RE: History used to be written by the victors but not anymore.
By Dorcas Sarkozy
The internet and by extension, Amazon (and Alibaba) have combined to render Winston Churchill’s quote obsolete.
Unfortunately, some Kenyans are yet to internalize or embrace the paradigm shift i.e. that information is readily available that allow people to decide or make up their minds – independent of some diktat from a perceived deity, “blue-eyed prince”, “Mzee” or “Founding Father”.
The foregoing evolution also exposes the bias and limitations of the tired narratives about some leaders and groups being parroted or peddled, feverishly I might add, by pseudo-analysts, wanna-be-social scientists and detractors of the target personalities and/or communities.
The belief that Nasa-rites are so beholden to “Baba” that whatever he says goes is one such yarn being spun by some in Kenya including the self-titled/described “Luo National Youth Caucus”.
NOTE: I insist on calling the former Prime Minister by his name “Raila” because I personally detest that title/name “Baba”; a title I believe infantilizes his supporters THUS cementing the narrative that whatever he says go.
Raphael Tuju, Jubilee’s Secretary General is also on record publicly telling a congregation that their (Luo) community “risked being left ‘behind’ if they ‘continued opposing’ the government of the day”. This the former MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs said at a June 2015 church service at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology in support of the narrative that the gathered “follow Raila blindly”.
Only the most deliberately naïve, intellectually indolent and/or ethnic chauvinist can draw a firm and/or definitive conclusion on matters of social science/human behavior including the reason why any one group within society has evolved the way it has.
On the other hand, one can offer opinions/theories that can then be debated – vigorously if need be – but I reject the arrogance of those who claim a monopoly on knowledge and/or history especially given the near-daily revelations exposing the duplicity, hypocrisy and outright diabolical nature of the erstwhile writers of history.
Curiously, the same people ascribing negative characteristics and qualities to Nasa-rites (read Luos) are the very people who claim that their forefathers “picked up pangas, spears and shields” against the “mzungu” during the “fight for independence” (and for questioning their intelligence and civility)!
Some of us have always known that those who supposedly “led” Kenya’s fight for “independence” were as far away from the battlefield as I have been from the anti-IEBC protests!
When the book “Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life” by Charles A. Murray and Richard Herrnstein was first released in 1994, the pushback was fast and furious – from all quarters of the US save those whose personal beliefs dovetailed with the book’s patently racist and classist narrative that African-Americans are intellectually inferior to their white/European counterparts!
Along the same lines, actor Bill Cosby, the now-completely disgraced “America’s Dad” who was also a closet sexual predator wrote the tough love self-help call-to-arms for African Americans “Come On, People: On the Path from Victims to Victors” that was equally panned and hailed in much the same way along the same fault line as the Murray/Herrnstein book.
Most fair-minded Americans questioned the self-righteous and seemingly blame-the-victim tone of Mr. Cosby’s book re: the plight of African Americans. This Mr. Cosby did even as he exculpated/minimized the dark historical context against which Blacks in America oftentimes found themselves in.
Ironically, Cosby was excoriating and upbraiding African Americans (in the book co-written with renowned psychologist/sociologist Alvin Poussaint) on topics such as teenage sex, drug abuse, committed partnership and overall irresponsibility at the same time he was allegedly drugging and assaulting women AND married to his wife of fifty-three years – Camille!
I have a theory that few have yet to completely disprove:
That part of the reason older, non-college-educated white Americans pined for “their country back” (a construct these people have yet to fully and clearly define) is because the country’s history has finally been exposed as dark, horrid, full of gaps, inaccuracies and outright falsehoods – about the limited richness and gallant role in creating said history!
This theory was given credence by J.D. Vance’s book “Hillbilly Elegy” – itself a book review for another day. Let me simply point to the federal government’s disparate treatment of the crack epidemic that mainly afflicted the Black community in the 80s AND the opioid and meth epidemic now ravaging the mostly white America of the “Rust Belt”.
Between the election of a black man who for all his faults shattered their (white) perception of African Americans and the historic run of an infinitely qualified woman (HRC), those erstwhile writers of history – white male – saw their humanity (and lack thereof) exposed for all to see.
Suddenly, Thomas Jefferson, aside from authoring the “Declaration of Independence” was also a philandering slave owner who sired several biracial children with his slave Sally Hemings – records which were systematically expunged from American history until recently – “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family” by Annette Gordon-Reed.
Similarly, the previously “productive/hardworking astute businessmen/women” of Kenya who supposedly “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps” while simultaneously “fighting for uhuru” have now been exposed as corrupt autocratic despots who placed personal gains/ethnic advancement over national development and unity.
Is it any wonder these purveyors of said narrative (a) continue to spin said yarn and (b) will do whatever is necessary to stay in power and continue their “productive/pull themselves up by the bootstrap” storyline?
Similarly, I was not entirely surprised that a year ago, Americans elected, in a desperate attempt to “take their country back” and continue the white supremacist narrative, someone whose very being was/is littered with acts of personal failings completely dichotomous to every ideal they preach to others about!