Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Of Prophets and War

Predictions abound. Even your stockbroker earns his keep by pretending to be able to forecast your stock performance and advise thereof.  The weather forecaster somehow maintains a straight face while talking fast about how your skies will behave at a future time. Here in election-year Kenya we are overwhelmed with the stargazing antics of "political analysts".

In a general sense, prophets of doom have become quite vocal of late. They speak literal Armageddon, the end of the world. Unfortunately, quite aside from the shock value inherent their statements, the evidence is on their side - for the most part. They have the precedents of history on their side. They also see the logical end for modern culture's current moral rot.

Just one fragment of evidence
In the real world there are rumors and realities of economic hardship. Right now, it coincides with near-global militarization (Syria, anyone? Russia? US? Israel? Iran? China? Anyone?) Historically, economics and war have gone hand in hand. Money funds wars, wars win money. Many of the grievances that sparked off wars in the past had an economic aspect of some sort. A simplistic blueprint: when society can no longer pretend that "Central Bank" has all their money SOMEWHERE, we rush the banks, then inflation happens, then squalor prevails, until government finds us an enemy to fight - whatever the pretext.

All the signs point to economic collapse in progress right now. Greece? Spain? Rumors of Italy?

There's a lot pointing to war. Unfortunately, nobody who can do anything about it will do it.  

The system is not broken, it was DESIGNED that way.

The Other Camp
 There also happen to be false prophets who, in the face certain destruction, are assuring the world of peace and peddling prosperity (rather than preparedness) to their followers.

Pay no attention to such. The blind leading the blind both fall into a ditch.

My Two Cents
It's quite a time to be alive. Keep faith alive; cling to hope with all your all.

Psalms 37:7
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hill, Hair, Hat, Her

My soccer team mates schedule Monday evenings to sprint up and down a steep slope of tarmac road. Repeat until failure.

This rigorous regime enhances strength, stamina and explosiveness, which are good things for soccer players. That being said, the uphill dash inflames the leg muscles with hot pain and bakes the lungs alive. Often it feels like there will never be enough oxygen in the world for catching one's breath with. (That is just three minutes into pulling on sneakers.) The routine involves chasing cars and motorbikes uphill, with a resolute intent of beating them to the top. (A few drivers glance at their rear-view, take us for some bungling carjackers and floor the gas pedal.) (Most Chinese motorbikes can easily be overtaken while sprinting uphill. Their riders absolutely HATE it.)

At the end of "loading" (we call it that), your speech and heartbeat echo discordantly within your own skull, so you avoid talking until you're sufficiently rehydrated. And you are supposed to walk home. The journey home is fraught with impromptu muscle pulls, the inevitable consequence of repeatedly charging to the top of an indifferent hill.


On my way home one dark Monday dusk, I met one of my friends on the sidewalk. She announced her presence by grabbing my hat off my absent-minded head. I spun to the challenge, half expecting to have to chase a street kid down the middle of the road, only to come face to face with her laughing visage.


"I saved your seat and you didn't show," she said pulling my hat on her head. I always fancied it to be a hat for the artistic types; and it blended nicely with her soft feminine features, but it clashed irreparably with her formal skirt-suit. She'd been working all day. I felt like a relative bum, especially considering what time I woke up.

Meanwhile, I also felt naked, my unkempt hair being on display in the middle of town for all the world to see. My fingers were itching to grab the hat off her head but she was smiling and holding my stare while she awaited my excuses with a cynical smile.

"I went to church somewhere else." My ear drums rang with internal echo. Dehydration. Talking was too much work. I wasn't even sure I didn't smell sweaty and soccer-socksy. RT if you know the smell. "Can I have my hat back?"

"No!" she giggled, shaking her head. "I bet you didn't go to church at all."

"I'd gone to Nairobi. My hat? Before someone I know sees me." Spasms of soreness glowed like coals embedded into my skeletal frame. My lower back felt like something was broken in there.

"It's mine now." Her smile crept wider. Her eyes said she was serious. My heart sank.

A steady stream of pedestrians walked past us, around us, back and forth. Touts called out destinations from matatus passing on the nearby road. I could grab the hat and run...
A fortuitous breeze cooled my head. I breathed the fresh air. "Can we sit down somewhere and discuss it?"

"Good idea! I'm starving."

