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Archive for January 9th, 2007

Tanzanian appointed Deputy Secretary General!

Posted by African Press International on January 9, 2007

Story Lifted by : longstory cutshort

2007-01-09 10:17:20
Authored By Pastory Nguvu

The newly appointed Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, has pledged to push for world peace, security and equality among rich and poor countries.

Dr. Migiro, who was speaking to journalists yesterday on arrival at Mwalimu Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, said she would also fight for abolition of the death penalty in countries that still embraced capital punishment.

Thousands of Dar es Salaam residents, cabinet ministers, members of parliament and diplomats turned up at the airport to give her a hero?s welcome when she arrived from Botswana.

Dr Migiro was appointed last week by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as his deputy.

?I was shocked when I received a call from President Jakaya Kikwete informing me of the appointment. However, I received the message with calmness and confidence,? she said.

Dr. Migiro said one of challenges she would face in her new post was to ensure that peace and tranquility prevailed in the world.

?This is the major task of the United Nations. Without peace and security, there will be no development.

I have many experiences concerning United Nation activities. I understand problems of various nations because of my previous position in the government.

Before her appointment, Dr Migiro was the minister for foreign affairs and international cooperation.

She said that the fact that she grew in abject poverty would give her courage to collaborate with her colleagues to set up programmes that would help end the problem.

?I am extremely happy to have a woman from Tanzania as a Deputy UN Secretary.

Her appointment is a testimony of the important role which she has played at international level,? said Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the UN Resident Coordinator for Tanzania.

Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Abasi Kandoro said Dr. Migiro?s appointment had brought great hope to Tanzania.

SOURCE: Guardian
 
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Can my request to settle in Norway be rejected?

Posted by African Press International on January 9, 2007

Rejection

Rejection means that you are temporarily denied entry into Norway, or must leave the country. A rejection order does not mean that, in the future, you will be denied entry into or residence in Norway.

What is a rejection?

Being rejected means that you are temporarily denied entry into Norway, or must leave the country. The decision does not however imply a prohibition on future re-entry. You can in principle return the next day, if the reason for expulsion is repaired. This means that a rejection order will not prevent you from future entry into Norway. Here is an example: You are rejected when entering Norway because you lack the appropriate travel documents (e.g. passport) or have incomplete travel documents. If you later come to Norway with valid travel documents, the rejection order will no longer prevent your entry. Beware however of the following: If you are sent out of the country at the cost of the state, the amount involved must be paid before you can travel again to Norway.

Grounds for rejection

Grounds for rejection among others include:

  • Lacking or having incomplete travel documents
  • Lacking a work or residence permit, or not being able to substantiate the stated purpose of your stay in Norway 
  • Not having, or not being able to guarantee, sufficient means for your stay and return journey
  • Having a ban on entry to Norway which remains valid
  • Being registered in the Schengen Information System (SIS) as not to be permitted entry 
  • Owing public money for previous deportation

There may also be grounds for rejection if you:

  • Have been sentenced for a crime, if there is justifiable concern that you may commit a criminal act, or if you suffer from a serious mental illness
  • Are considered to constitute a threat to the national security or public order of Norway or another Schengen country The majority of rejection orders are issued by the police. However, the Directorate of Immigration may also issue a rejection order.

Who can be rejected?

In principle everyone who does not fulfil the conditions for entry or residence in Norway can be expelled. Separate rules apply to persons who come under the EU/EEA-agreement.

Reflection period for victims of human trafficking

A rejection order may be suspended for persons who are considered to be victims of human trafficking. Called a reflection period, this is intended to give the victim an opportunity to obtain practical information and help. More details about the conditions for being granted a reflection period can be found in the UDI circular 2004-019.

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africanpress@chello.no

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Permit for stronger protection in Norway!

Posted by African Press International on January 9, 2007

How do I apply?

To apply for a settlement permit, you must complete an application form (GP-7111). The application must be submitted to the police in the district where you live, and at least one month before your residence or work permit expires. If the application has been submitted in time, you are entitled to remain in Norway under the same conditions as before, until your application has been processed.

What must the application include?

