Friday, August 26, 2011

Genetically Modified thinking

Sometimes I catch myself saying a lot of nothing for the sake of remaining relevant. This post may well be one of those times.

As I was flipping through nearly outdated newspapers one day, a title about genetically modified foods in Kenya arrested my attention. You would never have guessed from reading the article that there was any controversy about GM foods. Another article in another place had Hilary Clinton herself giving KARI a good report grade on its work - a veritable thumbs up in the midst of a speech about many other things. A picture of some people looking at plants enclosed in warehouses was captioned "Dr. Jill Biden {etc etc}." GM tourism must be a high foreign exchange earner these days judging from its VIP clientele. Yet another article elsewhere celebrated the green light given to GM foods and listed the various interest groups which rallied behind the cause. Government, scientists and their scientific institutes, plus a few opinion voices on the street lending popular appeal to the cause. The article's jubilant writer fell just short of celebrating the end of famine in Kenya forever and ever. Shortly after, Wikileaks was very forthcoming about some diplomatic efforts undertaken by US officials to see that GM foods were legalized and supported and thus not frozen at Kenya's borders by our famously incorruptible customs officials. Nearly a month prior to this, in a full page column which also trashed a host of his public statements, Honorable John Mututho (of Alcohol Laws fame) was dismissed as an alarmist and exaggerator-par-excellence when he sounded the alarm bell by suspecting too loudly and without any evidence that GM foods were already in Kenya prior to anyone's being asked about it. It all looked to me like the usual circus that the conjugation of Kenyan politics and Kenyan journalism can make of anything. Suddenly, in a rare moment of literacy, I read, amidst the names of "stakeholders" who had pushed for GM, the name Monsanto. Suddenly it all fell into place.

Only connect, and much comes to light.

2 comments:

  1. To be honest, I found the debate about GM foods the other day rather shallow. The term GM by itself does not mean much. We have modified maize for example so that we can farm it in arid areas. we eat GM chicken daily in town -- for me the key thing is the Monsanto type of grains which seek to strip farmers off their seeds and making you a slave to their products. That is where they make their money

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  2. Spot on, OtienoHongo! Free market slavery is the name of the game.

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