Monday, 19 January 2015

Media Monday #2

This was going to be almost as good as the first Media Monday. I would ask you if you cared to watch Jack's Gap, if you enjoyed it. Your own opinion on Nothing But Thieves. Then proceeded to tell you about perhaps the most sarcastic person on the internet, danisnotonfire, and given you a taste of Weka Weka by P Unit and probably a whole lot more.

 But I just can't bring myself to it, not with scenes out of my backyard being likened to Soweto Uprising 1976, not with a whole primary school being drugged into this mess we call corruption and most of all not when the blame game is going on over whose land this is anyway.

It is with utter disappointment that I write this post. What would have started out as a normal Monday Blue took a turn for the worst with Monday taking a hue darker than ever imagined for the children of Lang'ata Road Primary School.

From the beginning, for familiarity of course. To get to town I pass that school, to go to church I pass that school and to go to school, right again, I pass that school. I see these kids walk to school in their green checked  uniforms with backpacks that may match their weight or on closing days with nothing but cheesy grins on their person. I have seen the lower primary kids take detours home with their variation of adventure time in tow. When any of them are late, they have each others back, passing their backpacks over the fence to evade consequences of their actions, if they got away with it, more power to them. And every school morning, like clock work they tend to their school's environment; no eyesore here.

The problem, their environment, their playground has allegedly been another case of an age old problem, land grabbing.

My expectations were this was going to be just another ordinary strike; banners, chanted slogans and a traffic snarl up here and there. I was not there, but clearly something went terribly wrong. With my Instagram timeline blowing up with #OccupiedPlayground trending and my sister's WhatsApp exploding with comments calling out police men who pelted out teargas canisters at children resulted in the protest not only making national news but also international headlines.

Having had only a mild experience with tear gas, I cannot even begin to imagine what 6-13 year olds experienced. There was crying, yelling, stampeding and sheer shock that led some  of the traumatised kids to pass out, understandably.

What hit me most, the now suspended OCPD defending his command on account that the kids were throwing stones at his men and of course they retaliated.

News rooms have had quite a field day with the ball of blame being volleyed all over the place. But the fact remains what happened today should never have happened. Was it the activists who made a mistake by involving the children or the police who made the kids their target? I don't know. It's not even about the land anymore.

I leave you with the words on one of the placards held by the pupils reading, "Mom and Dad...What did you do to change things?"

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