When you are applying for a settlement permit, the following documents must accompany the application:

Who makes the decision about the application?

The police have the authority to grant a settlement permit in cases where there is no doubt that the terms for the permit have been met. In practice, this means that the police handle most applications for a settlement permit.

If the police have any doubt as to whether the terms for the permit have been met, the case must be passed on to the UDI for a decision. Circumstances which could cause doubt as to whether the terms for the permit have been met may include numerous or long trips abroad during the past three years, lack of clarity regarding the grounds for various permits or late submission of applications. It is up to the police in each individual case to determine whether the application should be processed by them or referred to the UDI.

How long will it take to process my application?

When you apply for a settlement permit, you will receive automatic notification in the mail that the immigration authorities have received your application. This letter will contain information about how long processing may take.

In order to avoid unnecessary case processing delays, it is important to take care when completing the application form and to include all the requested documentation.

Settlement permit sticker

The settlement permit is represented by a sticker in your passport. The sticker functions as a return-visa to Norway and the other Schengen area. It is valid for two years, and must therefore be renewed after this time. You must go to the police to have the sticker inserted in your passport, but it is not necessary to apply for renewal in advance. You can renew the sticker no more than six months before it expires.

An expired sticker does not mean that you have lost leave to settle. However, without a valid visa sticker, as a foreign national who requires a visa, you will require your own visa to re-enter Norway. It is therefore important to ensure that an expired sticker is renewed before leaving the country.

EU/EEA citizens who have a settlement permit do not require a sticker, as they can enter Norway without a visa.

The settlement permit provides you with a general entitlement to live, work or operate a commercial enterprise in Norway for an indefinite period. The permit also gives you stronger protection against deportation than a permit with a time-limit. The permit entitles the holder to repeated entry into Norway.

Can I appeal against a decision?

If your application for a settlement permit is rejected, you may appeal against this decision. Unless the UDI reverses its decision, it is the Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) that will make the final decision regarding the appeal. The processing of the appeal is free of charge.

Can I lose my settlement permit?

Although a settlement permit entitles you to stay in Norway indefinitely, it is a requirement that you actually live in the country. If you live abroad for two or more years after being granted a settlement permit, you will lose your permit.

In some cases, you may apply for an exemption to this rule if you have a good reason for living abroad for an extended period of time. You must apply for such an exemption in plenty of time before the end of the two-year limit. Decisions on the loss of a settlement permit and on entitlement to live outside Norway for longer than two years are made by the UDI.

Lifted info by
Korir, African Press in Norway, APN

africanpress@chello.no

source.DI

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“There is no right way to do a wrong thing”, says Martin Mulei!

Posted by African Press International on January 9, 2007

This is a reaction to unnecessarily expletive and highly explosive media exchanges among political and social commentators on the media (mainly non-staff, opinion and commentaries contributors). There is a need to be a great deal more modest in claims we make about our prowess and our various capacities, more important, in our judgment of others, because we never really know all there is to know about each other.

Humility too, recognizing that though we may have incredible human qualities than others, it is not for us ultimately to judge one another.

Wisdom reminds us that pride and loss of humility, is the root of every evil. It is when the now fallen angels began to look upon themselves with self-complacency that they were led to disobedience and were cast down from the light of heaven into outer darkness. Even so, it was when the serpent breathed the poison of pride, the desire to be God, into the hearts of our first parents that they too fell from their high estate into all the wretchedness in which man is now sunk. In heaven and earth, pride and self-exaltation are the gate and birth and the curse of hell.

None of us is immune to pride, and the problem is that as our heads swells, so they shrink. The prevalent unnecessarily explosive and expletive media exchanges and arrogance, really stem from fear and insecurity, and in the end the image they intend to portray that of, bigger and better than others is actually the flip side of the reality that one feels smaller and inadequate than others. Proper humility helps us avoid the hubris that can so quickly turn us into hopelessness.

 Thanks to some individuals’ efforts and fight to create the current freedom of expression atmosphere prevalent in Kenya, of course without being ignorant of the technological developments.

