Friday, July 29, 2005

Diplomacy from the UK - Please

In a recent blog, I complained about the lack of diplomacy that was displayed by Clay when he made scathing attacks at the Kenyan government outside of regular diplomatic protocol. I pointed out that Kenya allowing this to go on from Clay and the UK in general was a bad move and headed to bear bad fruit. Call it premonition. Here today, what does the UK do? They revoke a government official's visa to the UK. No good reason is given. And worse, the government learns from the airlines. And Kenya considers Britain to be a friendly country.

Whether one agrees with Clay on his views against the government in general, or against Murangaru, this has to be viewed as outrageous. It is a huge deal to have a visa revoked. It is a bigger deal to revoke the visa of a government official. It is completely rude and malicious to revoke the visa of a government official and ignore the diplomatic protocol expected, which is to send a notice to his government. We gave them that inch. We allowed them to get away with Clay's undiplomatic ways. And I'll be damned, if they haven't taken a mile.

Rumors that there's bad blood between Murangaru and Clay and that this may have caused Murangaru's, sudden and vicious,if not malicious; visa withdrawal are out aloud already. True or not, who knows. But doesn't it seem weird that the mighty UK went to bed one day, woke up the next and withdrew a visa, no reason given? I'm eagerly awaiting the so called High commissioners office's explanation.

I'll say this despite the fact that no one is asking me. Kenya needs to file an official complaint against the UK with the non performing UN. Just have it in file. At the very least get the fact that diplomacy seems to have flown out the window when the UK so called diplomats are dealing with the Kenyan government needs to be addressed at a much higher level and immediately. This issue needs to be nipped and it needs to be nipped now. If you are yet unconcerned, ask yourself, this today, what tomorrow?

And didn't they tell us we are rich enough to afford our debts. Surely, let's look like independent people. Let's demand the respect that is due to any nation, from any country, supposed world giant genre or not! That's the only way to secure the future of any country.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Clinton and I see eye to eye

I've always loved Clinton. And he just reaffirmed his position as one of my modern day heroes. Clinton walks into Kenya and applauds Kibaki for the implementation of free primary education. Granted it has very many problems. But what did one expect from a 3rd world country with over 50% of its population living below the poverty line. I'm aware of the fact that many expressed how necessary it was for Kenya to wait to 'afford' free primary education before it was implemented.I disagreed with that opinion then, and I,like Clinton applaud Kibaki for it. I appalud him for resisting his peers and going ahead with the plan despite the doubting Thomases. Because free primary education guarantees the basic read and write capabilities to each and every child within school going age. Scratch that, to each and every person, old and young as affirmed by some amazing enrollments of some men older than 80 years of age.

What these men do is affirm Kibaki's, and people like myself, points of view. Fact is, education should be accessible to all that desire to have it. For a man at 80 to go to school, no one can convince me he aspires to graduate one day and work for Price Water house. He just wants the validation. The ability to read his bible, his letters, his prescriptions, to write his will, each and every living man's freedoms. Waiting, say, one, two, three, ten, fifteen years? Say, when again were we gonna be ready? How does this help? What happens to the hundreds of thousands of children every year that are not enrolling in school, while we wait? Every following year, the number doubles and so do the country's woes. Little education is better than no education. It enables the avarage Juma to start his jua kali business and keep his books. Thus feed his family and improve the society in general. Additionally, it reduces the child abuse cases of 9 year old housemaids.

Also to be noted, quite frankly, is that all opposed cited lack of infrastructure, classrooms, desks etc as their reasons. Each one of these people is educated, some as educated as one can hope to be. Let me say something, hopefully, those struggling to get an education will allow me to make this comment on their behalves. What right have we, as educated people, to whine about the luxuries associated with education? A person who just wants to go to school, an opportunity to become someone, will be happy to learn inside of a cave, just get an education. So could we all please shut up because the understanding of a great desire to have an education, encircled with the inabilty to afford it, is outside our scope of understanding.

So Clinton. Clinton, a very rich man, achieved, obviously intelligent, and if you're about to tell me about Monika Lewinsky, shut your judgemental and most likely hypocritical mouth up; is able to look at Kenyans and see their inability to be appreciative of anything. Kenyans want instant gratification and that's why 'kitu kidogo' prospers. Anything that takes time to bear fruit is always a bitter pill to swallow, better yet, a failed project. Clinton said, that change takes time. Take the time to review why he would say that to the common mwanachi. And take the time to review how your negativity affects a growing nation. Seriously, when the words "ask not, what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" were uttered by one of the World's great, I'm convinced the situation was triggered by a bunch of people, very like our Kenyan selves. With a culture of complaining and little contribution. If the shoe fits, wear it.

Friday, July 08, 2005

This lack of Diplomacy

I'm all about Calling out a spade versus calling it a spoon. However, I'm also all about identifying appropriate places to voice out any and all concerns.

It started out with Clay. And yes, Kenya is corrupt. No one is arguing with this. Isn't Britain? Even slightly? What was that about a murder and perhaps Blair having something to do with it, tied to the conclusions drawn from the investigations pertaining to Iraq before Blair decided to condone the war that he and his cronie are into these days? Long winding sentence. Befitting the long winding tales we've heard about this war time and time again. Cronie... Chosen because these are two older people, getting into "clever" antics.

