Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Revisioning Kenya with words

A powerful piece of performance poetry from a student journalist, Ahmed Kassim Abdi, is reported in the East African, in an eloquent piece by Shalini Gidoomal (14 Sept 2009), attending Revisioning Kenya, a forum looking at how Kenya can "rise from the ashes". They almost tried to take the mic away after he spoke the first line:

"I hear voices in my head.

It's like a multiple personality disorder...where there is nothing but confusion; mixed sounds...all these many, many, many different voices...

Mixed up voices.....

All confused. In my head......

Just like those of our Grand Coalition, who's muddled noise has become a sickness, whose voices disturbs the nation's heart.

I'm a pastoralist, not a terrorist,

Optimist, never pessimist

Creative and innovative, camel and cows my provision,

I'm now in a disorganised house like the tower of Babel, multiple personality, another sad story

I hear desperate multiple voices, I know not why

Abdi! Kenya is burning

Abdi! Nakumatt is burning

Abdi! extra judicial killings

Abdi! I'm starving

I slept, still multiple voices insist!

Abdi! again!"

Reading this, I can hear that "pin-drop silence" that Gidoomal refers to after the audience heard Abdi's first line.

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