But also wisdom cautions us not to ignore the fact sometimes those who oppose oppressiveness could also end up becoming like what they most abhorred. Tragically there is evidence those who opposed colonialism in Kenya and successive oppressive regimes have become brutalized themselves and descended to the same low levels as those they were opposing.

Of course there are few who have remarkably been able to maintain their humanity even under the most brutal circumstances. We have seen their contributions inspire others, embolden others who were timid, to stand up to the truth in the midst of distortion, propaganda and deceit, for human dignity and decency at times when they were in desperately short supply.

I am not in any mood to censor or censure no one because those who work tirelessly for the freedom of expression, technologically or against oppressive regimes do not envision freedom of expression for the privileged few neither do they call us to engage in an intellectual exercise. However, the privilege of being a leader in this field requires not only the active engagement of our minds but also the warm embrace of our hearts. If we do not keep both in view, a generous heart can make error look like truth, just as arrogance can make truth look like error.

Who can measure the confusion that occurs when truth is spoken with condemnation and self-righteousness, while lies are told with patience and love? Just contemplate a Heaven where angels speak with arrogance and a hell where demons speak with devotion to their enemies?

Truth spoken without love is devastatingly harmful. Love expressed without truth is tragically misleading.

Let Kenyans express themselves, no matter how dumb, partisan or illogical, each and every one of them has a message, whether in the Diaspora or in Kenya. We need not lose sight of what comprises our community; scholars, illiterates, wealthy, peasants, poor, disabled both physically, mentally and spiritually, but none is more or a lesser Kenyan than the other. We all are part of our nation’s problems and part of the solution too.

I refuse the notion that, those who are in the Diaspora have no right neither are they welcome to comment on current political and social issues in Kenya. Just for the record my fetus, my wife’s and my children’s are buried in Kenyan soil and, in case the maternity hospitals fed them to animals, the animals excreted on Kenyan soil.

Isn’t it ironic that, in times of conflict, we all have right on our side?  Whether our disagreements are tribal, political, marital, ecclesiastical, local or international. How quickly do we seek allies and immediately claim and hold the moral high ground?

Many are the commentaries written by Kenyans in the Diaspora which are very inspiring, factual and enlightening. Of course some display partisanship, arrogance, pain and hate and total disregard of the ethics of the profession, and sometimes the authors end up portraying their sense of self-importance instead of the subject matter.

Many are exposing themselves as compliant accomplices, advancing their own political or personal agendas in the process of assisting their preferred subject. Of course others are simply a dupe, gullible or innocent pawns of political scheming and deceit swirling behind closed doors.We know once their commentaries are published, they dine and party on their revelations and perceived insight for essentially the same reason that officials violate their oaths of confidentiality in order to be perceived as members of a know it all insiders elite,- talk of vanity. And for once don’t think they are all driven by patriotism or are objective and fair with no political axes to grind!
 
All of us seek to build a peaceful nation of equal but competitive opportunities devoid of classification;- the source of discrimination. Them and us. They are illiterate, they are different because their tongue clicks different from ours, they fear the cut, we don’t, they live in Landimawe and we live in Loresho, we went to college and they didn’t.

Kenya’s political future is so important to all of us to be left in the hands of a few self-appointed intellectual commentators who are anyway displaying open bias towards their preferred subjects. Should we only pay attention to commentators because they are scholars or because they are Kenyans?

To get a true sense of these media intimidations one is inclined to recall, those must read commentaries by “Expert Political Commentators and  University Lecturers”, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana and Gibson Kamau Kuria and prominent lawyers Gitobu Imanyara, Kiraitu Murungi etc. Hopefully the current analysists/commentators are not motivated by future political largesse or the obove hypocritical metamorphic skills.

This is not a tactic or a clever way of sneaking political messages across but genuinely believes that all the commentators are driven by their desire to offer us all guidance and not judgment and dupery, advice, clarifications, experience and not condemnation.

We can build Kenya out of seekers of truth, but not out of possessors of truth, because not all of us would have the same truth, and each one of us would feel obliged to defend his truth as being the only valid. The sad part is, we never even notice how unpleasant and unbearable we become when we insist we are always right. And equally sad is that the more we suspect we may  in fact have been wrong, the more stubbornly we fight to justify ourselves.
 
