Wednesday, 29 May 2013

WHEN THE TRUTH BECOMES AN OFFENSE

Why is the truth withheld when situations are amicable only for it to be unleashed as a torrent of spite, often at the pleasure and pressure of a guilty conscience?
The truth is the agenda.
The truth has no agenda.
The truth has no option or opinion.Neither does the truth need proof.
The truth does not need a back up plan B. Neither does it need style or class.
At the first, second and even the third glance, the truth remains the truth.
The truth is the truth and it is not an offense. 

Maybe. Maybe not.

The truth is an offense if told with malice. 
Malice transforms the truth into a weapon of oppression and humiliation to the subject in question.
The truth is an offense if told with a lie.
Its purity becomes tainted with a dirty unevenness that only gets messier when we try to wash it away.
The truth is an offense if modified by personal/group opinion.
It is watered down by the selfish imagination and the selfish tongue for purposes of sensationalizing an otherwise dry truth.
The truth is an offense when used for bloodshed. Sometimes silence can save a life. 
The truth is an offense when it pampers one ego at the expense of another. 
Hypocrites and pharisees take center stage in this masterpiece by the fireplace as the roast like marshmallows for playing judge.
The truth does not need mankind.
Mankind needs the truth, for what it is. Not for what is expected or desired.  

Monday, 5 November 2012

MISCONCEPTIONS


MISCONCEPTIONS – part 1

1.    mis·con·cep·tion/ˌmiskənˈsepSHən/

Noun:
A view or opinion that is incorrect because based on faulty thinking or understanding.
 
mis·con·cep·tion (m s k n-s p sh n). n. A mistaken thought, idea, or notion; a misunderstanding.




The art and science of communication is the back bone of mankind’s social existence, bringing together different people from all walks of life. The main medium for verbal communication is language, defined as the human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication. Different people have different capacities and as a result miscommunication occurs often and misconceptions arise.

Modern contemporary culture comes with its own fair share of misconceptions and today I will highlight ten popular ones that I have encountered repeatedly in two parts.


1.    Stars vs. Celebrities – not all stars are celebrities and not all celebrities are stars. Very few people get to wear both caps. A star shines and makes an impact, thus touching lives, more often than not in a positive light. A celebrity is a famous person who commands great influence, more often than not for their wealth and social standing than for their good deeds. Paris Hilton, for instance is a celebrity but she sure isn’t a star. So is Lil Wayne, or should I say Lil Gay-ne. That village doctor is a star. He saves countless lives everyday yet his efforts never make the tabloids. That good Samaritan who gave you fifty shillings to get home after you were beaten and robbed by thugs the other night is a star but you probably do not remember her face and you will never know her name. Stars are remembered for their good deeds. Celebrities too sometimes, though they seem to sell more newspapers when they do bad things or are surrounded by negative situations. Stars are made by Jah, celebrities by the media. Few get the privilege and blessing of being both.

2.    The Supreme Being vs. a supreme being – The Supreme Being is The Most High Jah, Jehovah, Yahweh, God, Nyasaye, Ngai, The Giver of Life and The Beginning and The End. His presence is felt everywhere every time and even atheists know Him. A supreme being can be anything and anyone revered by one or many at a time. Even satan is considered by his followers to be a supreme being. Money, wealth, power, respect, an animal, a parent, a lover or anything else given unconditional and undeserved reverence also falls into this category.

3.    A Baby daddy vs. a father – a baby daddy can be any functioning male with the capability of ejaculating after a successful session of copulation with results showing up after nine months before or after which he vanishes into obscurity. A father is a man who takes up the responsibility of bringing up a child to maturity, for whatever reason regardless of whether he was involved in the actual biological process or not. A good baby daddy fulfills his parental responsibility when pushed to obligation whereas a father anticipates this duty with love. A baby daddy often seeks approval for his donation in the wrong places whereas a good father counts on making more donations in all the right places. It does not take rocket science to discern between the two.

4.    Hip hop vs. rap – Hip hop is a way of life incorporating the rap music genre as one of its nine elements. The other eight are DJing, graffiti art, break dancing, beat boxing, street fashion, street knowledge, street language and street entrepreneurialism. Rap is a music genre comprising of rhyming and poetry or both on a beat. Not all rap is affiliated to hip hop. Lauryn Hill is an all round hip hop artiste. Nikki Minaj is a pop artiste who raps sometimes. Anyone with a light tongue can rap on any given beat from any given genre but not everyone can live the hip hop lifestyle.

