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Recently I decided that I would stop blogging about the post election violence for a couple of reasons:
1) The blogosphere does not appear to be a good place to have constructive conversations: Basically it strikes me that a lot of the so called discussions online regarding the violence are basically verbal duels with everyone trying to get a one-up on the other rather than dialogue to come up with solutions. Therefore I don’t want to waste your time or mine getting involved in meaningless, endless arguments that I can never win or mind-numbing debates on the difference between GEMAs and Kalenjins.
2) It is not my area of expertise. I have said it before and I will say it again: I am a boo boo when it comes to the minutia and the idiosyncrasies of the African political process. So I think, I should pretty much stick to my strengths when trying to serve you through this blog.
Kenya is still suffering and so in parting from this topic (no guarantees though; I will come back to it if there’s some info I think may be relevant) I wanted to give you, in the diaspora, as large a directory as I could of practical steps you can take to assist Kenya at this time. I will split things up into two categories:
1) Information: Without information, you can’t really know where you can have the greatest effect, so please stay informed.
2) Action steps: Concrete steps you can take no matter where you are to end the violence and take Kenyans to a place of peace and happiness
Within these 2 larger categories, there are 12 subcategories that I will touch on:
1) Google News Alerts
2) Useful blogs
3) Local newspapers
4) Pictures and Video
5) Marches and demonstrations
6) Financial contributions and volunteering
7) Pray for Kenya
8 ) Sidenote: If you are in Kenya and you wish to report incidents of violence, where can you go?
9)How to contribute if you are an artist: musical, performing or otherwise
10) My Own Little Idea
11) Sign online petitions
12) Contact me to inform me of anything that you think we need to know about
NB: This post IS LONG so please feel free to scroll through and pick and choose what it most relevant to you.
1) Google News Alerts
If you want to make sure you stay up to the second in terms of what’s going on, Google News is the place to go. If you want perspectives from newspapers all over the world, not just your local geography, sent directly to your email, then please setup Google News Alerts. Some great search terms include: “Kenya”, “Kenya elections”, “Odinga”, “Kibaki”. If you have any trouble setting that up, then I’m sure the good people at Google will be more than willing to help, otherwise contact me at email@example.com
2) The Blogroll
There are a plethora of bloggers out there typing away on the issue. My personal recommendations :
1) Afromusing : Very nice lady who was nice enough to email me personally when i left a comment on her blog. Very connected within the blogosphere and very involved in relieving the suffering at the moment.
2) aaarrrggg: Written by a political scientist.
3) Kumekucha (You missed this) : Quite possibly the largest blog relating to political issues. One of the most visited websites in Kenya. The comments that are left on this blog-as with many other blogs-really make you wonder the psychological ages of a lot of Kenyans. Gr8 info though.
Below is a comprehensive list quoted directly from the White African blog:
Africa News – Newsletter with an overview of the movies that were made by their mobile phone reporters in Nairobi.
(NB: The above was taken from the White African blog)
3) The Local Newspapers
Stay up to date by reading the two big Kenyan newspapers and one of the largest online publications in Africa:
4) Pictures and Video
For the more visual amongst you, please go to Flickr for pictures of Kenya, before, during and after the elections. Below are a some groups and people that have done a great job of capturing what’s going on in Kenya on film:
1) Kenya Post-Election Pictures 2008 Group
1) DEMOSH has his own Flickr page and has done a great job of capturing the action
3) Afrofuturist has done a great job of capturing snapshots of the election day and the protests that followed the elections.
There are also a few other photographers here and there who have taken sporadic pictures of what’s going on and if you go to www.flickr.com and search for “Kenya” and “Kenya violence” you should be able to find them.
I would also recommend you use the same search terms in www.video.google.com (This is better than simply going to www.youtube.com because it has videos from may other sites including Youtube). I wouldn’t recommend going to www.video.google.com as much as to www.flickr.com simply because in terms of videos, you have to sort through quite a bit of junk before you can get to some useful videos. However, I definitely don’t discourage you from checking out some videos on Google Videos and Youtube
You Have the Information? Here’s How You Take Action.
5) Marches and Demonstrations
Forgive me for generalizing. The more I strive to understand what’s going on in Kenya, the more I come to understand that there are a lot of interests that basically converged during and after the election saga. I will restrict my discussion to three types of people who want to get onto the streets and have their say, in the diaspora, and in Kenya itself:
a) People who want to march for peace: These people don’t care about whether the elections were stolen or not and simply want the butchering and violence to end.
b) People who are marching for justice: People who feel like democracy was stabbed in the back and want to restore the power of the vote.
c) People who want both peace and justice in varying combinations
Regardless of whether you belong to any of the above camps or you belong to an entirely different one, please don’t go out and lash out violently against your fellow Kenyans. Remember, it’s not them who stole the vote (If you believe Kibaki stole the election). Please keep your goal in mind at all times, when you march, and please, I implore you, do not get sidetracked and degenerate into violence.
I have already spoken about peace marches that I know of in Dallas, Texas and here in Melbourne, Australia. While browsing through Flickr I also discovered a peace march that had been organized in Minnesota . All you need to do is read the local papers or even traverse the blogsophere to find people itching to get involved with any initiative to restore democracy. Basically, people are eager to get out there and march for peace or justice and ultimately a better tomorrow.
So, get in contact with the Kenyans around you and organize a peace march or a justice march this weekend. Some quick tips that may make the marches more effective:
1) Take photographs of it and put it in www.flickr.com and distribute the pictures to the newspapers and blogs listed above.