IF only some of these commentaries could have been stripped off, the fangs of hate and arrogance, fear and insecurity, self-righteousness and sycophancy, labeling and caging they could have strongly communicated the message without being dismissive of their opponent’s ideas. Not too long ago, I was engaged in a debate with an intellectual cabinet minister which ran for weeks;- but abruptly he demanded I hold current Kenyan leaders with esteem for they are Gods anointed, but then I reminded him, that bin Laden (real or a creation) claims to be anointed by God to kill. He has since severed our communications.

When Raila uttered the now infamous “Kibaki Tosha” for once many saw a savior anointed to save Kenyans from their tribal self-destruction. Weren’t we wrong? ONE. Kenya’s problem is not tribalism; it is deeper than our tribes. TWO although tribalism is a reality, it is a disguise which every five years gets repackaged for a formidable rebirth. Never mind we are now busy acting midwives to the next rebirth. Ironically it is these unfounded backwardness tribal prejudices, Raila sought to kick start towards their deservedly road leading to their final burial with his “Tosha” proclamation which are being repackaged to continue duping and manipulating the masses against him.

Where is the real problem?

Strong institutions in Kenya do not exclude political parties. Our political institutions are severely compromised and flawed, yet we expect them to be pioneers and custodians of our institutions without first addressing the all obvious flaws. How can we keep on denying and ignoring that ours are not convenient political clubs, aptly constituted and reconstituted to perpetuate political dupery, naively or deliberately supported even by scholars at the whims and for the interests of the RULING ELITE? If we have reliable and effective institutions, authentic and reliable politicians, why are we fidgeting and worrisome about party leadership contests; shouldn’t we trust the institutions to sort out the right candidates? And why are we politicking non-stop 24 hours, Monday to Sunday, January to December?

Ironically we always accept to be entered into the tournament for the match of our lives without even agreeing on what constitutes a penalty or an off-side (I do not advocate for boycotts, but rather for uncompromising quest for reforms). As history has shown us, there is never a new beginning or a renewal without first changing the rules. We can as well go and elect an angel to the presidency, as long the laws are as they are, THERE WILL NEVER BE A BETTER THAN,- Kenyatta, Moi or Kibaki.

Our leaders are ineffective, paralyzed and importent contributors to our miseries.All they do is lie to us that we are victims and they are leading us to salvation and prosperity. But they are leading us to their prosperity not ours.They distort the fact that Independence was won to free us and enrich our lives in freedom without compromising our morals. Remember Kenyatta’s independence speech, declaring his government’s commitment to eradicate poverty, disease and illiteracy?

Then why after 43 years of independence, majority of Kenyans are still living in hopelessness, abject poverty, dying of curable diseases and entrapped in contradictory morals. Why are our politicians still engaged in tribal arguments, patronage and political largesse instead of modernization, wealth creation, social issues, modern day challenges, social safety nets etc.

Each politician is promising and swearing to give Kenya a new constitution, but even for those who are being touted to be our political saviors the loopholes which weakens our institutions are Godsend. Needless to say their backers would also use them to throw rings around them for exclusivity. (According to Kenyan political intelligentsia, ideologies notwithstanding, politicians are same and think alike as long as at a particular period they belong to the same political club, but overnight some become neophyte and non-match if and when they happen to back the opposing political club) And YES! Some are more politically equal than others? YES! Looks become campaign issues?

We crave for exclusivity. We crave to be different, we crave even for exclusive leaders limited to us, a certain group of people, special people not the common type, yet we are dependant on the commoners for this exclusivity. Even for the simplest of the tasks in the hands of a Kenyan is not worthy pursuing until it’s transformed into a complex, unique and intriguing mystique. Aren’t we great? We even treat the weak, the poor, the unemployed, the failures with disdain, because success and power and mystique are the gods at whose altars we are burning incense and bowing the knees.

