple have chosen life having seen their own at a time of utter futility. Moments that saw a nation lose sanity. Moments that became hours of history written in blood.

It was during the hearing of the Status Conference on the ICC case that I heard this. Is this child a sign or icon of possibility? How can I call this one a sign of justice if that way he landed into this world? How? 

Will poetry not err if I say that maybe this is the kind of icon that can heal a country that is still badly injured by the violence we experienced? For there was a couple. The man was left for dead and his wife raped as he watched before he was clobbered senseless. This was by a militia gang.

I did not know that she conceived and chose to keep the child. I was completely speechless when I heard of the couple's tough decision. For they knew she was raped by a militia gang. This is so moving. Violence. I believe they saw their own lives almost end and therefore, decided to save this child. 

And now they say, they would like justice, only justice because then they can forgive and live. Will they get justice? Why can't violence engender justice or how could it? Can it? One is torn apart upon hearing all this. They are not stories anymore. But the judge said in Kiswahili.

Haki huinua taifa
Justice makes a nation. Where is it? Where is justice? 


We have to stop seeing some ethnic groups as people set apart, marked physically for good or for evil. This is a first point of all leadership. That we are all equal and so much so before the law.

That circumcision is a topic of politics reveals that we are acting on a herd mentality and this does not work for humans. It works for swarms of bees and cattle. People were forcibly cut in the violence of 2007/2008. That was the saddest thing Nightbird was reminded last week by proceedings at the ICC.

Circumcision of men who do not belong to a particular ethnic group. Humiliation of the highest order. It was tough to hear that description again. That people who came from an ethnic group that does not circumcise men were cut and laid out in rows, mutilated parts up. 

I remember Sam Ouma a photographer with a Kenyan newspaper breaking into tears at the memory. He was being interviewed on the violence that gripped Kenya in 2007/2008 after the election.

I also remember a very long call from Ida Odinga. I received it when I was talking to a friend on Kijabe Avenue. She was so torn I thought she was breaking down. Ida Odinga was speaking about her visits to where people were wounded like this. About what she saw as the face of violence in Kenya, its irrational ways.

She spoke about the rape of women in other parts of the country. She wept. She wondered why some leaders had forgotten to keep talking about this. She was caught up in loneliness on searching for answers. She was blunt. She was sick of it all and longed for justice.

Yes, the politics of circumcision is so crude but it went to these levels. Why? Who can stop such thinking if churches over more than 100 years have not? Why did Kenyans forget so many ties that bind us in such a short time? What was really at work then?
How do we forgive and heal a nation? There are other nations to learn from.

But violence has given birth to much more violence than ever before. The nation is challenged by low morale. I read about Gava militia with consternation. A fourteen year-old- girl robs an adult man at gang point. These are children of such deep violence hidden in the rotting womb of our nation. Children at school learning how to be in gangs. 

It is only that I know for each one of these there are thousands in many good organisations:

Writers' groups

Democracy organisations such as Bunge La Mwananchi
Dancing groups
Music groups
Festival groups
Individuals trying to make a mark
Young Farmers
Prayer groups
Village youth groups and so many others.

Only one question. Why does the police spend so much time investigating those who gather to dialogue on democracy for example at Jeevanjee Park in Nairobi? Bunge la Mwananchi? Their President is on the run right now. His life is in danger.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Inspiring the world was never easy: Don't put God to sleep ! Leaders chose China over the Dalai Lama

JP II and Mandela. Source CNN Mag
If you thought that John Paul II was a superstar you have to closely watch Pope Francis today. Did you see him take that cup of traditional Argentinian tea from a person in the audience? 

Last year he already got a mate gourd and a straw from Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, President of Argentina and he kissed her. She was excited and spoke about this. Who would not be? 

Nightbird was kissed by John Paul II in her own days. So the that Pope already heard the song of this Nightbird from her own lips. Nightbird used to sing in an orchestra and sang to him more than once- but that is another story. 
Pope Francis starring

Pope Francis is at ease with selfies and almost all that you can say makes contemporary times and yet he does not cease to reflect the poverty of Francis of Assisi, it seems. What makes some leaders work much harder than others?

Pope Francis is fast on the Internet and I am sure he knows that FOMO was Internet slang before it became the not so attractive formal abbreviation to be found even in the Oxford Dictionary. Fear of Missing Out.

But is it really fear? John Paul II's first words to the people after his election and knowing fully well that people looked at a Polish man as a stranger to the Papacy were "Do Not Be Afraid!" He stepped out on a different path.

Years after John Paul II sent the first e-mail from the Vatican and even earlier, he had told the world that to be missing in the media is not to be anywhere. What is called a very traditional church, apostolic for being founded on the Apostles moves with the change of the times and they do it with originality.

What there is to fear is not to be wise and original. Well, most leaders know that there is nothing that makes you get there than beating your own path. If you copy as an artist called Elimo Njau of Kenya has on a big board at Paa Ya Paa, you put God to sleep. 

Original is what artist Njau is, he and his wife Philda Njau. He has a new perspective for everything you know!

