Saturday, June 25, 2005


1.0. Breaking News Featuring Two Religious Fundamentalists
One of the first things I did today after switching my eyes on this morning was to turn on the idiot box.

I wandered over to the main propaganda channel to see what CNN was reporting. I was struck by two closely related stories happening a world apart.

Just across the Canadian border- actually, a little bit further off in the City of New York- I found out that the

Reverend Billy Graham, still going strong at 86, had just kicked off the first of a three-day series of "crusades" in the famed Central Park. The ageing reverend used to be a staple of my "chapel" periods on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I was a secondary school student at Mombasa Bapist High School in the 1970s.

Flipping through the tube looking for something more homegrown(as in Canadian content) I came across the CBC's coverage of the elections across the oceanic,religious and ideological divide that separates the fundamentalist Christian cleric Billy Graham from

Ahmadinejad Mahmoud, the "hardline mayor" of Teheran who has just been elected with 62% of the vote to be the next President of Iran.

For some reason, these two news item gave me a flashback to a conversation I was having with a certain Swahili Muslim friend of mine here in Toronto recently. Actually, it is with quite a few Muslim friends of mine but I will combine all their observations into one summary when I continue with this theme in a couple of minutes.

2.0. The Courage To Utter Uncomfortable Secular Truths About Religious Extremism

Before I embark on that journey I want to preface my comments with an obvious but necessary caveat:

This piece is NOT inspired or informed by any venomous disdain or ferocious vendetta for any people of faith be they Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists,or African Traditionalists. One of the puerile stereotypes about Marxists is that we "hate" religious believers and we spend all our waking moments trying to belittle their faith. The fact of the matter is that it is often socialists (and other democratic minded atheists) who stand up for religious freedoms when the holy joes and sanctimonious janes are too scared to speak out against repression, intolerance and religious discrimination.

In my particular case, I have pointed out to my Christian friends that I grew up as a Christian and have too many connections with sincere Christians to "hate" Christianity- my mother was Born Again, so is my fiancee. For a more detailed exposition of my attitude towards Christianity see my 2004 essay titled Oloo's Rhumba With Christianity.

In Kenyan online circles, I have been among the most VOCAL DEFENDERS of Muslims and their rights as you can see from this essay posted at Mashada called Let Us Listen to Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters; this radio documentary on the oppresion of Muslims in Kenya;this rejoinder to Guardian(UK) columnist Polly Toynbee on Islamophobia and the Left; a sharp riposte on Mambogani decrying Another Day, Another Deranged Attack on Kenyan Muslims.

I will therefore IGNORE any yelps from any hecklers who try to twist and distort my ensuing SECULAR and CANDID comments by flinging that tired "godless infidel" card on the table. If you are planning to do that, dear reader, then let me tell you in ADVANCE to get out of my face already!

Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding about what I am going to be talking about:

Onyango Oloo would like to CONDEMN and DENOUNCE in the strongest possible the creeping manifestation of religious extremism in Kenya of both the CHRISTIAN and MUSLIM varieties. Onyango Oloo will argue that the so called "fundamentalist" versions of these two world religions may have very little connection to the actual faiths that some extremists from both religions try to peddle as the "pure" version of Christianity and Islam respectively. Onyango Oloo would want to urge sincere and serious Christians and Muslims to stand up against the religious bullies in their respective communities and completely rebuff their dangerous and warped agendas. Onyango Oloo hopes to ignite an honest, frank and open exchange of views among Kenyans who are Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, African Traditionalists, Agnostics and of course, Atheists like Onyango Oloo himself. Have I earned myself a spot at the fiery stake or an interesting date on the executioner's block? Well, so be it.

As I continue with this digital intervention, I am inspired by the following words:

"The greatest truth is honesty, and the greatest falsehood is dishonesty."

Khalīfah Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (r.a) (born,c. 573; died – August 23, 634)

"I'm a Muslim. I've been a Muslim for 20 years. . . . You know me. I'm a boxer. I've been called the greatest. People recognize me for being a boxer and a man of truth. I wouldn't be here representing Islam if it were terrorist. . . . I think all people should know the truth, come to recognize the truth. Islam is peace."
Muhammad Ali speaking on September 21, 2001 at a fundraiser for victims of the WTC and Pentagon attacks.