This is how we change our leaders (all spheres of leadership including political, academicals, social etc) into demigods in pursuit of our own exclusivity, although experience has shown no matter how high we carry them, whenever we drop them, which we eventually do their feet and ours too, land exactly within the footprints from which we lifted them off the ground. Yet we keep on ignoring the evidence that there is no defeat more terrible than the defeat of our hearts driven wild by a desire for mystique power.

In the words of the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, “Your defenders defends you from your defenders” So true, especially in Kenya where previously we may have had sycophants, but today, Kibaki, Raila and Kalonzo have acquired for themselves fanatical supporters who are not only defending them from their defenders but are alienating their would be voters from them too.

Many a times one hears “Kibaki is a fence sitter” but are we sure it is not our reflection deflected from Kibaki? We better stop the lie and consciously dismantle the fences which are unconsciously imprisoning us. Kibaki has proved he is not a fence sitter. We Are!

Do we really want change?

Authentic resolutions and desire for a change do not mean insisting the world around us change, but it necessitates turning within and examining where our own energies are blocked in relation to the experience upsetting us. Majority of Kenyans understand this fact all too well, but choose to bury their heads in the sand ignoring the basis of our conflicts.

Since many aspects within conflicts spring from individuals selfish success-plans or have their awareness encompassed by our archaic tribal delusions, we can expect increasing conflicts as always stemming from resistance to change. However circumstances and time continues to push our conflicts into a “grace in disguise” phase; there are indications our conflicts are starting to eat up all that cannot and will not change. Wisdom reminds us nature does not support stray egos fuelled by self-indulgent intent. We either change course at our own pace or eventually wait to be forced to by circumstances beyond our control. It is time to let our tribal prejudices and political patronage and selfishness go. They are only ripping us all apart.

Real change can only come when the pain of having something in our lives not working exceeds the pain of making a change, or when the rewards of change exceeds the rewards of resistance. We have come a long way to realize change do not require resolutions we cannot keep or the guilt that follows our failure, but the intense awareness that accompanies self-confrontation. We fear self-confrontation, often choosing self-righteousness to shield us from the one thing that can move us forward; – self confrontation. Self-righteousness does not bring change, self-confrontation does.

Most of the change we think we see in Kenya is always due to truths being in and out of favor. In his self-perceived ingenious, Charles Njonjo made “ Moi Tosha” believing he was laying his own foundation for the presidency, but the herdsman he thought would last 24 months on the throne, ended up misruling Kenya for 24 years. We all know LDP’s support for Kibaki was a deception, first calculated on the basis of ethnicity to block Uhuru and on the basis of Kibaki’s age. With or without the MOU, the calculation seems to have been the throne would be there for the taking this year. The 2002 presidential election was the mother of all deceptions and we all are stuck in its consequences.

Wisdom reminds us, causes have effects and if we lie to ourselves and to others then we cannot expect to find truth and reality whenever we happen to want them. If we have chosen the way of falsity we must not be surprised that truth eludes us when we finally come to need it. That is where we are now in Kenya.

Ironically Kenya is reputed to have had one of the most revered freedom struggles in the world (Mau Mau) which inspired many other reputable struggles around the world including the struggle against Apartheid. Many in South Africa including Rolihlahla Mandela tried to tell us that much, but we were not interested. Today, our own leaders including Prof. Wangari Maathai are urging us to emulate Mandela and South Africa’s democracy and governance. Surely we cannot be that disingenuous to only crave for the final product, “Mandela and his peoples democracy” while trying to avoid the chisels which shaped the final product we see today; – authenticity, humility, humane, generous, selfless, firm and resolute to our calling.

When LDP started rebelling against Kibaki’s regime, they had convincing reasons; – betrayal and ideological differences. Partly this led to the overwhelming victory against the flawed Wako draft. Sadly and increasingly they are coming across as driven by their personal competing egoistic impulses, instead of collective genuine resolve on ideologies and the quest for the ever elusive constitutional reforms. What a field day for the opinion polls pollsters and a second term gift for the incumbent?

