Life must go on.  I don’t know how many times I said that last week, as I returned to my routine on Monday, wandering around the city in jua kali mode, watching the smoke on our skyline from a distance, all the while thanking my (possibly nonexistent) guardian angel that me and mine were all safe, and then berating myself for thinking only of myself while others were not as fortunate.  In talking to others, I got the same impression, that we are relieved to not be involved but also yearning to get involved.  That's why we had the massive lines at the blood donation centres and record amounts raised on the mpesa number.  For some reason the Westgate attack managed to break through the apathy we have perfected, the apathy that sees us shrug when 100 plus people are killed in Tana River, when 40 plus policemen are murdered in Baragoi, when 41 people die in a road accident in Narok?  We are apathetic, until the violence lands on our doorstep, attacking our aspirations of western style living, our Art Caffe's and Java's, our Nakumatt, our Converse.  Where is our empathy for the tragedies that do not make it onto CNN? 


Are we really?

If you were online, you can't have missed the bile directed at either Al Shabaab, Somalia, Somalis, Somali refugees in Kenya, Muslims, basically anyone with any remote connection to the frontier districts, or a mosque.  Fortunately, talking about Muslims and terrorism no longer washes with us, we've learnt better, and the few ignorant idiots were quickly silenced.  #weareone!  Not that the bile stopped, it just became more vague, 'they' were the enemy, 'they' needed to be kicked out, or killed, or better still, captured alive and hung by the balls till they died.  That's another thing I saw, constant reference to torture, a la Jack Bauer, another notable mention.  From Jack it was a quick leap to the cops, and the army.  Oh my...  There were all manner of military/police/combat specialists mouthing off about the incompetence of our boys in blue, or green, talking about how the siege should have been handled within hours, and how they needed to storm the building with cruise missiles and shit.  The internet collectively ganged up on the cops and soldiers, until finally, running out of random terms to throw at each other, we kept quiet long enough for the voices of reason to be heard.  It's not the men on the ground who made mistakes, its their bosses.  Cue renewed anger, this time at the higher ups, the army honchos and the inspector of general things.  Problem is, shouting at those ones is a bit risky, because they have guns, and phone taps, and a convenient blanket of national security under which to hide their nakedness.  That and the fact that you risked being called 'unpatriotic', the worst possible slur at a time like this, for asking how 10-15 idiots were holding several truckloads of badass battle hardened KDF chaps at bay, in a mall, for days.  The cops and the army were off limits, because they are our first and last line of defence, these patriots are our...say it with me...heroes.

Alas, the mob needed a new target, and the digital government was only too happy to oblige, helpfully engaging in meaningless propaganda via twitter, and getting skewered because of it.  If there's one thing we've learnt during our digital revolution, its that Kenyans online are a mean bunch, and quite idle, and mobile data is pretty cheap.  Woi...  Gova was drawn and quartered, and then reassembled so we could do it all over again the following day.  Their incompetence was just what we needed to distract us from more serious issues.  The ministry of interiors and its hapless cabinet secretary with a chronic case of foot in mouth disease.  The ministry of da fence and it's perfectly coiffed and very mute lady boss.  The ministry of foreigner affairs and its speculative mkubwa who thought to float Al Qaeda theories on international TV.  The secretary for tourists who was quick to assure all wazungus that the country was safe, despite the nasty stuff on SKYNEWS.  The president who felt the need to...wait, we couldn't say anything bad about prezzo, he was grieving, woiyee, that's why he could barely read on Saturday night.  The deputy president then, he who rushed back home to lead us, claiming that the attack was specifically planned for when he was away, because he is oh so important...no wait, he invoked the 'living God', so we couldn't mock him either.  Lucky for us, there's always parliament, and Sonko.  These buggers chose to focus on 'the failure of our intelligence to prevent this attack', not realising they were exposing their own lack thereof.  They said the 'unpatriotic' things we couldn't, or wouldn't, say and for that they got some internet love too, bless 'em.  If there's one thing we've learnt from the internet revolution, its that we all detest parliament, no matter how many houses they add.

That's what we spent out time doing last week, throwing bile at those deemed worthy, all the while wrapped (warped?) in our flags, talking about how unified we are, and how we can never be defeated by a bunch of thugs, sorry, terrorists, and how much we so dearly hope our new found unity will last forever and ever. Ahem.  This is the same country that was at each others' throats only a week earlier, thanks to Hague TV, but throw in a couple of wagaidi and voila, #weareone.  Now that the siege is over, and the politics of blame and reshuffling has begun in earnest, watch us descend into our all too familiar anarchy, but before we completely lose our focus on the greater good, kindly go to the Kenya Red Cross and become a member.  Donate, continuously, better still volunteer, because there will be other crises after this, most of them blissfully ignored, and this is the one organisation we know will be there, come what may.

I sound cynical, yes?  Good.  I am cynical, very much so, I refuse to be lulled into a false sense of security by meaningless platitudes.  If we are one, then why does all this oneness not care about the carnage currently going on on our roads, refusing to hold anyone and everyone to account?  Why does your one not care about the other one who's claiming millions in expenses and allowances for trips not taken and meetings not attended, even as we still have a Judiciary holding court (quite literally) under trees?  Why does one ignore the funerals of others not related to mkubwa and therefore less newsworthy?  Why is the one denying the fact that there are families still looking for their missing loved ones, instead preferring to keep repeating silly press statements?

Today's track is 'Soobax' by K'naan, off his debut album, 'The Dusty Foot Philosopher'.  I could talk about why I picked this song, but the lyrics are self explanatory.  Incidentally, the translations are not mine, no doubt Doc, he who claims to speak the language, will let me know if they're off.  “With rapid drums and heavy synths, K'naan's message to criticize and challenge warlords who have pillaged Somalian soil comes to fruition in "Soobax." Although there has been a great deal of controversy with this track and religious values, K'naan openly decided to shoot the video for it in Kenya as he still decided it was something that needed to be done regardless of the slack he was receiving.”  K'naan :: The Dusty Foot Philosopher - album review  Watch Soobax - K'naan Official Music Video, if for no other reason than it shows our city in a light we don't see too much of any more, and then visit his site and sample his new (somewhat gentler) album.

Basically, I got beef, I wanna talk to you directly, 
I can't ignore, I can't escape, and that's cause, you affect me, 
You cripple me, you shackle me, you shatter my whole future in front of me, 
This energy, is killing me, 
I gotta let it pour like blood, soobax...

Dadkii waa dhibtee nagala soobax,
(You have exasperated the people, so come out with it)
Dhibkii waa batee nagala soobax,
(The troubles have increased, so come out with it)
Dhiigi waad qubtee nagala soobax,
(You've spilled the blood so that it drains on the roads, so come out with it)
Dhulkii waad gubtee nagala soobax...
(You've burnt the root of the earth, so come out with it)

We are one?  No, not really.  There is us, raia, and there is them, the idiots in charge.  That's the bad news.  Good news is, we, the raia, are stuck together, for better and for worse.  We can fight all we want, ignore each other till the cows come home and the chickens roost, but we are going exactly nowhere, not unless you have another country to move to.  Might I suggest we all stop with bullshit propaganda and feel good nonsense, and get on with it?  Wait, that is a hashtag I can live with.  #fuckumbaya!  Its a clever pun too, no? No?  Perhaps not.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'm calling the journos bad names, because they have tested me to no end...