5.    Whore vs. slut – a whore is a man or woman who gets paid from engaging in sexual acts.  They are the backbone of the sex industry and are also known as prostitutes or strumpets.They offer their services to johns* without any show of emotional attachment or remorse. A slut is a man or woman who is sexually loose or sexually promiscuous and engages in unscrupulous acts of non committal non monogamous sexual activities for the sake of it. They are not restricted by social, religious or cultural norms governing sexuality, and often revel in their sexual liberties. It is a lifestyle they choose to live because they can and want to and not because they want money in exchange.

 
*John- English slang for the person that pays for sexual services

 

 

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS

What is the government doing about the strangely foreign creative content that has infiltrated all mass media outlets with the aim of hypnotizing the young and the old alike subliminally; enslaving as well as contaminating the masses with devilish ideologies ?

What has become of the purely gifted and conscious creative minds that are yet to make a tangible effect on the ground with their talents because of numerous forms of seemingly illusive but accurately programmed frustrating scenarios ?

For how long will they remain in absolute poverty and hopelessness, languishing in their thoughts and dreams of changing the status quo, strumming their instruments and singing their tunes to trees and stones rather than to people?

Why do we import commodities such as sugar and rice while produce rots in the farms and/ or in transit because of poor storage facilities and bad roads thereby shortchanging the farmer man repeatedly and keeping him in poverty and subjection awaiting fake promises of change?

Why is the hemp plant illegal, and the masses ignorant of the knowledge regarding its all round benefits for food, medicine, oil, animal feed, rope, and textile?
 
Who owns the farms that control and distribute this commodity and other narcotic substances for selfish financial gains?
 
How many trees have you planted in your lifetime?

When did the educational system breakdown?

Who shall be held responsible for the high rates of crime and prostitution among the youth struggling to eke a living from circumstances of abject poverty?

Since when did it become fashionable for baby daddies to abandon parental responsibility for the bar in which the 'brotherhood' is cherished for sharing companionship, alcohol, casual sexual accounts and ego massages?

What is the fascination for Alkebunians in buying imported sub standard goods and materials?
 
Why do we exhibiting anything short of enthusiasm for things made by our own for our own?

What is the color of God and by extension love?

Since when did religion invade spirituality and come to be seen as one and the same thing?
 
Why is it now an excuse for bloodshed and loss of human life, a stage for illicit elitist trade in arms as well as a tool for mass propaganda and racial hate/discrimination?
 
When were you and your sexual partner(s) last tested for HIV?

Are my questions insightful or incite-ful?
 
 
 

 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

WHEN BEAUTY BECOMES THE BEAST


Exploring domestic Violence Against Men - Part 1
I know am not the only woman around guilty of slapping one or two men that deserved it at one point or another in my lifetime, and got away with it. But for someone who grew up knowing that domestic violence was a problem and that its chief perpetrators were men, I am amazed by the way incidences of serious cold blooded violence against men have sky rocketed to an all time high. Hospitals such as The Nairobi Women’s Hospital now treat a good chunk of male victims and it is no longer unusual to see men demonstrating against marital abuse, something that was unheard of in the past in Alkebun. When exactly did the tables turn on the male species? Have they become a soft lot that need to be reminded of their essence through the occasional beating? Why have the women become so angry? What pushes a woman to douse her husband with say petrol, light him up and watch him roast like a babeque? What is it that could make a woman wait for her drunken partner to black out before either slashing him into chunks or pouring hot water on him? These are some of the questions I have been asking myself lately and I just cannot seem to find an answer.


Beauty and the beast have since exchanged roles effectively, killing a centuries old fairy tale affair and a dark reality now looms over the dominant order of things. Men just do not seem to call the shots anymore. Not as much as they used to or as much as they would want to believe they do any way. The rise of the fickle, supple, post modern male is doing nothing to help restore balance either. What happened to the days when men were men and women were women? Today the traditional male figure is an endangered species for a number of reasons ranging from drunken irresponsibility and father figure complacencies to the rise of the independent woman and the male gold digger, just to mention a few. I, like many other youth is simply trying to come to terms with what has happened to our culture. I am looking to find reasons for the disintegration of the basic family unit in society from as broad a perspective I can. Still, I find no answer.