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Gospel According to John 8:32

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'

Kahlil Gibran (Lebanese born American Muslim philosopher 1883 - 1931)

Children say that people are hung sometimes for speaking the truth.
St. Joan of Arc

"We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds. We have been drenched by many storms. Experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open. Are we still of any use?"
"Telling the truth ... is not solely a matter of moral character; it is also a matter of correct appreciation of real situations and of serious reflection upon them."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
1906-1945;Theologian, spiritual writer,author of fiction and poetry,central figure in the Protestant church struggle against Nazism

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
George Orwell, well known British Anti-Communist writer

Fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.
George Santayana

3.0. The Poison of Religious Extremism in Contemporary Kenyan Society

When I went back to Kenya in September 2003, I was blown away by the number of people who were claiming Jesus Christ as their personal saviour. Many of my cousins, including former fixtures at Garden Square and other Mangelepa, Super Mazembe, Les Kinois, Simba wa Nyika haunts in the seventies and early eighties had now embraced the straight and narrow path. Some of my closest friends- including a couple of former political prisoners had abandoned their godless communist ways and become strict church goers who often fasted for seven days and consider themselves wavering in spirit if they did not attend church five or six days a week( and I am not counting drinking in the lunch time sermons in assorted open air spaces in Nairobi and other urban areas). As we speak, my Born Again fiancee is praying daily for my own soul and trying to convince me each day we speak on the phone that I should purchase the Christian holy book- for she is convinced that despite my Communist convictions, according to her, Onyango Oloo is destined to be one of Kenya's most powerful Christian preachers...

I see nothing wrong with this Christian religious revival along charismatic and evangelical lines because for the most part, the new adherents see their faith as a deeply centering, nurturing and reassuring force that guides their lives, brings them inner peace and assist them in developing closer ties with their relatives, friends, neighbours, co-workers and even strangers on the street. When I fled Kenya in the late 1980s, a Born Again Dawida friend of mine is the one who helped to shelter me days before I sneaked off across the border to escape from the Moi-KANU repression of that era. Even today, I count Born Again Christians among my closest off-line and online friends.

I have seen a similar reawakening of faith among my Muslim friends, especially in Toronto. Two or three of them have dug deeper and deeper into the hadiths and other aspects of Islamic theology- without changing any of the aspects of their characters that made me bond with them over fifteen years ago. For some this has meant a radical departure from some of their erstwhile social habits-like doing the nightclub scene and the like. So, once again, I have no quibble with Muslims who are rediscovering, deepening and reconnecting with various aspects of their faith and the broader global community of Muslims.

Having underscored the above, let me point out what is disturbing to me.

In short:

A largely externally grown aberration of Christianity and Islam that is being transplanted on Kenyan soil with disastrous consequences.

To illustrate, first here is what an AMERICAN from Iowa living in Nairobi found out when he was flipping through the

Kenyan television channels some time back:

Most Americans don't know much about international development. The US is among the most developed (or you may prefer the term "industrialized") nations in the world and most Americans view the rest of the world as places not even worth visiting. This is unfortunate, in my opinion, but this doesn't mean that I don't miss some aspects of American life now that I am living in East Africa, specifically Nairobi, Kenya. For instance, even here, after a long hard day of work I feel like relaxing and watching a little television (make that "a little bit of television;" I actually like my consoles big).

Back home in Iowa, I find that while many television programs are total crap, there are some good ones. And then there are channels, like Discovery, that I love, even if I don't enjoy every single one of their programs.

So I had heard that there is a channel in Kenya that airs programs almost exclusively from the US. I was quite excited about this. After all, while I love to watch local news and programs, I also like to be able to see my favorite shows from home. When I learned what this channel really is and saw it for the first time, I was sorely disappointed.

Let me back up a bit: Kenya has a lot in common with other countries in Africa, like poverty and insecurity. However, Kenya has matured more than many other African nations, especially in terms of democracy and a free press.

Last December, Kenya elected a new president, Mwai Kibaki. Mr. Kibaki defeated the candidate supported by the ex-president, Daniel arap Moi, who finally stepped aside after nearly a quarter-century in office. The transition to the new government has been peaceful and cause for optimism, despite a souring economy and mounting concerns over terrorism and security (the terrorism concerns depress tourism, a vital part of the economy).

The defeat of the old ruling party can be contributed in large part to the fact that the population was better informed. They were also able to publicly demand change. These demands were transmitted via free, private media, including radio, print, and television. I am generally quite impressed with the quality of the media here, particularly print. The newspapers are robust and aggressive in their reporting.

Radio here is a mixed bag. While the news and music stations are generally of a high quality, too many stations sound like their signals are beamed directly from Chicago or Los Angeles. Many of the announcers put on these phony American accents and the promotions jingles and segues sound like they were produced by Rick Dees.

Television here is also a mixed bag. Some channels are quite good. Nation TV, part of Kenya's largest private media conglomerate, produces very professional programs, especially news programs. The others, particularly those owned by the state, are lacking. If you haven't seen television programs from a developing country, let me give you a general idea. Programs range from high-quality, like something you might see on C-SPAN, to medium-quality, like something produced by college TV stations, to low-quality, like the programs made by weirdos for airing on community access channels.

But the most disturbing television in Kenya comes from the good ol' US of A. It's called "The Family Channel" and sometimes "Hope Kenya" and 24/7 airs some of the most shocking Christian-oriented programs I've ever seen. At times I am so fascinated, so terrified, by what's on this channel that I'll watch it for hours.

