By Jackson Omondi
In one of the finest displays of lyrical and artistic dexterity, Hip-hop svengali Nasir Jones, known by the moniker Nas, uses personification to address the issue of gun violence in the United States. In the lyrical blockbuster “I gave you power,” Nas raps about the devastating effects of gun violence and how guns make even the most coward among us to act ‘tough.’
“.. I gave you power, I am that thing that makes every ghetto foul, I might have taken your first child, crippled your style, I made you buck-wild” I go blaow!” How you like me now?..” I move crowds…” Nas uses personification to talk about what he ( the gun) has done to people and the profound devastation that comes with ‘his’ actions.
Yet on the same breath, the Queens rapper bemoans the damage that he has done. “Tired of murdering, made me wanna be a plain gun, But yo, I had some other plans like the next time the beef is on, I make myself jam right in my owner’s hand. Sick of the thugs, sick of the wrath of the next man’s grudge..”
A clear indication that even as a ‘gun’, he wishes he can jam or malfunction just to spare an innocent life. The song is just one of the many classics that earned the legendary rapper a place in history as the first rapper to be awarded the prestigious W.E.B Dubois medal of honor at Harvard University. And to immortalize his work, Harvard established the Nasir Jones Hip-hop fellowship at the institution.
Our law enforcement community is about to confront their “I-gave-you-power” moment. The Jubilee government has invested a fortune in order to portray a more muscular law enforcement apparatus. One would think that Kenya is headed to World war three! Footage of highly skilled commandos complete with military choppers and high-powered assault rifles simulating how to ‘foil’ or contain -get this- Kenyans protesting against electoral malpractice was proudly aired on national television.
Those commandos were simulating an assault on innocent Kenyans engaging in peaceful protests. The galling thing about this whole affair is that this country has been through hell and out. We have seen law enforcement officers shoot and kill innocent kenyans in broad daylight. And to imagine that Jubilee can still engage in this degree of sabre rattling, we must ask our men and women in uniform to step back and do some soul searching. How many more lives are they going to be ordered to extinguish in the name of following orders?
Like the ‘gun’ in ” I gave you power,” the law enforcement community must get sick of taking innocent lives. They must wish to ‘jam’ in their ‘owner’s’ hands just to spare the life of an innocent Kenyan. Its time for them to say “Damn!” It’s time to start looking at protesters as fellow Kenyans and not flies to be sprayed.
Those protesters do so with full knowledge that freedom of assembly is catered for in the constitution and you do not have to be an attorney at law to understand that simple fact. After all, what is wrong with espousing alternative political views?
With the campaigns on the homestretch, most Kenyans are observing the Jubilee government’s actions with a lot of trepidation and foreboding and my submission is that when the time comes, our law enforcement officers must say: No, we gave you power but now we are sick of being used.