Tuesday, 28 October 2014


It is these different aspects of life together that make up a social culture. And it is the culture which he inherits that gives a man his human dignity as well as his material prosperity. It teaches him his mental and moral values and makes him feel it worth while to work and fight for liberty.
But a culture has no meaning apart from the social organisation of life on which it is built. When the European comes to the Gikuyu country and robs the people of their land, he is taking away not only the livelihood, but the material symbol that holds family and tribe together. In doing this he gives one blow which cuts away the foundations from the hole Gikuyu life, social, moral and economic. When he explains, to his own satisfaction and after the most superficial glance at the issues involved, that he is doing this for the sake of the Africans, to “civilise” them, “teach them the disciplinary value of regular work”, and “give them the benefit of European progressive ideas”, he is adding insult to injury, and need expect to convince no one but himself.
There certainly are some progressive ideas among the Europeans. They include the ideas of material properity, of medicine, and hygiene, and literacy which enables people to take part in world culture. But so far the Europeans who visit Africa had not been conspicuously zealous in imparting these parts of their inheritance to the Africans, and seem to think that the only way to do it is by police discipline and armed force. They speak as if it was somehow beneficial to an African to work for them instead of for himself, and to make sure that he will receive this benefit  they do their best to take away his land and leave him with no alternative. Along with his land they rob him of his government, condemn his religious ideas, and ignore his fundamental conceptions of justice and morals, all in the name of civilisation and progress.
If Africans were left in peace on their own lands, Europeans would have to offer them the benefits of white civilisation in real earnest before they could obtain the African labour which they want so much. They would have to offer the African a way of life which was really superior to the one his fathers lived before him, and a share in the prosperity given them by their command of science. They would have to let the African choose what parts of European culture could be beneficially transplanted, and how they could be adapted. He would probably not choose the gas bomb or the armed police force, but he might ask for some other things of which he does not get so much today. As it is, by driving him off his ancestral lands, the Europeans have robbed him of the material foundations of his culture, and reduced him to a state of serfdom incompatible with human happiness. The African is conditioned, by the cultural and social institutions of centuries, to a freedom of which European has little conception, and it is not in his nature to accept serfdom for ever. He realised that he must fight unceasingly for his own complete emancipation; for without this he is doomed to remain the prey of rival imperialism, which in very successive year will drive their fangs more deeply into his vitality and strength.

Facing MT. Kenya

Friday, 10 October 2014

(to) have created something

"if you want to really hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."
A Man Without a Country
Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, 7 September 2014

How the system changed from matriarchal to patriarchal

At the beginning Gikuyu people enjoyed a matriarchal system. But somehow the system changed from matriarchal to patriarchal.

It is said that while holding superior position in the community, the women became domineering and ruthless fighters. They also practise polyandry. And, through sexual jealously, many men were put to death for committing adultery or other minor offences. Besides the capital punishment, the men were subjected to all kinds of humiliation and injustice.

Men were indignant at the way in which the women treated them, and in their indignation they planned to revolt against the ruthless women's administration of justice. But as the women were physically stronger than the man of that time, and also better fighters, it was decided that the best time for a successful revolt would be during the time when the majority of women, especially their leaders, were in pregnancy.

The decision was hailed by the men who were very anxious to overthrow the rule of the opposite sex. At once the men held a secret meeting in which they arranged a suitable date to execute their plan. On the day appointed to carry out the initial stage of the revolt, the men started to act enthusiastically. They embarked on a campaign to induce the women leaders and a majority of their brave followers to have sexual intercourse with men. The women were unfortunately deceived by the flattery of the men, and blindly agreed to their inducements without without knowing the wicked plan the men had made to overthrow the women's rule.

The men, after completing the first act, quietly waited for the result. After six moons had elapsed the men then saw clearly that their plan had materialised. At once they organised into groups and finally carried out the revolt without much resistance. For the brave women were almost paralysed by the condition in which they are. The men triumphed, took over the leadership in the community and became the heads of their families instead of the woman. Immediately steps were taken to abolish the system of polyandry and to establish the system of polygamy.

(the tribal legend about the origin of the Gikuyu system of kinship)
Facing Mt. Kenya
By Jommo Kenyatta

Friday, 5 September 2014

Relationship vs Love

First of all, there is no such thing as being isolated. To be is to be related and without relationships there is no existence. 

Relationship is an interconnected challenge and response between two people.

The relationship of two people creates society; society is not independent of you and me.

Relationship is the awareness of interconnection between two people.

Relationship is generally based on mutual gratification. 

Are you in communion with your wife? Perhaps you are physically but that is not relationship. You and your wife live on opposite sides of a wall of isolation. You have your own pursuits, your ambitions, and she has hers. You live behind the wall and occasionally look over the top—and that you call relationship. 

Thus relationship is sought where there is a mutual satisfaction, gratification; when you do not find that satisfaction you change relationship; either you divorce or you remain together but seek gratification elsewhere or else you move from relationship to another till you find what you seek—which is satisfaction, gratification, and a sense of self-protection and comfort.

So relationship invariably results in possession, in condemnation, in self-assertive demands for security, for comfort and for gratification, in that there is naturally no love.

If there is real relationship between two people, which means there is communion between them, then the implications are enormous. Then there is no isolation; there is love and not responsibility or duty.