Njau and Philda at Paa ya Paa
But long before that, you can put God to sleep, you bore everyone else to death. So Pope Francis coming too from a far country like John Paul II has kept his originality alive despite all those dogmas one hears about. And many in the world, it would seem love to find and meet someone who stands for something. Someone who is or was but who sang his song out loud for all to hear.

Yes, Pope Francis' virtual life is way up there as his own is so down to earth. Washing feet of the sick on Holy Thursday and last year of a group of prisoners that included a Muslim woman. Headlines blared: Pope washes the feet of a Muslim woman His tweets   get worshippers and admirers clicking in faster than the speed of light. And they are little sermons!

John Paul II (Between the two Popes Benedict XVI who in his own way did the untraditional, what might add up to much more than Tweets and visibility for greatness in the church) was unique in so many ways. 

Even if he was often called the Pope of Sorrows for he had much suffering in his life, all said when he smiled, it was as if the sun rose. 

And yet his predecessor was the smiling Pope John Paul I who broke another kind of record, not intentionally of course, dying after a month in office. The smiling Pope was Italian.

Polish John Paul II was at first looked down by some for being a man too immersed and only belonging to his country, Poland. There had not been a non-Italian Pope for years before he came along. He astounded his critics by taking the globe by storm not only physically kissing many airports grounds but also revealing a man who espoused a most profound intellectual take on the world. 

A poet of his times and would have been a great film actor were it not that he chose the robes. He is canonised a saint pronto in April 2014. The call Santo Subito, saint quickly or fast, has been heard by the church in our times, normally it takes years. John XIII who gets canonised along with him, another cheerful man knows that. Yet his process was even faster. There are others that have been lost to memory. But there has been a change in speed on this since John Paul II. Speed.

With these few strokes it looks like running on the beaten tracks is not what the Church is doing. Every leader knows that it is best to be cordial with the Pope. Take tea with him if you can. All leaders meet the Popes and the Popes like to meet with them. They only do not go where they are rejected otherwise they want to be everywhere. I remember when Lithuania would not, in the 90s have John Paul II as a guest. 

Taking a stand even if it conflicts with others and why should there be a chorus in every view is original and it marks one's own path. However, positions that diminish one's moral authority are not viable. They just are not original. To be original in this case means to break barriers. 

Pope Francis and Fernandez Kirchner differ on gay marriage. They agree on the good treatment of all people regardless of their sexual orientation.

The world's influentials today

Nightbird likes to feed on inspiration. Recently it has come from poet Rabindranath Tagore. One could say that despite the greats, there is a vacuum of leadership in the world. There are racial, ethnic and religious diversities that need management at a positive level. A gush, not a dash of fresh ideas is needed. New people pronouncing them. 

Most of the secular people in whom we invest hope for the interpretation of meaning are fast failing us. Nightbird does not easily criticise women for it knows the efforts thy make. But sometimes one has to. 

Differences seem not to have towering figures who speaks to them for healing. The high hopes pegged on Aung San Syu Kyi seem to fail when we think of the killings of the Ruhingya Muslims. She was and remains rather quiet on their deaths.  This Syu Kyi could talk about as a Nobel Prize laureate not as a Member of Parliament. I hear that is her dilemma, that she will be marginalised. 
The Popes cannot say everything about everything to the world. Speak!

But are there not times when one has to take the risk of losing a podium one has by throwing in their lot with a people who suffer? Can one not leave fate to decide how one's action will be judged? 

Nelson Mandela's moral authority would probably have been lost if he had stayed longer than five years as President of South Africa but now he had power until the end, and yes, his death led the world to troop together and the words of leadership there spoken need to be heard again. 

Yes, there is the Group of Elders that I see often on FB The Elders words of inspiration and every village must develop its own leaders, but this is limited and we need to hear strong voices in more channels. 
Graca Machel is still in mourning. We wait.

There is a man whom everyone is refusing to meet these days. Nobel Prize winners are refusing to meet him too and he is one himself. Obama did. Now the President of the Norwegian
Dalai Lama
Parliament has also said he will not meet with this man, the one Monk that shakes a superpower called China. Olemic Thommessen would rather have China's blessing and the sales of Salmon fish to China rather than meet this 'Solomon' and have Norway sidelined by China. The Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Oslo in May 2014. 

Doesn't the world need to see all these teams playing together in fact, in order to benefit China? Be sure the Popes are keen to have more Chinese converts as of any other group. In Easter the Catholic church prays for the conversion of everyone, everyone to the Catholic faith.

But now again, if we emphasise differences and therefore the need for conversions what are we saying? Yes I know there is a tremendous inter church and other group dialogue always going on but what if we looked at what we share more in common than what divides us? There you go Nightbird idealising again? You by the way were already offended that Kenya's Moody Awori then Vice President would not allow the Dalai Lama to visit Kenya. He was denied a visa. 

Desnond Tutu has an infectious laugh! Heals!

