Thursday, 3 January 2008

International human wrongs in Kenya

The death toll is exceeding the 300s as the Kenyan people continue to fight against what was an openly rigged election process in dire hope to grab hold of what is left of their fundamental civil and political rights. The world is watching in awe.

Is this not an appropriate time to ask ourselves, the international community of state, non-state actors and individuals, a number of critical questions: where have the politico-legal norms for a fair and free election process originated (if not Western societies)? Why have the monitoring teams representing the European Union, and a considerable number of IGOs and NGOs disappeared in the midst of all this chaos? and Who is going to be the catalyst to bring about, if not at the very least support, the securing of peace in a nation found today in profound turmoil and despair.

The international system of governance has once again reaffirmed its state of utter impotence. Not even the UN Security Council reacts to the atrocities, let alone the UNHCHR and its organs. Our best bet, we seem to believe, is to leave them be altogether. Refraining from arousing even regional conversations amongst the African nations we choose to remain in our barracks, numbed by the lessons we think we should have learned from more recent humanitarian interventions. Sadly, still unable to realize that inaction and passivity is sure to secure neither us, nor humanity, a brighter, more stable and promising future.

Kenyans were praised for their utter dedication to the principles of democracy and the political process as they stood in line to the voting polls for hours. An expressive number of organizations and governmental delegations (less Pan-Africanist than expected) were on site to support the process and assure the purity of the demos (or demon in disguise) at work. A case that reminds us more recently of Nigeria and more boldly (remarking the inappropriate nature of such impossible-to-oversee puppet shows) of Iraq.

This is a very sorrowful implication of the unravelling nature of the operation of identity building that Western society has chosen to achieve through the institution of human rights, amongst others. Whose rights and where do they originate? About these we have blatantly forgotten. After all, Kenya today is a mirror of a people, reflecting the face of humanity, that 'want' to express the universal dignity bestowed upon them as human beings on account of their own humanity.

1 comment:

John Flood said...

There does seem to have been a decomposition of society from nation to tribe in the wake of these elections. We have to ask what the character of the nation is. Is it merely an artifact of the 19th century that has endured too long? Within Europe we are seeing how nation states, the UK among them, are taking on different identities according to "tribal" connections, such as Scottish, Welsh, Catalan, Macedonian, etc. We can accept these changes here, but not in Africa. Of course there may be good reasons not to. But the imperial mind still lingers.