Wednesday, February 23, 2005

the complicity of virtual cyberstrangers

back then in the lonely years of
the early to mid eighties
we plodded on
as our friends and relatives
who lived in kahawa west, githurai and zimmerman
and our age-mates
who lived in ruwenzori, aberdares and other halls
at kenyatta university
avoided like the plague
the feared gates of kamiti

our imprisonment
scared and scarred forever
those left behind in education theatre two
hall six, hall seven, hall eight
the box and mary's hall
those who ate their ostrich size portions of kuku
at the ccu
vowing never to repeat
the horrible mistakes
of the oloos, the ogegos, the kinyuas
the jeff mwangis, the ongele opalas
the mutuses and the simiyus
the students sieved from the sixty seven rounded up after eighty two
to be jailed for five, six, ten or more years
several of the ones left behind
vowed never to repeat the folly of the incarcerated
of being involved in politics
except of course, for the adongos, mwandawiros, obandas
mwakduas,kangethes, thiongos, njugunas, kishushes who
followed later during the mwakenya crackdown

the ones left behind
learned well
the virtues of keeping your mouth shut
of remaining silent when atrocities
unfolded before your eyes
they learned the lessons so well
that even today, almost thirty years later
i see them, silent, sullen in cyberspace
mouths still clamped firmly shut
because they live the lesson
of keeping their eyes open and their mouths shut
having trained themselves
never to lift a finger
to protest an indignity or grumble at an outrage
some of these people
will witness their own mothers
being raped
and their own fathers having their throats cut
and still
they will keep silent
because self-preservation
is the number one game in town...