I am not happy with all the images of burnt up, battered men in the media these days, pouring out their hearts and crying out to the government sometimes from the confines of their illicit brew watering holes; many of which incidentally happen to be owned and operated by women.  I am even unhappier with the Maendeleo ya Wanaume* movement because it has essentially taken away the power of the male persona by painting them as the weaker sex when they in fact have been the chief perpetrators of all forms of violence against women for ages. It seems rather ridiculous to me that a man would drink himself silly to the point of not feeling his wife’s machete cutting through his body during his deep sleep. It is awkward for me when I go to a salon to do my hair and the client sitting beside me is a man getting a manicure. Over the years I have had one or two boyfriends that would prefer to sit home, do the cooking, washing and ironing while I went out to look for money and it was an arrangement that worked for me at the time.
That was before I came to terms with the reality that the strong (black) male was facing extinction and that I had been a supporter of the global predicament by housing and feeding lazy men in exchange for some moments of affection. I know some of you would like to call that empowerment. I would like to call that a problem, if not a pandemic. It is a big problem that men, displaced in their own roles have taken over our all our roles as women. At this point I would like to make it clear that despite the occasional outcry of domestic violence against men, domestic violence against women was is and will always remain prevalent in the statistics. We have all witnessed the history of abuse, manipulation, oppression and devastation meted upon us, the weaker sex and in some instances made our once voiceless voices heard and we still have a long way to go.  Now here comes elements of the stronger sex pumping in resources to fund campaigns advocating against domestic violence against men. Where have they been when many a woman needed the same support? It is a bitter pill to swallow but must be swallowed nonetheless.

Everywhere you go you hear talk about the strength of a woman. What happened to the strength of a man? For centuries society has upheld the significance of the strong woman whose strength lies in her weakness: her submissiveness, her endurance to track loads of shit treatment and the tightness of her lips as she safeguards the secrets of her pain and her humiliation. Now that the woman has decided to find her strength in being strong, taking decisions towards getting independent and getting heard, and also getting hard, the men have decided to take another approach towards maintaining the sick status quo.

First he has abandoned all his responsibilities within the family set up. A clear example is the average Nyeri* man who spends all his time and money at the chang’aa* den and goes home every night expecting that the average Nyeri* woman, who spends her day toiling to make a living for the children he cannot be bothered about, to give him food as well. This is food that he does not care to buy or care to replenish when it runs out. He will be at the bar for another ten years or so doing the same thing, until the fateful night he meets the beauty he has known for years reincarnated as a beast.

The next morning a group of reporters and some male activists will flock to the scene crying foul and demanding justice, carefully remembering to forget the root cause of the problem: that the man refused to be the man he was supposed to be so he had to get a reminder. I do not know about you but to me, this is a clear example how these types of men still eventually manage to maintain the suppression of women by exercising their strength through their weaknesses.

I am in support of the total eradication of all forms of violence against any persons, either male or female, but I am also in total support of the eradication of the weak man from society. That man who has to be beaten up to be reminded of his duties. I also acknowledge that some women have anger issues but it is also important to note that a woman does not get angry overnight. This anger often stems from cumulative frustration, a lack of communication and an outlet for negative emotions. The weak man, rather than the violent woman is the problem and things would become a lot better for everyone if he just disappeared from the surface of the earth. If you are the type of weak man I am talking about and you are proud of it, you best to man up or pack up because beauty is fed up with the belly of the beast.

