Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Land of gloom

Rise and shine, you tell yourself. Look into the mirror and head to the vendor to buy the papers. Front page headline; "90 killed in oil tanker fire tragedy". The story tells of how villagers rushed to their death, smiles written all over their faces, jerrycans in their hands and money on their mind.

The previous week, 26 people had perished in a supermarket fire in the city centre. There were bodies that had yet to be identified from the rubble when the oil tanker exploded at dusk.

Some few weeks later, the terror network that is Mungiki is again in the headlines having killed over 20 people in Kerugoya in a revenge attack on two of their own a week earlier.

Before the tears have even touched the ground, some accident happens and kills dozens of school kids out on a trip at, ironically, Hell's Gate National Park.

Ever since the post-election violence shook us to the core, Kenya has seen nothing but a string of bad news and from the look of things, that won't be stopping anytime soon. The grim reaper seems to have found a nice piece of estate in Kenya.

Turn on your television, your radio, flip the pages of your newspaper, its nothing but gloomy faces and stories from human interest stories to our National team, Harambee Stars. We are so desperate for heroes that we are ready to crown anyone who looks the part.

We have so got used to bad news that we just feel pity for the affected and move on. There is not enough time to worry about one tragedy for long, there will be another just as bad, if not worse.

It is not unusual listening to people comparing tragedies if only to make them feel better. We now use bad news as ice breakers and then move on to other niceties.

A story about the IDPs has almost become an acceptable mistake. We were shocked when the stories first came out but they have since turned to be just another news story in the media.

The issue of the Mau forest has politicians smelling free PR and everybody wants to give their take. How else would you explain a politician telling the locals about how trees are useless because rain comes from the sky and not the trees and then he hops onto his helicopter leaving the poor people holding on to their tattered clothes from being blown away?

I guess misery loves company and there's a lot of "friend requests" from Kenya. We do have good news, but want to bet which one sticks to mind?

The age old adage about "What doesn't kill you can only make you stronger" may be true in our case, only that, it makes people stronger to kill more.

Every youth wants to talk about "doing something" and then immediately starts looking for Friday night rendezvous.

The biggest question in Kenya right now is what's the way forward and nobody seems to have an answer for that except for the same politicians who put us in this mess in the first place.

That's another thing about Kenya, a "clean" politician is one who has not caused the deaths of many people or has a big voting block behind him.

It is also about how well you can spin the bad news associated with you until people forget. And boy don't Kenyans have a short memory!


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