The 2002 elections had all the hallmarks of a revolution. But our ideology of political revolution has and cannot change anything except appearances. Of course there will be violence, and power will pass from one group to another but when the smoke clears and the bodies of the entire dead are underground, the situation will essentially be the same as it was before;-minority of strong men in power exploiting all the others for their own ends. There will be the same greed and cruelty and lust and ambition and avarice and hypocrisy as before because superficial revolutions can only bring superficial regimes.

True moral high ground

Unfortunately the world continues to become too complicated for us, making us vulnerable to the person who offers to reduce the agony of our decision making with supportive loving professionals and minders. At its worst, this vulnerability gives us an Adolf Hitler, who strode into the moral decay and economic ruin of Germany in the 1930s and said, “Follow me, never question me, and I will lead you out of this”. In our own small ways we keep on trying to mimic the same?

Of course reality dictates it would be naive to expect pure perfection here on earth. Sad to say people are imperfect and anyone looking for pure perfection must look where there are no people.

We are constantly reminded that the evil impulse is such an intimate part of every one of us that we cannot remove it; we cannot isolate it without drastically harming ourselves in the process. It would be like asking a brain surgeon to operate on us and remove the parts of our brains that give rise to “bad thoughts and motivation for evil” without harming the rest of the brain. However this is not to say we tolerate pure mediocrity and evil.

As maturity experiences would teach us one cannot be complete without having to wrestle with his own demons and for that matter with his own angel. Like lifting weights at the gym to become stronger, we strengthen our moral fiber by the exercise of resisting temptation.

And when one cannot identify and understand the impulses which summons him to be selfish, impatient and insensitive, he is yet to lift enough moral weights in the temptation Gym. This is how I view the impatience, expletives, self-delusions and arrogance being displayed in our modern day commentaries both in the public media and in the internet, and also in Kenya’s murky political terrain.

Think of Martin Luther King Junior’s life. We have learnt that he indulged in many extramarital dalliances while he was leading the battle for civil rights in the 1960s, but his behavior does not diminish what he did to cleanse America’s soul of taint of racial segregation. We cannot dismiss the civil-rights crusade because its leading exponent was guilty of adultery. Many in the US admit many things that John Kennedy and Bill Clinton did for their country despite what they learnt about their extramarital involvements. But at the same time I don’t think they say adultery cannot be that bad if good people like Kennedy, Clinton and King did it; the message being, Good people do bad things and if they weren’t tempted by their negative impulses, they might not be capable of the mightily good things they do.

We want to punish wrongdoers because we want to live in a safer and just world, a world on which people are protected from criminals and wrongdoers suffer the consequences of their bad behaviour.But if we believe in meting out justice we also need to believe we are good people. But also part of us feels guilty when we have hurt someone, even if we believe that person deserves to be hurt. The ambivalence in getting even is that our consciences condemn it even as our souls crave it. It has been suggested that Shakespeare set his great revenge plays, Hamlet, Othello and Coriolanus not in England but in Denmark, Cyprus and Rome as a way of playing to his audience’s emotions, giving them what they wanted to see, while at the same time saying these people doing these things are not us.They are exotic foreigners. Our tribalism prejudices, exclusivity, political patronage and hostilities is our way of isolating and exiling our own people and making them exotic foreigners in their own land.

The problem however arise when people fear that they cannot depend on society to administer justice, that the courts are slow, unreliable, or inclined to play favorites or that the law is full of loopholes that let the guilty escape. We then face the uncomfortable choice between letting a guilty person go free and taking the responsibility for punishing into our own hands, with the bitter aftertaste and sense of moral compromise that often entails.

Many acknowledge to have sat in movie theatres, their hearts rejoicing at the retributive violence of movie characters even as their conscience condemned the mindless destruction. A passage in the Talmud describes God as rebuking the angels who were cheering at the sight of Egyptian army drowning in the Red Sea: “How can you cheer? They too are My creatures”. If even angels are moved to delight at the downfall of the wicked, how can we not be? And if God condemns the angels’ delight as improper, how can we not be embarrassed by our own?