* Nyeri - a town in Central Kenya
* Chang'aa - an illicit traditional brew
* Maendeleo Ya Wanaume -
   (a group that lobbies for the rights of men)
   the male equivalent of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake
 

 

THE CHRONICLES OF A CONVALESCENT ALCOHOLIC

 


Bottle Battles, Binges and Brew Blues
 
INTRODUCTION 
 
 
"I shed no tears at the demise of my former self together with a couple of former friends who perished in my former life by among other things, drowning in the brown bottle;
I am reincarnated as a pure free soul, travelling light to the stars and taking no captives : Steady accelerating towards the prize so near in sight like a gallant galloping horse before breaking into full throttle;
Leaving behind broken pieces of never resting dark shadows and fears,
companions of illusions, clouded judgments, swollen eyes and tears,
Back in my blind days once upon a time I held ya'll so dear,
The cataracts fell off my eyes, I now possess a vision so clear;
Yes, we were rebels off course without a cause save for destruction,
painfully enslaved to the devil's instruction.
We were destined to die armed with the bottle and on a mission,
Dark days in Mental Slavery when I was chained to my addiction,
Thank goodness, now I behold an azure sky, full of promise and ambition. "
 
- MC SHARON aka DECIBEL.
 
 
Hello world,
My name is Sharon Alai and I am a recovering alcoholic. My life has transformed greatly over the past few months ever since I gave up many things, among them the bottle. Through this period of recovery, I have come to terms with the fact that I have spent the better part of the past decade engaging in alcoholism much more than I have done to better myself and my trade. A lot of the people I have met over the years have either been functioning or non functioning alcoholics but nonetheless alcoholics. Most of the new contacts I have made have either been in the bar, in an informal setting involving alcohol or in a formal setting that later turns into an alcohol party. Essentially, 90% of the company I have kept has consisted of alcoholics, most of whom are either on denial about the habit or unable to help themselves. The other 10% is divided among sober family members whom until recently, I had cut off links with (3%), social drinking friends and non drinking friends (1%), moderate drinkers to heavy drinkers among family members and family friends (2%), my personal drinking time (2%) and the remaining 2% as time to nurse hangovers and beat myself up about the habit.
I have observed that art and alcohol seem to co-exist in a symbiotic relationship of sorts. Alcoholism also thrives in the company of other complementary and supplementary habits such as cigarette smoking, marijuana smoking and in some cases serves as a stepping stone into the abuse of harder drugs. Almost all the creative minds I have known and interacted with regularly swing in between moderate and extreme alcohol, cigarette and marijuana abuse, with the chief title being scooped up by musicians and performing artistes such as myself. The allure of its escapist tendencies is strong and it becomes harder to get out of the habit especially after the formation of associative relationships with other addicts.
For the longest time I have never had a problem with drinking on a Monday, drinking before midday or drinking for days on end either in my own company or in the company of other artistic alcoholics. During those times we feel extremely important especially when there is a little extra money to spend. Nothing else seems to matter as long as our tables are occupied with bottles and cups are brimming with froth. Time stops and the rest of the world grinds to a halt. Responsibilities and obligations are cast aside for such moments of extravagance and opulence, often extended for days and nights until we run out.
Brokenness has never been a hindrance to getting alcohol on demand because we count on each other’s support in times of need. Chances are that there is always that one person with money to buy a drink, or one person who will sell an album and buy a round, that one person that has a gig and a bill we can drink on, that one person who knows someone who is holding a party we can crash or that one bar proprietor and a friend, willing to give a couple rounds on credit.
The habit has thus grown among creative minds over the years, with birds of a feather now more than ever flocking together to collectively support their alcoholism. I have spent a lot of years as a notorious drinker to the point that it had watered down my credibility not only among industry players, but among fellow alcoholics as well! That’s when things started going rapidly downhill and for the first time in a long time I acknowledged that I needed urgent help to save myself, my family and my music career.
In the chapters to come I will be sharing in great depth with regards to how it all started what happened, and where, and I look forward to seeing you through the ride. For now though, I must say that I am grateful to be sober. I am grateful to have the chance to live a wholesome life without the pressures of an alcoholic lifestyle, taking each day in stride as I slowly rebuild what was once shattered. At this moment in time my voice is as clear as my vision and there is immense clarity in my purpose as well as my mission as a young, talented, conscious African queen. Most of all, I am happy that my children have their mother sober, focused and full of life and positive ambitions.
This is a shout-out to every alcoholic out there who acknowledges that they need help but does not know who to turn to or where to start. You are not alone, but you must stand up on your own. Putting the bottle aside is a personal decision that friends can do very little about. The fair weather friends especially, will not be there for you when things hit rock bottom and you are struggling to survive; feeding off hopeless aims and aimless hopes as you slip in and out of drunkenness like a shadow. They most definitely won’t be there when the landlord kicks you out with your belongings on the street and sure as heaven won’t take you in. Even if they sympathize and do it, you mustn’t count on getting comfortable. Addicts have no value for irrelevant relationships that in no way support or complement their habits so you are bound to be a nuisance without money. Your friends know your secrets and more often than not they are the first ones who cast a stone and curse you for being a burden.
This is one of the biggest lessons I have come to learn: the power of friendships and the intrinsic role they play towards shaping one’s life. If you love yourself you will know where to tow a clear line between social popularity and self destruction; choosing sometimes to forgo a show of solidarity in unintelligent group decisions that yield not only in costly individual repercussions but often irreversible side effects as well. Liver Cirrhosis for instance can never be cured. Listen sometimes to the humble voice from within in between that habitual swig. Am sure you would know what to do next. Have a lovely, sober and productive day, will you?
 