Minutes later, as she was having fries and I was draining my third bottle of water, the flow of conversation ceased abruptly. A muscle pull erupted deep in the core of my right hamstring.

Spontaneous hard words escaped my lips.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nothing is certain

Strident assurances can’t certify
that I will see your face again

It subsists on fragile hope
It depends on fickle chance

There is no guarantee
Fate is not obligated

Conflicted within
resigned without

hopeful and afraid together

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Exclusivity is Not Cool

Exclusivity has been a big deal historically. The urge to form a minority clique to the exclusion of all the others remains a major incentive to this day. It is the envy-fueled engine by which all of society expects to keep up with (and, if we are honest, hopes to overtake) the Joneses/Kamaus. It is the desire to breathe rarefied air from atop stratospheric social peaks.

I'm not a communist; I reject the concept emphatically. Still, you just have to wonder about exclusive clubs and elite fraternities. Implicit in all their snobbery is an admission: there aren't enough trappings lying around to get everyone a Ferrari. That's even a bit understandable. But why also go and be proud and arrogant about it?

Enter oppression, necessitated by the urgent importance of keeping the restless rabble in their place. The stench of corruption can never be wiped out, not at the rate at which fat cats generate carrion. Meanwhile, it's a real maze of doublespeak nowadays because the workers must be infused with ignorant HOPE, as if the future cake has not already been partitioned, as if crumbs will not be up for grabs for the fittest to survive on.

Somehow it's not bad enough yet; exclusivity must go ahead and get ridiculous. At some point the lofty one gets lonely, but is straitjacketed by status against reaching out to lower beings for human contact. It is a rigid, predator-prey type of arrangement that must be sustained at all costs, and varnished with esoteric and eloquent euphemisms. Many secrets must be hermetically kept within the inner circle. One must avoid, at all costs, letting unwashed profane ignorant masses in on the party.

Contrast this with Jesus, who said he had done nothing in secret, who healed every sick in sight, fed thousands of hungry and freely forgave sins. I love the way true Christians all over the world speak the same "language" albeit in different tongues.

Evangelism is antithetical to Exclusivity. One seeks to include, the other to alienate. One proclaims the truth, the other hides secrets.

Reach out, friends.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunday with Poets

Nairobi on Sunday is ideal. 

Little traffic. Lazy strollers form cute pairs as they chat leisurely on tree-lined avenues. Kids with painted faces lick ice cream. Radiant adults with their moods uplifted by some church. None of the angry bustling throng that choke sidewalks the rest of the week.

Image from Kenya-advisor.com

I savored the rare fortune of being invited to a poetry gig on a Sunday afternoon. It was low-key, as events go. We occupied a classroom. Poets performed their pieces and got instant feedback. The gang was funny, intelligent, visionary and inquisitive. The poems, performed by veterans and newbies alike, covered the full ideological continuum from fiery-revolutionary to lovesick-romantic. Even the atheists and the believers got their two minutes' tiff. No theme between the cryptic arcane and the simplest what-you-hear-is-what-you get escaped recital. There were those who read and there were those who performed from memory - no pressure.

All the while there I was thinking, "I'm in heaven." And drawing related cartoons. Amidst the orange hue of sunset, It briefly occurred to me to wonder whether all this idealism was good for a young mind like mine, but I instantly banished such satanic doubts from my mind. Rarely do I assemble with a group of like-minded, young, artistic souls. I even felt bad returning to my relatively mundane existence at the end of the event.

You can catch (one of?) these brilliant minds here > "Hisia Zangu Blog." (I have taken you to their leader). Their events are certainly worth any Nairobi Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hogging the Bookshelves

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga has the rare honor of having two thick tomes of literature, focused on himself as the subject matter, published within (five?) years of each other. One (Enigma in Kenyan Politics) paints him in positive light while the other (Peeling back the mask) is all about exposing the man.

The way I see it, having two successive thick tomes of literature circulating in your name is a sure-fire way to occupy the population's consciousness. In this politics business, any type of publicity counts, good and bad alike. Controversy sells. The key word is balance.

In related news, it looks like election years are a publisher's hunting season.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Melody sans Harmony

I make the strings wail
the snares rattle fine.

Trumpets blow smooth
percussion gives chase

Rich brass-tenors
bounce with the basslines.

Guitar strings strumming;
they strike a sweet cadence.

and what an emphatic kick!
but who will sing?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Perfect Grammar, but… Wrong Use?

