No matter how big a nation is, it is no stronger that its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise. Marian Anderson
A friend of mine, a journalist and former fellow student asked me to write a comment for him on how I saw the developing hate speech sagas in our social media and whether I thought what is being done is enough. I love words and I didn’t write a paragraph I wrote a short article. Here it is.
I am shocked by the hate stuff guys have posted on social media, especially when some of the people in question are intellectuals. Some wisdom I was given a long time ago that I still use until today. Never say what you think when your angry. You will regret it later. Take some time, calm down and think through the issue. Never say things in anger, they can’t be taken back, even if what you said is true. You may irrevocably destroy a relationship of yours. Same as something I was told years back as well whatever you text and send, you can’t take back. The message is out of your hands. The thing is the internet or Google never forgets. Whatever you post can be retrieved and used against you.
I believe people are angry or jubilant at the turn of events since the March 4th elections, I do not dispute that. But that doesn’t mean that people should vent out their anger on the whole population. Or on the other hand behave like the other people who voted,their votes didn’t count. I am worried because the election is over, but people’s friendships of many years have ended. Why? Because of the things that they have posted on social media. Unfortunately our country is now split into two. I don’t know if we can go forward together as a people after the hurtful things people have said to each other.
No I don’t believe the NCIC has done enough. But again I don’t believe the government has done enough. I said something about it in this post about the role of the media and government in the elections. There are bloggers who have engaged in hate speech but there are alot more tweets that have hate speech that is not so direct. I have seen people being attacked on their facebook pages or profiles. And nothing is being done. I worry about the future of this country if people can talk to each other like that.
I believe that the country needs to go through counselling and reconciliation. Sort of like what happened in Rwanda. We need to talk out our grievances in the open, not hiding behind computers and phones. It will hurt, the things that are said, but that is part of healing. to say what you feel, and even if the other person does not appreciate it, get things off your chest. Yes we didn’t have violence and we thank God. But the anger and bitterness is below the surface, and if issues are not resolved, then one day a trigger may result in violence again. We don’t pray for that, I don’t want to be a doomsayer, but it is true. If we do not deal with the issues that come up around elections, issues of land, equity, injustice etc we will never have true peace. That in a nutshell is what we need, true peace, not the ghost of peace, a peace that haunts us, because of the things we did to get it.
We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate — thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising. Maya Angelou
I said this in a tweet earlier on today.
I am not a supporter of Uhuru or Raila. Even though Raila lost I think he should be given the respect he deserves even as we pledge loyalty to Uhuru when he is our president ( I was told by a friend Cedric on facebook that we no longer pledge our loyalty to the president in the loyalty pledge, we now pledge loyalty to the constitution. I didn’t know that)
This country is bigger than any of us, yet it belongs to all of us. We can build it together or tear it apart. Let us put our country first. I would love to be an idealist and say all we have to do is love our neighbour. But I am a realist. There is no Utopia that’s going to happen in Kenya like magic. Yes there are many issues to be dealt with, but let’s do it together. It does not build you up when you tear your brother down.
Reconciliation should be accompanied by justice, otherwise it will not last. While we all hope for peace it shouldn’t be peace at any cost but peace based on principle, on justice. Corazon Aquino