Most of the programs on "The Family Channel" are simply videotaped sermons, usually delivered by a firey but pasty white preacher with a southern accent. Some of the preachers seem harmless enough, like the moustachioed Texas Baptist who preaches through hilarious stories. Others, like Benny Hinn, are downright dangerous in their "teachings."

The other night I was watching and came across a white-haired southern preacher whose name I don't know. He was talking about how evil homosexuality is and what an affront it is to God. He said that homosexuality is a choice, not a state, and that homosexual acts condemn those who commit them to hell. Nothing out of the ordinary, really, for the religious right.

Then he went on to defend mixed-race marriages, saying that all people are just people, regardless of skin color. "Rip these skins off our bodies," he said, "and we are all the same." I thought to myself, "Well, at least he's not a TOTAL bigot." Just as I finished this thought, the preacher went on.

"In a room you put a black baby, a yellow baby, a red baby, and a white baby. They all do baby things. They all make the same faces." He started making baby faces and then said, "If you give a toy to a black baby, he'll take the toy and do this." He then pantomimed dribbling a ball and shooting it, like a basketball into a basket.

"If you give the same toy to a red baby, he does this." He made a whooping sound and patted his mouth with his hand, creating the stereotypical Native American war cry from old movies.

Just then my power went out, turning the television off. By the time it came back on, the preacher was on to a new topic. I was very disappointed: I really want to know what the yellow baby and the white baby do with that toy. My wife, who's from Shanghai, joked with me that the yellow baby would use the toy to open up a Chinese restaurant. We really had no guess as to what the white baby would do.

Interspersed between these preachers' sermons are short, locally-produced segments that try to turn the messages just aired into cold, hard cash. There are usually 3 presenters, an older south Asian-looking and sounding man who seems to host these segments, a young portly American man with a shaved head who reads off lists of recently "saved" individuals (Kenyans), and an African woman (who sounds Kenyan) who does commentary.

With so many televangelistic broadcasts shown on the Family Channel, do the local donations get split amongst the preachers, or do they simply go into the coffers of whatever (presumably American) entity owns the Family Channel? I wonder because at the heart of these messages is some foul intent. The only question is whether the intent is simply to enrich the charlatan preachers, or if they have something more sinister in mind?

Because in many respects, these preachers aren't much different than guys like Ayatollah Khomeini and Osama Bin Laden. We've started to see this already, with right-wing Christian terrorists killing abortion-performing doctors, blowing up gay night clubs, and the like. With the ever-expanding audience to which these dangerous men have access, the number of violent incidents is bound to multiply.

As a rule, I think religion can be a good thing. It can offer people a firm footing while navigating a life that is unpredictable and trying. Mainstream religions and their preachers offer people comfort and sound advice when they need it, as well as a forum for exercising the natural human need for spirituality. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who take advantage of this need to create wealth and power for themselves. While the United States is busy fighting the war against terror, mostly in the Muslim world, I think we need to start looking very carefully at the terrorists' breeding ground in our own backyard.

I don't mean to be alarmist, but a world bombarded with messages of intolerance and religious absotism can only become a more dangerous place.

And all I really wanted to do was to find reruns of "Friends" on Kenyan TV.


I have written elsewhere about the noxious nexus between the Christian Right and the Bush Administration. For more information about the 700 Club,

Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the Christian Coalition
, please click here.

Nowhere has the creepy agenda of the Religious Right in Kenya been more apparent than on the question of abortion, choice and reproductive rights in general. Here is what I had to say about the fascist agenda of Christian religious right on this subject. For good measure, I did explore the stance of Muslims regarding the sensitive issue of abortion in an essay that you can access via this link. A short story called The Killer that I composed over a year ago leaves very little room for ambiguity about what I think of religious fundamentalists and a woman's right to reproductive choice. Around the same time, I sent Attorney General Amos Wako an Open Letter wondering whether NARC had become a Taliban regime in East Africa following the arraignement on murder charges of Dr. John Nyamu and two Kenyan nurses.

On the same tip, my views on the Scott Peterson Case and its application to the Kenyan context also illustrate what I felt and still feel to be dangerous and odious agenda of the Pro-Death Movement in Kenya. When a court of law in Nairobi recently acquitted Dr. Nyamu and his co-accused I found that to be a very gratifying victory indeed for our national sanity,democracy, reproductive rights and the need to keep laws of Kenya from falling within the ghoulish clutches of the far right Christian and other religious fundamentalists in our country.

And this brings me to the extremists who are causing havoc within the Muslim communities in Mombasa, Lamu, Malindi, Nairobi,Garissa, Mandera, Wajir,Isiolo, Nyeri, Mumias, Kendu Bay, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret and elsewhere in Kenya. Like I said earlier, some of the things I have heard from concerned MUSLIMS about what some extremists are doing in the name of Islam is quite disturbing.