While everyone applauded Clay for saying what they'd all been thinking, I was enraged. It is completely disrespectful to a country and its leaders to blurt stuff like that outside of the proper settings. For starters, he made a claim and offered no proof at the time. He suggested he had some, but showed none at the time. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this in whole or in part, sueable as character assassination? Additionally, these claims he made, definitely bound to have a political and economic effect. I don't believe that Clay is a dumb person. He was aware of the possible and expected effects of his utterances and I believe this was a calculated move. So why do this , this way? What is he suggesting? That he is too above President Kibaki or his government to meet with them at an appropriate setting to discuss his concerns? Insulting! Again, Clay is aware the best way to tumble an organization is to ridicule its ruler. Anyone in a position of power knows what it means to lose the respect of those that report to you or those you govern. Why did Clay choose to 'present" Kibaki out to his people this way? What was the motivating factor?

And kenyans applaud Clay for saying this. First and foremost, unless they are resounding idiots, Clay only pointed out the obvious. This habit Kenyans have taken of waiting in silence for someone else to fight their battles for them is completely tiring and definitely undesirable. Another mark off. Point of absolute irritation, Clay repeated these actions. And the press continued to carry him as some kind of a hero, but with maybe a hint of discolor. They should have given me a column to put him in his place. Again, Kenyans have to fight for their dignity. The point is to show clay and the rest of the world that despite our evils, we will be respected. Our government will be too and so will everything else we believe in. You think they are being disrespectful of Kibaki, whose government you may be displeased with. Question is, once they start on this path, how do you stop them several governments later. The desirable, proactive thing to do is nip this bad habit in the bud.

And will the copy cats cease and desist! Enough already! Every outgoing person has something to say? Shut up! Give me 1 hour, a country and the internet, and I'll paint you a picture. You want it rosy, you got it. You want it really ugly? You got that too. So this stupid public bickering from diplomats needs to come to an end. For many right reasons. Many.

And why are American marines at the Mombasa ports? Did their president and government forget that they had a travel advisory against the very same country? Double standards...

US Air-No-ways

I had to fly to Philly for the 4th of July weekend. That in itself wasn't an issue. Flying with US airways, what an experience. I cannot believe the changes that this airline has undergone. Not one positive one. Zero, zilch.

It didn't help that, due to a last minute ticket purchase, I had to be searched. Does that SS stand for strip search? And what's with all the forewarning before you get molested? "I will now pat your breasts with the back of my hand..." Like Shut up and get it over with! Anyway I walked from that and my first trip to Charlotte was mainly uneventful.

Get to Charlotte and the first indication that things are messed up is that I walk to gate 37, get told our gate has been changed to 34. Not too bad, get to 34, plane has been delayed by some 40 minutes. Apparently its coming in from Barbados and they are yet to get here, after which the plane will need both cleaning and security checks... Who cares? Prior planning might have averted this. "Is there bad weather?" I inquire. "Nope" comes the reply. Just some other issues came up. It's still too early to know what I was up against. I'm concerned by the man on one of the payphones swearing against ever flying US airways. I'm thinking, "well, I noticed that no one came back to collect trash and that we landed with my seat pulled back,mine and the dude next to me... but is it all that serious?" That is a thought coming in prematurely.

I sit down to wait for our plane to arrive. Pull out my Sidney Sheldon, which is actually interesting. Only thing is I keep getting interrupted by people rushing to the counter. They all keep asking the same question. "Has the plane left?" I'm thinking, "No. It's been delayed." Wrong answer. Attendant keeps asking them, where are you headed? As long as the answer isn't Philadelphia, which was 100% of the times. She says to them next, "oh your plane was delayed?" A frustrated "yes" followed always. Nonchalantly, she proceeds to direct them to the scheduling desk that will assist them because they need to be booked onto other flights. Here was my concern, say, like 35 minutes into all this. Too many people had stopped at the counter with the same question and same answers. So how many people actually left in this plane? More importantly, how many planes were delayed. Quite frankly, a clear pattern of operation is beginning to form. I got to Philly 1 hour late. Right before midnight. And the queue at Hertz was just the icing on the cake. Its midnight and I have to queue 40 minutes to get a car? Jeez! What is the world coming to? And all this after I have a headache from popped ears for like the last 45 minutes of the flight, not to mention a completely deaf right ear.

Return journey. I am sincerely praying my decongestants work. I cannot go through the excruciating pain in my ears again. Thank goodness this is a direct flight. Again, I have to be patted down and basically molested as I check in. Watch the crazy male open up my little bag of paraphanelia and really peer into my little little things. No biggie. I'm prepared for US airways. I have no expectations. True. They did not disappoint me. Our flight was delayed. Why? The crew with which our flight was leaving had not arrived yet. Can you believe this? We have a plane scheduled for departure with a crew that doesn't check in until 1 hour after we are supposed to have departed. All the while, intercom after intercom is abuzz with flight delays. Eventually I have to ask if any single flight on US airways departs before it is at least 1 hour late anymore. 1.5 hours later, we board. And I am home.

So I've heard that America West bought or partnered with US Airways. It's like mystery solved. I flew America West one time too many before where they dumped me in some bundus late, my flight had left, and no flight to San Jose, or San Francisco, my destination, was available for another 4 hours. 4 hours no connecting flight? It was a business trip... I was screwed. And then they lost my luggage. And the attitudes I got from these people, even on my return trip. I wrote them off sincerely and purely then. And US Airways rests right there with them now.