Last evening a friend of mine said something quite profound: she said that Kenyans don’t understand the concept of war. We see it on television. We hear poems and read stories all over the internet. We even discuss it in our bars. But we don’t understand it. We don’t understand the impact the elimination of a society could have on a country, the insecurity that cripples every single being. But, most importantly, we don’t understand death.
And the room went silent.
Think about it; what do you say after that? Do you argue with her? Do you bring up PEV? What words can you come up with when someone, so eloquently, calls Kenyans a bunch of blithering war-naive fools who have no idea what they will be getting into?
Here’s what you say: nothing. You bow your head in shame, and turn to the person next to you, who too will have said nothing – because the worst, and most hurtful, part of that statement is that it is true.
Something Necessary is a movie I just watched. It was done by the same people who did Nairobi Half Life, and Soulboy, so I don’t need to tell you it’s well done. It tells the story of a lady trying to build herself back up after losing everything but her son during PEV. It’s heart wrenching. In fact, after watching the movie, I saw the lady outside the cinema hall. It took all that I had to resist the urge to give her a hug and tell her everything will be okay.
A rather ambitious study has shown that if Kenya can grow by 2%, year on year for the next so many years, we will achieve first world status by 2048. This, of course, makes several assumptions and lives inside a certain utopian box. But the study exists. And not just the study, the evidence is right there, in front of you. Africa has the fastest growing middle class and Kenya is the fifth largest economy south of the Sahara. It’s safe to assume that at least a few of those middle class citizens are actually living and working in the country. Not to mention that we have found oil, niobium and a filmmaking industry, which is always big money. The Silicon Savannah is extending and, with the new county system, investment will be diversified.
In fact, the report seems conservative with its 2% seeing as we did 5.2% last year and forecasts for this year are about 5.4%. That is, unless of course our elections go horribly wrong. If the elections go horribly wrong Kenyans may end up understanding the impact of war, and all the goryness that comes with it. First hand. And, if you think about it, is that really something necessary?