Let me go on the record as being TOTALLY OPPOSED to such extremist tendencies because I believe these actions will end up not only dividing the Muslim community in Kenya, but play right into the hands of the enemies of Islam in Kenya.

Did you know that there are some people, calling themselves "Muslims" who are urging their fellow Muslims NOT to watch television, not to listen to popular music? The same people have castigated those Muslims who persist in celebrating Maulidi-Prophet Mohamad's birthday; they have denounced those Muslims who conduct hitma prayers following the death of loved ones and have generally tried to campaign for a ban on traditional WEDDINGS and other cultural activities that they feel is either "ushirikina" or "distortions" of the Islamic faith. These sectarian elements find themselves completely out of sync with teachings of mainstream Islam and totally at variance with the long cherished tolerant traditions of Islam in the Kenyan context.

My sources(who are all serious Kenyan Muslims) tell me that these 21st Century Kenyan Talibans are largely financed by Wahabbists in Saudi Arabia or Shia backers in Iran. Money from these two Middle Eastern states has already "been poured" via various philanthropic outlets all over Kenya and frequently the communities where these sectarians are preaching their brand of Islam find themselves held hostage because of the generous donations from the outside and the sheer bullying of the local lieutenants of these sectarian tendencies.

Very few Muslims in Kenya or the Kenyan Muslim communities in North America, Europe and the Middle East dare to speak out openly against these EXTREMIST elements who are busy hijacking the Islamic institutions in Kenya for fear of being branded anti-Muslim.

It is time for the climate of fear and the conspiracy of silence to be broken. I am urging my Muslim brothers and sisters to openly debate these extremist tendencies and come up with Muslim solutions made in Kenya before it is too late.

Why do I say this?

American imperialism has identified Muslims as their principal ideological enemy are using all the propaganda tools at their disposal to discredit, demonize and malign Islam. We know that the NARC government in Kenya has played into the American frenzied war on terrorism agenda to harass, brutalize and incarcerate INNOCENT Kenyan Muslims since Kibaki came to power in 2002.

It is therefore incumbent on the Kenyan Muslim community to CONFRONT HEAD ON those people who have taken it upon themselves to IMPOSE a version of Islam that is NOT supported by a close reading of the Koran, the Hadith and other Muslim theological texts.

I will come back to this shortly...

4.0. What is Religious Fundamentalism?

An American woman called Elfriede Harth said the following(concerning the CHRISTIAN variety):
"Religious fundamentalism is the refusal of secular policy making. While a ‘quietist’ type of such refusal refuses secular politics by turning away from the (evil and Godless) public scene, ‘active’ fundamentalism aims at shaping ‘politics’. It is a religious occupation of political space. Both forms are a symptom for a crisis of democratic communication. Religious language, theological categories and concepts are used to define politics: faith and unfaith, orthodoxy and heresy. Political opponents are marginalized and repressed as dissidents. ‘Active’ fundamentalism is a modern intent to solve at any costs (though not necessarily through violence) the ambivalences of modernity. To do so, fundamentalism uses means of modern policymaking, namely: 1) the shaping of public opinion and 2) social engineering. Sometimes religious fundamentalism even aims at transforming a society in a revolutionary way...
Fundamentalism appeared in the USA in the first quarter of the 19th century among Protestants. The mere concept of ‘fundamentalism’ was forged by those considering themselves as returning to the fundaments of Christian faith. In their eyes, these fundaments of Christian faith had been lost over time. Society and ‘the World’ were considered corrupt, evil and godless: a threat for salvation. The Bible became in an extreme way the centre of life and was taken literally.

Characteristics of American Christian right

Fundamentalists search for de-institutionalisation. They have a critical attitude towards of all forms of ‘establishments’, which they consider to be corrupted and infected by the forces of evil, which eventually are incarnated in the ‘cosmopolitan Jew’, the strongest symbol for rootless individualism. Fundamentalists have a profound mistrust or even aversion to the traditional Churches and religious denominations, the State, the UN system, the Federal Reserve System, the CIA, the FBI, the Military-Industrial Complex, the Universities, traditional media, etc..

Fundamentalists perceive reality in Manichean terms and have a preference for conspiracy theories. Events are conceptualised in terms of good and evil, black and white. They personify structural realities and interpret them as the result of the will of demoniac forces conspiring to combat Christian America and corrupt and dominate the world. Manicheistic world-views have a negative impact on women as gender relations are shaped according to a system of irreconcilable antagonisms, one of its poles (the ‘female’) being always the negative, valueless, deficient one.

