“I hate politics.” I would say with an air of indifference as I grew, and there would be a murmur of agreement. We were too young to understand it so we spoke without thinking, feeling so justified. “It is a waste of time”, we echoed our parents thoughts.
I have always referred to myself as a political ignorant, and now I cringe just thinking about the term. Thinking about the 5billion shillings that was accounted stolen from the Health ministry two weeks ago, I cringe. Thinking about the kids who never got vaccinated because money for vaccines was taken, I cringe. Thinking about how I can’t possibly understand because I have health insurance, I cringe. Thinking about the mothers who haven’t lived to see their babies live because of the stolen money, I
cry cringe. Thinking about the mothers who lived to see their babies die, I die cringe. Thinking about how I have never experienced their hurt, breaks my heart makes me cringe.
Thinking about my friend *shout out to Kasi* who lost her sister because the health ministry has constant meaningless bureaucracy that takes place before a dying human being can be given the priority of life, I cringe. Thinking about how the government and public services are so detached from human life, I cringe. Thinking about how detachment so easily devalues human life I cringe.
Thinking about how, to claim political ignorance is privilege. There is a difference between ignorance and naivety. For the first you can know, you can understand, you can do something about the situation but you don’t. You choose not to. For the second, you really have no way of knowing or understanding the situation. To afford to be willingly ignorant is privilege. Understand it like this,
Education is to transmit from one generation to the next the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of the society, and to prepare the young people for their future membership in its maintenance or development- Julius Nyerere
Education then, which does not liberate through accumulated knowledge and wisdom to develop a people, is pointless. This is why, even after overcoming ignorance to simply be aware is not enough.
In Frantz Fanon’s book, ‘Wretched of the Earth’, which I have recently been studying for class, Fanon talks about what would happen after colonization if new developing African nations were not careful. He spoke on how after colonization the national bourgeoisie would fill the posts once reserved for colonists from within their party ranks. Then they would become the colonizers themselves on a lesser scale. This would give the people the illusion of freedom as their own would be in power. It would be an illusion, however, because, these new leaders still held imperialistic ideals and reigned in neo-colonialism. Sounds like a familiar scenario? When referring to the pitfalls of National Consciousness, he went on to talk about the sheer laziness of the middle-class who couldn’t be bothered to do anything more than act like they care.
Fannon believed then, that it is only through a violent insurrection aimed at destroying everything touched by colonialism that a new species of man will be created. He believed that since violence was used to implant power, violence could be the only effective tool to its dethronement. Some have called his view on ‘violence as an answer,’ extremism. However, looking at where we are verses his predictions before his death, we see a developing country that is falling a part from within, just as he said it would. Being comfortable in our state of complicity and pleading oblivion or ignorance is not getting us anywhere. Extremism may not be such a bad thing.
Fannon had several things right, a major one being, to ever see change, a people must get angry. A people must see injustice against their own and not take it lying down. It is not just a pretty option for activists who crave attention and heroes who want to go down remembered. It is the responsibility of every descent nationale to care. To not get so lost in their day to day world that they ignore the broken system that takes advantage of their people. This is why I love the Uncensored article by Magunga on how he is not a hero. He is just angry. Why I love this video
of a Kenyan woman simply asking, how angry Kenyans are?
This is why I was excited when on Thursday there was a public protest against corruption; hopefully the first of many. Because we must get angry. We must get mad. For to refuse to get involved, to stay quiet is to plead political ignorance. To plead Political Ignorance is to be knowingly privileged. To be knowingly privileged is to allow oppression and injustice to win.
As is commonly said, “Evil thrives when good men do nothing.”