Give me a sign,

I want to believe

–          Panic at the Disco, Mona Lisa

Kenya continues to be an idea that we cling to, a hoping. We whisper, “but we’ll be fine, this is Kenya.” Levels of ‘okay’ create themselves. The range of things we are comfortable with decreases. A poet is harassed. A filmmaker is arrested. A bulb explodes. A car loses control. Bloggers disappear. A Party is cancelled (#MakeItTsunami). More guns. Histories are sanitized.

Something is happening.

“What you failed to realise is that you are like a grain of sand. And the world is like a wall. And no matter how hard and how many times you flung yourself at it the change you needed was larger. “

–          Lacuna

What does it mean for Kenya to be ‘okay?’ How many deaths do we count to be in the ‘okay’ region? Lamu remains under curfew. The government refuses to let a fishing town out at night – it is ‘for their own safety.’ Somehow this is meant to mean something. Somehow we are meant to hear this and feel safe.

 They were



but at least

they had

their socks on.

 I’m reminded – constantly – that Kenya is not as bad as.

Not as bad as Syria. Not as bad as Uganda. Not as bad as America. Notas bad as me. Not as bad as hurt. Not asb adas.

Not asbadas. Not asbad as. Nota sbadas. Notasb adas. No tasb adas. No tas ba das. Notasbadas.

There is no way those letters, in that order, make sense. No matter how you space them. Still they show up in conversation with an “aha!” behind them. Invoking histories of justifying oppression.

It becomes harder to write

 “people are dying.”

When what you really

want to write is “I am dying.”

I’m wondering how many more times I can write about disposability. How many variations for “no person is disposable” can one possibly come up with? How many times does it have to be said before it will be heard? On twitter a friend asks people to care for their activists. On facebook another stops writing. Breaks are taken. “Tired” show up more often. #KasaraniConcentrationCamp is untweeted. Shouts become whispers, become thoughts. Silence dawns.

Something is happening.

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