A profound conviction of American fundamentalists is that they have been chosen to accomplish a specific historical mission (missionarism) and that their nation, America, has a special role to play in God’s salvation plan. They are super-patriots and see themselves as incarnating the ‘real’ American identity. The stress of the group over the individual tends to a denial of human rights. Women’s only or at least main function in this type of setting is the responsibility to reproduce (biologically and ideologically) the group.

A fundamentalist is not born as such, but he once makes a voluntary option to assume his ‘prophetic’ role. By conversion a person is re-born as a ‘real’ Christian. This is an individual, voluntary act that each individual decides upon and bears the responsibility for.

Christian fundamentalists in the USA are anti-intellectualists and anti-rationalists. An emotional and personal experience of God is at the core of their religiosity. Although mostly very keen about using modern technology, scepticism, relativism, and a critical questioning of all standpoints, including their own one, are rejected.

Fundamentalists have a profoundly patriarchal worldview. They believe in the One, the only human legitimate model. And this one is white, male, adult, heterosexual, and healthy, has a good job, is economically successful and is protestant. All other forms of human condition are considered deviances from the One. Those who do not meet all these criteria are by definition inferior beings, the more inferior the less of these criteria are met. Racism, sexism and antifeminism are consequently further characteristics of fundamentalists.

At present there are two main types of active Christian fundamentalists in the US: the televangelists and the Christian militia."


An Iranian Feminist,

Ziba Mir-Hosseini, had the following to say about Islamic Fundamentalism in her country:

"First, let me draw attention to a neglected aspect of Iranian women’s engagement with Islamic fundamentalism. It was not only the women active in socialist organizations who felt betrayed by their male colleagues; women from all walks of life felt a similar sense of betrayal and confusion. This was something that I personally came to experience when I lived in Iran from 1980 to 1984, and then documented in my subsequent research on family courts. Women felt that the very men they loved - their fathers, brothers and husbands - had tacitly colluded with the state in depriving them of what they considered to be their rights. What made the matter more painful for believing women activists was that religion gave these men the authority and legitimacy to do this. It was then that the seeds of a new dissent were planted, which contributed to the emergence of a reformist movement over two decades later after the unexpected victory of Khatami in the 1997 presidential elections. Women’s votes played a major part in bringing the reformist government of Khatami into office. Though the expected reforms have failed to materialize, the struggle for them continues.

Second, I suggest that the undemocratic and polarised political culture of Iran of the 1970s, together with the populist character of the 1979 Revolution, made the dominance of the ‘fundamentalist’ agenda espoused by the Islamist revolutionaries inevitable. Two elements that could have contained or moderated the Islamists’ notion of gender rights and relations were absent from the revolutionary discourse. There was no indigenous feminist discourse around which women could rally and the defence of women’s rights was not a priority for the various secularist groups who took part in the Revolution. The fact that both these elements were missing - in different ways – was a legacy of both the skewed pattern of modernization that had been espoused by the Pahlavi regime since the 1930s and of the appropriation of ‘feminism’ by the state in the 1960s. By the 1970s, most political activists - whether Islamic or secular – perceived ‘feminism’ and the ‘defence of women’s rights’ as part of the bourgeois project of the Pahlavis and as Western imports that should be resisted. When the Revolution happened, there was little in its political discourse and culture that could challenge and contain the populist agenda of the Islamists."


And here is what a Palestinian woman,Nahda Younis Shehada, has to say about the rise of fundamentalism in her society:

"In Palestine, an examination of the main nationalist movement (Fatah, the ruling party of the PLO and consequently of the Palestinian Authority) and the main Islamist movement (Hamas) shows the blurred boundaries between the two. One explanation for their similarities is that the leadership of both movements comes from the same class background. Sharabi (1988) writes that the similarity between the two discourses is due to the petty bourgeois origin of the two political movements. Mishal and Sela (2000:48) shed more light on the commonality between Fatah and Hamas as two political movements deriving their support from a Palestinian majority that does not have a strong political affiliation and tends to be associated with the Islamic Arab tradition. Thus, the public perception of Hamas and Fatah as being complementary rather than competitive asserts the fact that the social boundaries that are supposed to clarify the differences between the two are rather fluid and flexible.

But what is missing in Mishal and Seha’s argument is the fact that political frontiers are conditioned by the specific context of their creation and development; they are subject to time, place and historical circumstances; the power balance between the two parties as they shift their strategies; who is in power and who is in the opposition.

Fatah’s discourse is more flexible than that of Hamas despite the fact that it was created by Muslim Brotherhood members (one of whom was Yasser Arafat). The reason for this is that the leadership of the PLO has been created in the 1960s’ context when Arab nationalism was influential in directing PLO discourse (particularly Nasserism) and the fact that even the most conservative PLO members have been inoculated by the secular inspiration of Marxist PLO members, which acts as a moderating influence. Being away from the daily confrontation with the occupation, and thus liberated from countering the practical and strategic social questions in the occupied territories; the experience of being in Lebanon for a long time (1971-1982) and thus inevitably inclined by its relative ‘socially opened-culture’, all these elements constitute reasons for the moderate discourse of the PLO."