The relevance of Moses’ Bible mission

First we must realize that oppression is as old as human beings and there will never be shortage of oppressors as long as human beings exist. Moses and Ramses the Prince and later the Pharaoh grew up together, greatly caring about each other but enemies and never stopped being brothers.A lie made them brothers but the truth separated them forever. Conscious or unconsciously whenever one is obliged to free an oppressed community he/she inherits Moses’ mission.

Whether he was divinely guided or otherwise, Moses faced skepticism from his own people he so craved to free. But one of his fiercest pessimist critic and brother Aaron ended up inheriting his mission and those who encouraged him among them his sister Miriam did not do it blindly, neither acted in a detrimental way to compromise his mission.

Healing, Revenge or Vindictiveness?

Kenyans have had their share of traumatic hostilities but we continue to mask our trauma, even when it is all clearly manifested in our midst. This is why we cannot ignore what happened in South Africa after the apartheid. For those who fear the truth, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation experience is worthy considering. The victims and relatives of victims of apartheid violence did not seek to hurt those who had hurt them.They wanted their dignity as human beings restored to them and when Desmond Tutu’s Truth and reconciliation Commission endorsed their testimony they got their dignity back. They wanted to reclaim power over their own lives. Although some felt unsatisfied that so many wrongdoers were not punished more severely, most felt no need to see them hurt.The commission had given them what they needed. Revenge would have been an inadequate substitute. The healing of South Africa was an unanticipated outcome. It is starting to have the same effects in Northern Ireland.

As South Africa and recently Northern Ireland experiences seems to suggest what victims most commonly seek is vindication.They want public acknowledgement that what happened to them was wrong.They want the burden of shame lifted from their shoulders and placed where it belongs.

Responsibility:

It may seem almost natural when we see evil or crime in others; to try to correct it by destroying them or at least putting them out of sight. It is easy to identify the evil with the sinner when he is someone other than our own self. In ourselves, it is the other way round, we see evil but we have great difficulty in shouldering responsibility for it. We find it very hard to identify our sin with our own will and our own malice. We also tend to unconsciously ease ourselves more of the burden of guilt that is in us by passing it on to somebody else. The temptation is always to account for our faults by seeing equivalent amount of evil in others. Hence minimizing our own evil and compensating for doing so by exaggerating the faults of others.

Experience shows we make the situation much worse by artificially intensifying our sense of evil, and by increasing our propensity to feel guilt even for things which are not in themselves wrong. In all these we build up such an obsession with evil, both in ourselves and in others, that we waste all our mental energy trying to account for this evil, to punish it or to get rid of it in any way we can.We drive ourselves mad with our preoccupation and in the end there is no outlet left but violence. We have to destroy something or someone. By that time we have created for ourselves a perfect enemy, a scapegoat in whom we have invested all the evil in the world. He is the cause of every wrong, the source of conflict. If he can only be destroyed, conflict will cease, evil will be done with. There will be no more war (Saddam Hussein?).

This kind of fictional thinking is especially dangerous when it supported by a whole elaborate pseudo-scientific structure of myths, like those which Marxists have adopted as their ersatz for religion. It is certainly no less dangerous when it operates in the vague, fluid, confused and unprincipled opportunism, which substitutes in the west for religion, for philosophy and even for mature thought, and in Africa for hero worshipping and tribalism.

May be with a benefit of hindsight, we may understand why South Africans did not take the Iraq option; – to hang P.Botha, Adrian Vlok …(South Africa constitution does not provide for death penalty) But as my teacher reminded me recently, you know how people treat God by the way they treat their fellow humans.

Malicious criticism:

Basically human nature is dominated by superstitious tendency to associate failure with dishonesty and guilt; failure being interpreted as punishment. Even if a man starts with good intentions, if he fails we tend to think he was somehow at fault, if he was not guilty, he was at least wrong and being wrong is something we have not yet learned to face with equanimity and understanding. We either condemn it with god-like disdain or forgive it with god-like condescension. We do not manage to accept it with human compassion, humility and identification. And we fail to see the one truth that would help us begin to solve; for example our ethical and political problems; that we are all more or less wrong, that we all are at fault, all limited and obstructed by our mixed motives, our self-deception, our greed, our self-righteousness and our tendency to aggressivity and hypocrisy.