A close friend of mine takes pride in being able to speak English. As a result of his burning desire to fully maximize his daily quota of English words, his sentences overflow with redundant phrases.

Check his question out: “Have you seen my ID which the chief gave me so that I can be using?” I laughed as we searched high and low.

Is it better to text/tweet in full, with perfect grammar, capitalization and punctuation; or to just do “plz am gud lol,” whatever that means? Consider these two cents my belated contribution to the ongoing rivalry between the “GrammarNazi” and the “GrammarHippies.”

My answer: I think we went to English classes in childhood. Honestly, who didn’t like their English teacher? Same teachers taught lessons in grammar, punctuation and spelling so that we can be using.

Redundant phrase for emphasis. Peace.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ignorance is a Heavy Burden

The “conspiracy theorists” are right when they expose the New World Order. It ain’t pretty. People just don’t want to know.

Philip Jones wrote intensively on end time events and spiritual pitfalls pertinent to the 21st century. He wrote many critically informative articles, until he ran out of steam. Writers’ burnout. Yet, for all his efforts, he ended up a discouraged man, receiving very little feedback for his highly useful work, perceiving indifference. Maddening, even. He eventually died of cancer, most likely in a state of quiet resignation.

What is it about the conspiracy that makes people not want to hear it? Its veracity has been confirmed across a wide spectrum of disciplines. It exists. But the choice by many not to want to know confuses me.

A friend of mine asked me why knowing this stuff is important. Wouldn’t it be better to embrace carefree living and let whatever will happen just happen?” Knowing this stuff can’t help a damn if you can’t DO anything about it,” he opined, “so leave it alone”.

I defy this line of thinking vehemently. The fastest way for the collective to lose this war is to NOT know what is at stake. Humanity today is ignorant of what is at stake in the ongoing global conspiracy. While we neglect our spiritual wellness, others are eager to bring us to spiritual bondage. And they are powerful and influential. They are also cunning and devious.

The carrot-and-stick approach has us all programmed into fanatical conformists. In order to preserve our tenuous hold on our crumb of the pie, we have taken it upon ourselves to justify and ignore the enemy’s poorly masked existence and activities. We conveniently forget their cruelties at a regular and reliable rate. Mass media isn’t our friend either. We are too happy to be pawns, tools, yes-men, parrots.

For most of us, it is like this: “they can believe/do whatever they like so long as I get my contractual creature comforts!” Me, Me, Me. Is this all we are content to care about?

Jesus prophesied that the end-time deception will lead the whole world astray. It has already began. If people are deceived, it won’t be for lack of correct knowledge.

{ACTS 28:25} Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,

{28:26} Saying, Go unto this people, and say, “Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see,and not perceive":

{28:27} For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

ATTN: fellow writers!

Dear bloggers,


I am motivated this day to address you directly.

A casual glace at my Blogger reading list reveals that writer's block has reached epidemic levels in the blogger community. Of all the horde of bloggers on my blog-list, only The Land Destroyer is regular. I suppose he's always busy (there's no shortage of two-faced lying politicians and unscrupulous geostrategists with things to cover up which need exposing).

But the rest of us... need to try harder. Some of you first-class literary talents are too willing to disappear unacknowledged into the jaws of the ravenous real world's exploitations. Raw deal, I say.

Or else, are we following "ghost bloggers", then? I ask. Clarify! The internet has a right to know if your online persona is dead.

Kind regards,


Friday, July 6, 2012

The Food was Better than High School

I spent my last two years of primary education in a boarding school. The photo below is the evidence. I won't even say which of these boys is me, although my ashy knees and smile should give me away instantly.*facepalm*

You can blame Facebook for this atrocity hitting the internet
 Whatever I can remember of this educational institution is bittersweet. First of all the friendships we made in that environment were of an enduring sort. There can be absolutely no pretentiousness in an environment where all your worldly possessions fit in a 2' by 1' metal box liable to rust. A snobbish brat could only be a snobbish brat for a week, MAX, and then he or she got with the program. (Despite the picture's suggestion, it was a mixed "coed "school.)

Quite a program it was. Watchtowers manned by bow-and-arrow bearing watchmen ringed the premises.