In December 2002, a Nigerian Muslim Scholar, Feminist and Activist,

Dr Ayesha Imam, came to Montreal, Quebec to receive the John Humphrey Human Rights Award.

Here is what she had to say in her acceptance speech.

By the way, there are OTHER KINDS of religious fundamentalism.

Here is a link to an article about Hindu fundamentalism.

And over here you will find an article in the liberal-left leaning US magazine the Nation talking about Jewish fundamentalism.

5.0. What Can, Rather What SHOULD Kenyans Do About Religious Extremism?

I have a very simple answer to give to my Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, African Traditionalist and other religious compatriots, friends and colleagues:

Speak Up! Do Not Be Afraid to Confront the REACTIONARY agenda of ALL Religious Extremists in Kenya if you believe in democracy, justice, equality, peace, national harmony, social progress and maendeleo in general.

Enuff Sed.

I am out of here...

Onyango Oloo

Thursday, June 23, 2005


1.0.Introducing Abdullahi Fourreh, Ethiopian Born Canadian...

Yesterday (Wednesday, June 22, 2005), when I was traveling from Montreal, I decided to pick up the Ottawa Citizen during a pit stop in Kingston, Ontario. The front page was dominated by three stories- a report from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service warning that the ongoing war in Iraq is creating a new set of battle-hardened "jihadists" poised to carry out terrorism for years to come-with Canada not being immune to their attacks; a glimpse of one of those two British kids who were conceived and have grown up under the public glare

graduating from

Sandhurst- the favourite college for

Gen. Yakubu Gowon), present and future African coup makers; and a sneak preview of a story in the business section about the demise of

Jack Kilby, the legendary co-inventor of the integrated chip.

NONE of those stories held my attention for more than thirty seconds.

A smaller story("Judge Orders man with TB held after he refuses care”), also on the front page, involving an Ottawa resident originally from Ethiopia engrossed me so much that I not only re-read the story twice, but has now inspired this digital that you are just starting to read.

A few minutes ago I went to the Ottawa Citizen web site to try and retrieve that story so that I could link it here- alas, no such luck.

Instead I found out the Citizen's same town rival,the turgid, screeching right wing tabloid the Ottawa Sun carried the story here and the same report was cited by the
Ottawa bureau of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

For some weird reason, it would appear that the only other non-Canadian outlet to carry the story was the Chinese news agency.

Since you, dear reader-unless you live in Ottawa, Ontario or some other part of Canada- may not be able to get your hands on that particular hard copy of the Citizen to read the story for yourself, I have taken the liberty to excerpt this section of Jake Rupert’s story:

Abdullahi Fourreh, 51, has been diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. He also has kidney failure and severe diabetes. In January, when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, he initially followed his doctors’ advice and took a mixture of medications. However, the medications made him ill with vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and other symptoms. Doctors changed the medications three times in an attempt to find a course with milder side effects. But each time, Mr. Fourreh quit because the drugs made him feel worse. Finally, he convinced himself that he didn’t have the disease, and the doctors were, at best, incompetent or, at worst, trying to kill him.

The Ottawa Public Health Department obviously holds a drastically divergent interpretation Abdullahi's medical condition-especially after a Health Worker dealing with Abdullahi contracted tuberculosis.

As we speak, Abdullahi Fourreh is in custody-apparently for his own and as well the wider public’s health and safety.

2.0. The Ethics and Social Justice Implications of Forced Treatment

I have decided to write on this topic because it brings up many ethical, social justice, legal, medical and practical concerns that I have about the whole idea of incarcerating people for their own good.

In the early 1990s Cuba was denounced around the world for her open practice of placing in quarantine those who were diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. Many people (and not just confined to the right wing nut bar who hate Cuba around the clock and keep hallucinating about a pro-capitalist post-Castro restoration of neo-colonialism)- many people were concerned about the widespread perception that this was an infringement of people's right to movement and other fundamental democratic freedoms.

However according to this BBC report, Cubaleads the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Naturally friends of Cuba will trumpet this achievements as you can see from the passage below:

AIDS policy in Cuba has evolved in unique and sometimes controversial directions. These policies have depended on close epidemiologic surveillance. In the most controversial of Cuba's policies, HIV-positive patients previously were temporarily separated from the general community during an educational and evaluational process in one of several national sanitariums.