And that children could not see him do a simple thing like sing with Tutu and friends around many candles representing all peoples: Happy Birthday to you....! 
Happy Birthday... 

...and if you come from my part of the world poke fun at where you were born too and laugh till your ribs crack when they tell you where you were born! Oops.. I better say barn!

And of course it is clear that women are missing in all this leadership of the world and own paths. Perhaps they are busy writing stories, leading their nations but honestly Lema Bowie and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the world still waits for your voices? Are you on Twitter ala @Pontifexs or WAZ UP? I heard more from you before you joined the Nobel Prize League! Come on LOML, let's have more COED!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oh Mountain Bull is gone! The elephants sings her tragedy, how many elegies have you read?

Who can take his place? None.
As if she did not have enough pains
as if her mother had not died before
and her children all for tusks... ivory.
How I wish that Mountain Bull had been
found, found alive
How I know he was found dead, how I know
The elephant that disturbed but had a mind to share
How I wish
How I wish if you had been found dead at 46 you would
have had your tusks on
Your six tonnes lay there and no tusks, Mountain Bull

You and I have had our bad times but the worst has
come for you Oh, Mountain Bull

Your Exodus begins my song of pain, the book of books
for your story too must be heard Mountain Bull of Mt. Kenya

How shall we conserve, whom shall we conserve
Who can play reserve in your place?
She, the elephant died before...

I the elephant have died again
She the elephant that did not resurrect, died again

and again as presidents talk about mini skirts

for Afrika and forget the mini shirts that steal

with only skin on. I saw no girl
come to her, our dead elephant but only men
with knives of fear and no tears for her rear
Don't help the elephant carry her tusks, do you hear?

Some people behave as if

they never heard that I the elephant
never gets tired of carrying my own tusks
my own sweet burdens they are, not your ivory
so greedy you, since you started
building houses that rivaled my size
and became sky scrapers forgetting their African tongues
had no name for State Houses,
An elephant never tires of carrying its own tusks did you not hear?

Her children have been left alone
no elephant mother stares with two slowing eyes
they have pushed her into the bush and taken her big
thighs leaving them one upon the other, a people 
so afraid and in hatred of their Mother Tongue 
For mother
she is this elephant and memory she never borrows but
they want her only to remember her death of pain
We cannot bear her sorrow so strong: An antelope is not big enough to carry the tusks an elephant bears...
Who will hide her precious ivory where greed has grown wings and feet?

Politicians will not protect me when I am peaceful on the land
they like to be big and to be big they make war and kill us
They like to swat us like flies and to be in power they take ours
They like to be big like my tail so that nobody can catch their deeds. They may call me a wall like the third man of Hindustan
They may even pretend am a fan and that all I am different things
for me but one fact is real they only know me money and none of
them weep my cause as they ride in jumbos free and I.. count my votes in vain
"An elephant does not die from one broken rib" It dies
when lawmakers are persistent lawbreakers

They say that their brains are big and that rationality is theirs
but I remember so many times the thoughts of pain and wonder
When an elephant kills a rat is not a hero we say, what heroism is
is yours when all you do is aim and pierce taking my ivory to land
distant? It is your children you starve when you kill me, what wisdom is there in that?

I am pregnant for twenty two months and I do not bring my child to you who steals my life for the sake of ivory. I stay where I belong I do not come to your towers, why then do you come to mine, hiding behind trees, trapping and shooting me and taking my
tusks from me and for me as if I asked for help. I still have my memory it is you who loses yours. Why do you think I should not multiply when you are going everywhere in this world?

Have you heard that I flew to space to look for a new place?
Have you seen me crossing rivers and deserts to take your parts
to other lands? What have I done to kill your conscience of nature
I the elephant who knows what value an ant has for none other
can scratch my hooves or eat the generous droppings of green kilos
I give back even after I eat? 

I allow the nightbird to perch on me so she can see far and keep me safe when I doze in the heat of the night and the afternoon stillness of the day waiting for night. Watch out for me, watch out for me alive. Feed your hungry and remove all those poachers from my way. I am the keeper of every park and jungle and without me rocks will cry and I never forgetting cry at every spot of death and robbery of my tusks.

An elephant is never burdened by its own tusks why do you take mine? You should know my dung better. Think about my dung. Worry about my dung the home of many seeds I scatter. Think how I make food for others and even if I eat trees, I plant seeds galore. Think me and think you who robs my tusks only to dry them. I have them to keep and you can wait until I die after I spread my seeds for the generations that have loaned you this land for now. Think many African proverbs about me the elephant. I cry not only for myself. 

When two elephants fight, since you fight me you pretend to be elephant, it is the grass that suffers. You injure me, I lie there dying and so many trees die with me, and there goes your rainfall.
Generations suffer dryness when you kill me. I have my role to play, play yours with me. You just can never seem to know and acknowledge. You can find me in the desert following water and keeping people watered. I tell you, you have no idea how connected I am to your gas, oil and even, computers! Think my minerals. Think why the best and most important are found in the stomach of this land so vast and others. Think. Just think. 

And let live