Academically, "bringing marks" was the name of the game. Many exams were administered in quick succession, and then each student's marks output was, um, rigorously evaluated after each exam. "You have refused to bring marks," was an accusation from a teacher that accompanied a ruthless lashing. The canes were fanbelts - rudimentary whips. Luckily for me, for the most part, I was "bringing marks" in bucketloads. So the cane and I interacted mostly in the extracurricular departments - which still covered an extensive scope of life disciplines. I remember getting caned once for drawing cartoons in class.

I particularly remember a stretch of depressing loneliness when my clique of buddies suddenly and inexplicably turned their backs on me, and weeks later, just as suddenly made friends again. I was torn between rupture of joy and feelings of betrayal at the instant they came back. I will never forget that moment; I cried on the spot.

Fond memories remain. Here, I made friends with the girl who would later became my best friend; we were deskmates.

PS: the photo is enduring evidence that I have historically never been very conscious about my appearance. But this photo-sermon reveals that its been a crisis.

PPS: I don't even smile like that any more. Sad.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Arrested Development breaks out of Mental Jail!

I was there when the violins in my head went silent on The Ex.

The dramatic soundtrack in the background suddenly stopped. In the silence, I realized how ridiculous I’ve been about the whole thing. Without weepy strings accompanying the thought process, logic shines through.

Worst part: in my head, I had elevated the young lady to a demi-goddess of a sort. I had lost sight of my independent value.

Sure, she real attractive, but a little perspective was necessary. 
Sure, I liked her a lot, wanted her back sometimes, but that ship sailed – too bad. 
Sure, single life sucks, but it could be worse!

Besides, over the years, we had been developing on separate spiritual wavelengths. I ought to have started looking for a better fit a long time ago.

So I decided she wasn’t going to be a problem any more. It was the most liberating decision in my life for two years. The kind of experience one tends to remember.

I can’t fully explain it but I have this THEORY. Maybe I suddenly attained the threshold of life experience at which a young man sees the bigger picture, a woman’s place in it and the kind of woman required for the role. Juvenile, Hollywood perspectives on “love/romance/The One” become an ill fit under such insight.

As it were, I remain single - but everything has changed, along with my perspective. Violinists best vacate my head and relocate to the opera. I wouldn’t bet on their chances during this recession.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Warlike Thoughts

I savored the rare privilege of watching a World War II documentary. It strove to recreate the keynote events of the war through the memoirs of the soldiers and civilians who lived (many who died) through it all.

Unsurprisingly, the program reproduced the usual obfuscations to obscure the real motivations behind the war. Someone needs to teach us some real history. Another big failure of the program was the tendency to minimize the “gore” of war, for example by giving D-Day a relative whitewash, a mere mention. Which serious review of World War II can afford to ignore D-Day? to Photoshop the events of Normandy? FAIL.

However, despite its shortcomings, the documentary made an effective, full-color exposition of one fact: “War is a dirty ugly rotten business.” That was a quote of one young American soldier fighting in the Pacific "theatre". Another wondered what he, a farm boy from the American heartland, was doing thousands of miles away from home, killing Japanese.

Death and destruction stood out vividly the footage of blitzed London, ruined Stalingrad, burning German cities, firebombed Berlin. Makes you wonder what could possibly justify so much desolation.  

I’m not the only nut on the internet predicting dark days ahead, and I’m not pulling it out of my socks either. If World War III is gonna happen (highly likely soon), then, judging by the way WWII went… let’s just say we have a problem.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Post-Soccer Stress Disorder

After soccer practice, I always shudder at the prospect of meeting someone I know .

At that time I am sweaty, tired, thirsty and focused on the middle distance straight ahead, single-mindedly looking for home to float into view. Worse if the match was frustrating and my teammates were difficult and we lost; then I am also cranky, bubbling lividly beneath the surface. Talking to anyone at this time is the last thing on my mind.

Recently, on the homeward journey from the soccer pitch, I chanced to run into a close friend of mine who I’m always happy to see. It had been a while.

“You have never told us what exactly you went to do in Western,” she mentioned.

“I got wives,” I said, matter-of-factly.


“Yeah, wives. They got needs.”

I tried to look serious, and I was pulling a straight face well enough, but her sustained searching of my eyes did me in. I burst out laughing at my own weird joke. 

(I can’t act to save my life. Perhaps I could, with training; but why would I train while sorely lacking movie star looks? But that’s not even the point right now.)