Historically, the sanitarium policy originated in the mid-1980s, when several military officers returning from Africa were found to be infected with HIV. Although these officers were viewed as war heroes in Cuba, public health officials feared a rapidly increasing epidemic as other Cubans returned from Africa. Partly due to a long tradition of treating patients with communicable infections in comfortable sanitariums, the government initially supervised the construction of an inpatient facility for HIV and AIDS patients near Havana. Because patients who tested positive for HIV were required to live there, the compulsory aspect of the policy received criticism from outside Cuba,, as well as praise for its apparent success in controlling the epidemic and its humane approach to patient care.,, Homophobia, by our observations, did not influence HIV policies; for instance, one of the most widely known and highly respected Cuban advocates for HIV patients is the openly gay and HIV-positive family physician, Doctor Juan Carlos de la Concepción.

As the epidemic was brought under control and as more was learned abouttransmission, the compulsory components of Cuba's HIV policies were eased. Residence at the HIV sanitariums has become voluntary for all except those who demonstrably have placed others at high risk through their conduct and those unable to care for themselves. Although sanitariums provide services in 13 of Cuba's 14 provinces, the proportion of HIV-positive patients entering these facilities has declined, as more people have opted for outpatient treatment. A large majority of newly diagnosed patients, estimated at 70-80 percent, currently choose ambulatory treatment and do not enter a sanitarium. The patients whom we interviewed at the national sanitarium near Havana all expressed a preference to remain living there, because they were able to maintain their family and work relationships while staying in close contact with the health professionals whom they trusted. These interviews showed a probable change in attitudes among HIV patients since 1993, when another U.S. group studying AIDS in Cuba found more evidence of frustration with the restrictions imposed by prior sanitarium policies.58

Screening for HIV has occurred at a much higher rate than in other countries at comparable levels of economic development. In a population of somewhat more than 11 million, approximately 2 million tests are performed annually. Since 1987 mandatory testing has been done for specified groups: patients diagnosed with other sexually transmitted diseases and their partners, patients admitted to hospitals or undergoing outpatient surgery, pregnant women during the first trimester and at delivery, prisoners, public health employees, Cubans traveling abroad, workers in the tourism industry, and merchant sailors.58 In addition, as patients obtain primary care services from family physicians, they receive encouragement to undergo voluntary testing.

Overall, Cuba's AIDS policies have achieved successful results, in comparison to both economically developed countries and other countries in the Third World. Until early 1996, the number of HIV positive patients was 1,199; 429 cases of AIDS had been diagnosed, with 287 deaths (Cuban Ministry of Public Health data, 1996). Although the Ministry of Public Health acknowledges that some HIV-positive patients remain undiagnosed and has developed estimates of their numbers, the very extensive mandatory and voluntary screening programs indicate that the problem of underreporting is less severe than in other countries.

The technical level of AIDS services in Cuba equals or surpasses that in other countries. From our observations, Cuban physicians have succeeded in implementing all diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for HIV disease that currently are used in the United States. CD4 counts are monitored closely for all HIV-positive patients. Medications for treating the infectious and neoplastic complications of AIDS are usually available, despite difficulties due to the U.S. embargo. The newest generations of antiviral agents enter clinical practice rapidly in Cuba, including recently the protease inhibitors. Additionally, care plans encourage the use of immunologically active materials that are readily available from Cuban producers. For instance, interferon alfa has been offered since the mid-1980s as a routine part of prophylaxis along with other immunizations. The leaders of Cuba's HIV program attribute the relatively low death rate among HIV patients partly to these additional features of AIDS prophylaxis. More systematic evaluation of these immunologically active medications in HIV care comprises a focus of current Cuban research.


I was discussing this issue with a very good friend of mine who is in the health/medical profession and she was telling me that she could see where the Ottawa Public Health Department was coming from saying it was a tough but necessary call to valorize the health of the wider community over the privacy rights of a single individual.

What I am endeavouring to put across here is that these matters are rarely so clear cut.

3.0.Traditional Therapies and Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Nevertheless, being the contrarian that I often play, I want to don the robes of the Devil's Wakili and argue Mr. Abdullahi Fourreh's case for a second.

For instance:

Can we contemplate the implications of the Canadian court order if it turns out that Abdullahi Fourreh is RIGHT and the Ottawa medical establishment wrong?

How about if he does not in fact, a confirmed diagnosis of tuberculosis?

Alternatively, how about if he does have a strain pulmonary tuberculosis which is RESISTANT to ALL the pharmacological interventions and options currently available within the Canadian health system?

Is it possible that there are traditional, non-Western, perhaps herbal remedies that are MORE effective in thwarting pulmonary tuberculosis.

My scientific, health and medical professional friends are probably scoffing with disbelief at my first suggestion- muttering under their breath:

"Don't be asinine Oloo. Of course the first thing they did was to carry out extensive laboratory tests to verify if Mr. Fourreh had pulmonary tuberculosis."

My Canadian friends may rush to remind me that Canada has a LONG HISTORY of battling TB and refer me to this link.

While their more bigoted anti-immigrant xenophobic compatriots may seize on the Fourreh case to recycle racist campaigns from years gone by like the following diatribe.