In our refusal to accept the partial good intentions of others and work with them we are unconsciously proclaiming our own malice, our own intolerance, our own lack of realism, our own ethical and political quackery as we all witnessed immediately after Kibaki’s arguments lost in the referendum.

Perhaps in the end the first real step towards a solution would be a realistic acceptance of the fact that our political ideas are perhaps to a great extent illusion and fictions to which we cling out of motives that are not always perfectly honest; that because of this we prevent ourselves from seeing any good or any practicability in the political ideas of our enemies; which may of course be in many ways even more illusory and dishonest than our own. We shall never get anywhere unless we can accept the fact that politics is an inextricable tangle of good and evil motives in which, perhaps, the evil predominate, but one must continue to hope doggedly in what little good can still be found.

But if we all acknowledge that we are all equally wrong or feel obliged to act only when we assume that we are in the right; all political actions will instantly be paralyzed. Wisdom reminds us the basis for valid political action can only be the recognition that the true solution to our problems is not accessible to any one isolated group or tribe but all of us must arrive at it by working together. May be, and maybe then, we would learn to emulate a true compassionate family of tribes and perhaps address the injustices that cause a small percentage of our people consume the vast majority of her resources while the vast majority live in poverty.

This does not encourage the guilt-ridden thinking that it is sexy to be wrong in everything, because this is also an evasion of responsibility, for every form of oversimplification tends to make decisions ultimately meaningless. We must try and learn to accept ourselves, whether individually or collectively, not only as perfectly good or perfectly bad, but in our mysterious unaccountable mixture of good and evil. We have to stand by the modicum of good that is in us without exaggerating it. We have to defend our real rights because unless we respect our own rights we will certainly not respect the rights of others. But on the same time we have to recognize that we have willfully or otherwise trespassed on the rights of others and admit it not only as a result of self-examination, but when it is pointed out unexpectedly and perhaps not too gently, by someone else. These principles which I believe govern personal moral conduct, which make harmony possible in small social units like the family also apply in the wider area of the state.

It is however, quite absurd in our present situation or in any other, to expect these principles to be universally accepted as the result of moral exhortations. There is very little hope that our country all of a sudden will be run according to them as a result of some hypothetical change of heart on the part of politicians. It is useless and even laughable to base political thought on the faint hope of a purely contingent and subjective moral illumination in the hearts of our politicians. It would also be sentimental folly to expect them to trust one another when they obviously cannot be trusted.

But also let us not allow depressed, confused, pessimistic, cynical and apocalyptic-minded individuals or groups pollute a vision that the future of our nation is blessed by forces greater than any political agenda, tribal and political hegemony, political patronage and mystique power.

Finally, we tend to think of power as when we are able to use verbs in the imperative mood and give orders. Jesus said no. And as Moses’ Bible mission reminds us, it is giving your life, in serving the weakest, the most vulnerable, that we discover true power. That is what we see with Dalai Lama, Gandhi, King, Mother Teresa and Mandela. These people extraordinarily spendthrifts made people’s knees turn into jelly fish. Yet people like Mandela do not have power in the conventional sense, neither was he a president of a particularly impressive country or military power, but the world recognizes his moral power. Even atheists know they are better people when they love than when they hate. We recognize and admire compassion and goodness. We believe that goodness should be triumphant all the time, which is part of why we sometimes despair. But then the question remains, why should we be upset when awful things happen if we did not believe that goodness should prevail?

At the end true leaders are in politics or in any other leadership mission not for self-aggrandizement but for the sake of others. Their authenticity is reflected by their purity, cleanliness, gentleness, calmness, nonviolent, forgetful of themselves, detached and above all when they are humble and obedient to reason and grace. The perfect do not have to reflect on the details of their actions and deeds, neither do they need intelligentsia sycophancy.

And none of us thinks we are wrong about anything?
Ladies and Gentlemen our own APARTHEID, you be the judge.

May the Almighty GOD bless Kenyans indeed and lead them into a soul searching and a reflective 2007.

By:

Martin Mule
Köln. Germany.
January 2007.

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | 1 Comment »

 
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