2) Take videos of the march and post them in www.youtube.com. When you post them in www.youtube.com, make sure that your title for the video and tags that you use are relevant and things that people will search for. Some examples:
Titles: “Kenyans March Against Violence”, tags: “Kibaki”, “Raila”, “Kenya elections”, “Kenya riots”
Titles: “Reaction to riots in Kenya” tags: “ODM”, “rioting”
It is a sad reality of life but chances are more people will search for the negative terms such as “violence” and “riots” and “tribalism” than they will the positive ones such “peace march”, “Kenyan peace”, “Kenya justice” so when you are naming the video please take such things under consideration.
4) Release press releases to as many newspapers, television stations, blogs and online publications as you can.
5) Email EVERYONE you know informing them about the march before it happens and after the march send them some pictures and some videos.
I hope you see the general point I am driving at: IF YOU ARE GOING TO ORGANIZE A MARCH, SHARE WITH AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN. This way people who are working towards peace or justice don’t feel alone and this also encourages other Africans sprinkled all over the world who may be thinking of marching. Finally, it actually UNITES US OVER A GOOD CAUSE.
I know that last weekend (I am sending this out on the morning of January 26th 2008) the same Kenyans who were involved with the peace march here in Melbourne organized a brainstorming session and came up with a couple of ideas. If you are in Melbourne and you want to get in contact with them, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you in touch with them.
6) Financial Contributions and Volunteering
I have already written about this to some extent.The one addition I have to make is:
Mama Mikes, which can be found at http://www.mamamikes.com: It’s an absoloutely phenomeal resource that is Paypal friendly so check it out if you want to get involved financially.
It should be noted that there is always the possibility of flying to Kenya from the diaspora to:
b) Get involved in the political organizing and heated political debate that is currently brewing
c) Find out where you are needed and can best serve and have the greatest effect.
7) Pray for Kenya
The event that triggered me to write all this is an email I received about prayers for Kenya that were held today. If you feel deeper connected to the divine, please get involved or organize events such as the one below (I have posted the email verbatim):
Send this message to Every Kenyan:
JANUARY 25TH 2008,
DAY OF PRAYER FOR KENYA
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, I will hear from heaven, I will hear and I will come and HEAL THEIR LAND.” God, 2 Chronicles 7:14
On January 25th 2008, we are asking Every Kenyan, Everywhere to take time to make a concerted prayer for Kenya.
We want EVERY Kenyan in EVERY CONTINENT on the face of the earth to be praying together on this one day on behalf of our country.
How to participate:
Spread the word:
send this message to Every Kenyan you know, Everywhere – txt, SMS, e-mail, phone call
On January 25th, make a point of setting aside time to pray for Kenya, it does not have to be a long time but it must be a deliberate effort to pray for specific things about Kenya
You can pray individually, or get together with a friend or friends, workmates, someone on the street, your priest, pastor, congregation, youth group
What to pray for:
· AMANI, AMANI, AMANI. PEACE, PEACE, PEACE
· Whatever else you feel in your heart to pray for concerning Kenya
‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;where there is hatred, let me sow love; when there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.’ St Francis 1915‘Maombi ya mtu mwenye haki yana nguvu na huleta matokeo.’Bible James 5:16If you have any questions/suggestions please send an e-mail to: AmaniKenyaMilele@hotmail.com
8 ) If you are in Kenya and you wish to report incidents of violence:
Go to the Ushahidi website which can be found at http://www.ushahidi.com/
Here you can quickly and easily send word about any incidents of violence via SMS.
9) If you are an artist
There has never been a more important time to be a performer than right now. If you are in Kenya right now, please, go out to the camps where the displaced people are and entertain them; sing some songs, put on a show, read stories or even just sit down and talk or listen to them.
If you aren’t in Kenya, join the growing number of people who are putting positive music on the web. I have listed a couple of the links to these tracks below:
10) My Own Little Idea
Prettty much all of the violence in the country is being CAUSED by and AFFECTING the poor who unfortunately are burdened by the yoke of ignorance. It strikes me that a forward-thinking solution to this problem is to begin educating the poor in the political process, the history it, how it works currently and most importantly how they can use it to bring about the type of changes they want in their lives. This way the poor can actually direct their energies in a direction that will bring about improvements in ALL their lives . With the advent of cheap and quick means of communication -Internet,radio, tv etc-and the plethora of brilliant well-educated Kenyan minds all over the Earth this shouldn’t be too difficult to implement if people have the will…………..Just a thought.
11) Sign Online Petitions
In the last couple of weeks I have received a couple of online petitions that relate to the crisis in Kenya via email. They are:
I don’t have a lot of experience or information on this, however, considering the Power that Americans have in the world political scene, if you are living in the United States, you could always write a letter to Congress to push for peace. The same applies if you are in the UK, Australia, Sweden etc. Please click on this link to go to a guide that gives further information on writing to your congressman.
If anyone has any other online petitions they want to share, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me.
12) Finally, if I have missed something, contact me and let me know
Contact me and let me know at email@example.com or just leave a comment below or just link to my blog from yours and write about other initiatives that you know of.
I hope this is a blessing to you and feel free to email me with any initiatives, stories of success or challenge or anything that may occur to you as you read this.
Be blessed and go out RIGHT NOW and be a blessing unto others,
The Project Sunshine blog also did a post where Africans based in the US were encouraged to lobby congress and the blog gave more information on how to do that. Please read the post by clicking the link below: