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Total fiction, ethnicity and the Diaspora

Posted by Administrator on February 5, 2012

A friend alerted me to the fact that I had been adversely mentioned in a column by Rasna Warah (DN, January 23).

The tone of the entire piece was in several respects seeded with unjustified conclusions.

Ms Warah started by recounting a vitriolic response from some Kenyan in Pennsylvania.

The riled responder apparently called upon fire and brimstone to consume her for something she had written. I have no idea what it was.

After a little theorising about the possible triggers of Diaspora behaviour, Ms Warah transitioned to the territory of ‘negative ethnicity’ and, bam, I was held up as a purveyor of a particularly virulent strain.

The conflation of insults by an interlocutor in Pennsylvania with my alleged comments at the height of Kenya’s post-election 2008 conflagration was at first a little baffling, but soon I got the drift.

The writer was assembling examples of ‘‘hate speech’’ by Kenyans abroad to back her thesis.

I would not claim Ms Warah quoted me out of context; that would be too much of a cop-out. The phrases she presented as having been written by me were:

“There should be an armed resistance leading to the partition of the country” and “Kenyans should never forgive or forget what these guys (denizens of Central Kenya) have done. There is no guarantee they will not do it again. It is in their DNA”.

I shall provide the context of my alleged comments and let you, the reader, decide.

At the height of post-election violence, the state of Kenya was rapidly ceasing to exist. State authority was eroding at a furious rate.

Death and destruction was visited upon many. Finally, international midwifery coupled with slowly returning sanity prevailed, and the country stepped back from the precipice.

The Kenya Studies Association listserv was one of the forums where debate raged and various points of view flew unhindered.

I referred in a scholarly manner to the right of revolution in political philosophy that has been used throughout history to justify rebellions.

If a government loses legitimacy or is tyrannical, do the people have a natural right to rebel and must they, therefore, as is the case in the US, have the right to bear arms?

In a wider arena, did the people of Southern Sudan have a right to determine that they were better off on their own rather than remaining in a unitary Sudan?

Or Eritrea vis-a-vis Ethiopia? Or Field Marshall John Okello leading a revolt against the Arab sultanate in Zanzibar?

The cohesiveness of ethnic groups defines their organisational DNA, if you like. My ethnic community does have its DNA too, a butt of jokes to some about the preferred occupations of members of the group. I do not take umbrage!

Finally, one swallow does not a summer make. Ms Warah’s alarming conclusion about the capacity of Diaspora opining – she has obviously never trolled some respectable US blogs where the First Amendment protections allow truly ‘hateful’ stuff – to ignite calamity back in Kenya is an example of cavalier reasoning.

To begin with, the causes of peace or lack thereof in Kenya have little to do with the Diaspora.

How many Kenyans peek into restricted listservs compared to print media readership?

Dr Mulaa works and lives in the United states.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/Total+fiction+ethnicity+and+the+Diaspora+/-/440808/1320728/-/13w67sx/-/

Related story: Kenyans abroad should not be allowed to plunge this country into darkness



One Response to “Total fiction, ethnicity and the Diaspora”

  1. poko said

    Plis my dear, I apologise for the next statement. Stop bullshitting. You are yet to grasp the American education system. None in Kenya can come close. Yes, the examining may sound easier because of things like open-book exams, but what is the Kenyan cramming version good for when all the Kenyan-graduated scientists have produced nothing so far? No innovations, zero, zilch…wanasoma nini UoN tusioiona?

    I write this as one who once had your mentality until I took time to immerse myself in this eduaction system and sir/madam, it is designed to seive. That almost everyone can go to college, yet they are encouraged to quit if they want to should tell you something: The system allows creativity and innovation. I have worked with people in R&D, highschool education, no college degree but have produced pantented work. My immediate boss had 12, yet all he did is a Chemistry degree undergrad. Next time ur car is in a collision and the front glass does not shad in your eyes, thank him for the technology of the polymer used to attach that glass to ur car so as to reduce crash impact.

    In America, a first degree is not given much strength. U will find that almost all proffesional careers need specialized education after the undergrad. Medicine, engineering, pharmacy, law…they allow students to discover who they are, and what they are good at.

    Would you be suprised that a former Chief Economist in the US has a first degree in music. Had his rock band as a teenager until he sat in an economics class and something went off in his head.

    In Kenya, we are a couple lightyears behind. In addition, most African students almost always use the “dark” continet moniker to get by. They just sit around and study and study, get A’s and get scholarships. They rarely ever engage in anything else. No extra activities unless it is in an African club. Because they have neglected the social aspect of development, they find it tricky to go upwards and fall back to Africa, where all they need is a degree. No sense of service or social responsibility.

    Very many African leaders studied abroad on scholarships- for their brains, see what they do. They never, ever learned anything outside class. That is not growing, and that should never be an intention of an Institution of higher learning.

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