Love,
Sharon.
 
 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?


Chances are that this is how you, the AVERAGE Kenyan youth-man will get rewarded for spending the first 12 of the total 16 years being socialized by the 8-4-4 syllabus.
Chances are that you will be among the majority cut out of college/ university. For you that make it there, chances are that you will be studying something other than what you have always wanted.
For you who get to study what they think they wanted, chances are that you will never ever get a job in what you studied: this is if you don't realize midway that you don't like what you are studying as much or you 'discover' another calling.
For those who 'discover' this calling, chances are that you will never get support from either home, the government or the banks.
Chances are that you will get depressed and find yet another past time or outlet from the 'normal' society that is frustrating you.
Chances are that you will end up in one of the bars, that have purposely designed for your entertainment.
Chances are that you will get hooked onto alcohol and other supporting habits and that you will have to find a way to support these supporting habits.
Chances are that by the time you realize how much time you have wasted a long the way you will be ready to settle for anything to make an extra buck or anything that gives an illusion of hope :
Chances are that you will be used as either weapons of tribal war or you will end up voting in vampires for leaders who you will never see, never hear, never reach and never benefit from.
The cycle of chances continues......
What are your chances?
What are my chances?
Could all these things be coincidental chances or is there a chance that our lives were programmed for us long time ago?
There is a very big chance that you will never answer this question because chances are that you haven't read this post..

From the child of a victim - UNSPOKEN IN SILENCE


Dear Mama,
I am writing this letter express my gratitude for everything you have done for me.
I salute you for your courage and strength and making the decision to keep me.
For that I will be eternally grateful; there is no one like you mama.
I Know that a lot has changed in your life since I came into the picture. You never wanted me, you couldn't have, given the way I was conceived. I know papa did something very wrong and that he got away unpunished. I also know that I am a product of  that union and a constant reminder of a painful experience that you would rather put behind you.
I know that you suffer a lot inside and I am so sorry for being a part of the problem.
I see the way you look at me sometimes mama,
I can see the pain in your eyes even though you try your best to conceal it with a smile;
I know that sometimes you are afraid of what the future holds for you, for me, for us, but I just wanted to tell you that it will be okay.
I also wish that you could learn to let go of the bitterness and hurt and create some room for me inside your heart. How I wish that you could give happiness a chance.
I would like to see you cry less mama.
You have a terrific smile that I wish you would use more often.
I know that a lot of your friends left, and so did most of the family.
I know they blame you for what happened. I hear some saying that you lied against papa and that you brought it all upon yourself. Others say that you must have done something to provoke him. 
Many times you've expressed the desire to give me up for adoption but I would not like that mama. You are my family and my best friend mama.
I would be so miserable without you in my life.
You might think that I am just a child and I know nothing but I want you to know today that my silence means that I understand everything.
I am sorry about everything mama and
I, too is a victim mama.
Its no fault of mine and neither is it yours.
Its just you and I against the world, mama.
How I wish you would learn to love me and learn to love again.
Yours sincerely,
 Child.

*This piece comes in the form of a simple letter exploring the feelings of a child born out of rape. Children are emotionally intelligent beings and they pick up signals and vibrations communicated silently in such situations. They feel a lot of things that we fail to feel as grown ups. Children in such situations are victims as well, especially in the event they are confronted with their true parentage.