Relationship is really a process of self-revelation, which is a process of self-knowledge; in that revelation there are many unpleasant things, disquieting, uncomfortable thoughts, activities. Since I do not like what I discover, I run away from a relationship which is no pleasant to a relationship which is pleasant. Therefore, relationship has very little significance when we are merely seeking mutual gratification but becomes extraordinarily significant when it is a means of self-revelation and self-knowledge. 

When you love, that is when you give yourself over to something entirely , wholly, then there is no relationship. 

If you do love, if there is such a love, then it is a marvellous thing. In such love there is no friction, there is no the one and the other, there is complete unity. It is a state of integration, a complete being.

There can be true relationship only when there is love but love is not the search for gratification. Love exist only when there is self-forgetfulness, when there is complete communion, not between one or two, but communion with the highest; and that can only take place when the self is forgotten.

On Relationship
The First and Last Freedom
J. Krishnamurti

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Life is nothing but relationship

"Though relationship is painful we cannot run away, by means of isolation, by becoming a hermit and so on."
"Life is nothing but relationship."


"Love is the only thing that is eternally new."

The First and Last Freedom
by J. Krishnamurti

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Rwandan Genocide

One of the priest protested but he was told by gendarmes that the church was harbouring "inkotanyi". The priest told the soldier that the people were Christian worshippers, the members of the congregation. But the gendarmes insisted and continued to examine identity cards. A Presidential Guard officer arrived and told the soldiers not to waste their bullets because the Interahamwe would soon come with machetes. Then the militia came in, one hundred of them, and threatening the priest they began to kill people, slashing with their machetes and clubs, hacking arms, legs, genitals and the faces of the terrified people who tried to protect the children under the pews. Some people were dragged outside the church and attacked in the courtyard. The killing continued for two hours as the whole compound was searched. Only two people are beloved to have survived the killing at the church. Not even babies were spared. That day in Gikondo there was a street littered with corpses the length of a kilometre.
There were UN witnesses to the killing in Gikondo. Major Jerzy Maczka and Major Chudy Ryszard, both from Poland, were among the unarmed UN military observers (UNMOs) from sixteen countries, spread throughout Rwanda and living in local communities to ensure compliance with the peace agreement. The observers were an integral part of UNAMIR. When the attack on the church began, the two Polish major had been in the gardens. With rifle barrels held at their throats by gendarmes, the two were forced to watch  as the militia pulled people out of the church and killed them. They saw how families run for their lives.  Maczka tried to contact UNAMIR headquarters but the channels on the Motorola system were jammed with calls for help, and he could not get through. Afterwards he helped the priest with the wounded and took photographs of the dead. What he had witnessed was clear cooperation and a division of labour between the police and the army on the one hand, and the militia on the other. He knew they were looking for Tutsi. There were a pile of identity cards, charred as though in an effort to burn them to erase any evidence that these people existed.


An accurate death toll for the Rwandan genocide may never be possible. The figure of 800,000 is now generally accepted, though it remains unclear why this number is so commonly used . It is a statistic provided by Human Rights Watch but it seems to be based on a census of Tutsi in 1991 and does not estimate the number of other victims who died in the genocide. A higher figures given for several experts present in Rwanda while the genocide took place. Philippe Gaillard, the Chief Delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who had an intimate knowledge of the country, its politics and its population, and was probably the first person to recognise that genocide was likely, estimates that up to one million people were killed. The figure is confirmed by Charles Petrie, the deputy co-ordinator of the UN Rwanda Emergency Office.


The sexual crimes in the genocide were unparalleled. The rape of women was so extensive that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), thanks largely to representations by human rights groups, would later make an historic determination that systematic rape is a crime against humanity and that sexual violence constitutes genocide in the same way as other acts.


The catastrophic failure over Rwanda has been examined by the UN, in an independent inquiry seeking to establish the role of the organisation in what happened. The Report of the Independent Inquiry into the actions of the UN during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda was authorised by Kofi Annan, who became Secretary-General in December 1996 after the US vetoed a second term for Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
This report, published in December 1999, called the genocide one of the most abhorrent events of the twentieth century. The report left no doubt that each part of the UN system, and in particular the Secretary-General, the Secretariat, the Security Council and the members state, had to assume and acknowledge their responsibility in the failure to prevent genocide. The circumstances of the genocide have also been considered by an international panel created by the Organisation of African Unity and a report, 'Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide", was published in Addis Ababa in July 2000. It showed how the potential to prevent the genocide was very real; it would have been possible to at least minimise significantly the carnage once it began. Those who most egregiously failed to use their power and influence included the governments of France, Belgium, the USA, the UK, the Catholic Church and the UN Secretariat.

Conspiracy to Murder, The Rwandan Genocide
by Linda Melvern

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Can I help you to avoid the rain?

I am in the Rwandan National Museum, in Huye (Butare). I am walking around the gardens. Suddenly it starts to rain. A girl, a young one, maybe she is sixteen, comes to me and asks me something in French. I say, 'sorry, I don't speak French. Then she says in English ' Can I help you to avoid the rain?'.
I say 'yes' and she brings me a small house, a kind of storehouse. We sit beside each other. We have a casual conversation. She has finished the school, las year, but she cannot afford a university degree. She earns 25,000 Rwandan francs per months working at the museum. One year at the university are one million. I think to myself, around 1,100€. 
Most time we feel silent. The rain is harder. Suddenly I decide to go. I say 'maybe I try to reach the reception hall. Thanks.' She smiles. 
As I walk under the rain I wonder... maybe, this is what I am looking for, who I am looking for. Just somebody who helps me to avoid the rain.