As you can see, I have anticipated the most predictable objections to my line of argument, so why don't I ignore that carping for a few minutes and proceed with my demonic advocacy?

Over the years, the medical establishments in Asia, Africa, Latin America and slowly, North America have come to appreciate and embrace traditional therapies as complementing, rather than undermining orthodox “modern” Western medicine.

For instance here is what happening in Cambodia about TB.

Here is what the South Africans are doing.

And of course, how could I leave Cuba out of the mix?

Read this fascinating paper by
by Gerard Bodeker on planning for cost-effective traditional therapies.

Here is a link to an abstract from a publication in the Netherlands about pulmonary tuberculosis and traditional therapies in Malawi.

From the same source, a link to an Analysis of 150 cases of pulmonary tuberculosis hemoptysis treated with combined traditional Chinese and western medicine by Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi.

And speaking of China, for $699.95 (US) you can get a six month supply of herbal medicine to battle TB after visiting this URL.

The Medical Anthropology Quarterly edition of June 1997, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 183-201
had an article entitled Sociocultural Aspects of Tuberculosis Control in Ethiopia by Norbert L. Vecchiato of the Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle

In the September 1999 Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease there is an article that looks at Traditional healers as tuberculosis treatment supervisors.

And here is a snapshot of the changing face of TB in the era of AIDS that I would like to cite now and come back to in a few minutes- and not just because it has somethingto do with Kenya. You should read it in conjunction with the following

What I have been struggling to say is that the jury IS STILL OUT whether or not traditional therapies can be totally discounted when it comes to combatting pulmonary tuberculosis, and therefore we should resist the temptation to dismiss Abdullahi Fourreh as just another illiterate African immigrant in Canada who is embarassing his “ educated” fellow Africans with his "backward" and "superstitious" objections to modern and effective, life saving medical interventions.

4.0. Is Abdullahi Fourreh a Delusion AIDS Patient in Denial?

Way back in the early 1990s when I was still living here in the Greater Toronto Area, I was approached by the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention ( Black CAP) to act as a "buddy" for a certain Canadian citizen who was born somewhere in the vicinity of Kenya- but not Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea or Ethiopia- so keep guessing. At that time, I was one of the staff people in the Yonge/Carlton offices of Africans United To Control AIDS(AUCA) an organization formed in September 1990 by a group of Ugandan, Kenyan and other African health professionals and community development workers in Toronto. The reason why I was approached by a Black CAP to act as a buddy was because I had not only undergone their Train the Trainer sessions as an HIV/AIDS educator and working for a sister organization; it was also because they were having problems with a certain male client of theirs who was in a hospice for people with full blown AIDS. This client had completely rebuffed any overtures of support from the (female) support person from Black CAP. The organization then contacted me because they felt there were both gender and cross-cultural barriers that militated against support for this individual. As it happened the person from Black CAP also happened to be a fellow programmer at CKLN 88.1 FM and therefore she was able to give me a full briefing as someone she knew personally. When I was introduced to someone I will call “P.X.” for the purposes of this essay. I can talk about PX after almost fifteen years because he is no longer among us in the land of the living; I have also changed certain details of his story. PX had lived in Canada for several years and had acquired citizenship during his sojourn in this country. He had also acquired an immune deficiency syndrome at some point in his life.

Problem was, PX was CONVINCED that he was not infected at all. In fact, the way he told me the story- he was convinced that his doctors did him by infecting with a deadly poison during a routine hospital visit. Nothing could convince him otherwise. He had written to (then) Prime Minister Brian Mulroney; (then) Ontario Premier Bob Rae; (then) New York mayor David Dinkins; Magic Johnson and about all the most prominent personalities you could think.

A very affable man, PX shocked me with his revelation that he was still having unprotected sex with a woman from his community living also right here in Toronto (later on through one of my female contacts in that community we discreetly and indirectly persuaded that woman to get tested and phew! She was in the clear) as well prostitutes in New York, Ottawa, Windsor and other Canadian cities. At the same time, PX had traveled twice to Nairobi and came back with the wonder drug du jour- KEMRON- which he showed me samples of.

At first I gave PX the benefit of my doubt until it became apparent from other conversations that I will leave out of the public domain that he had lost contact with reality a considerable time before I actually met him for the first time.

It is around this time that a physician friend of mine from another African country introduced me to one of her Canadian professional colleagues who familiarized me with the concept of dementia in AIDS patients. This helped to put some of the often contradictory things told me into perspective. I could see a very highly intelligent man grappling with the reality of a potentially fatal health diagnosis basically by pretending that the medical condition that all his doctors had told him about simply did not exist.

So, of what relevance does the PX story have to do with Abdullahi Fourreh?

You know, I was wondering if perhaps the pulmonary tuberculosis afflicting Abdullahi is or is not one of the opportunistic infections thrown up by an underlying HIV/AIDS condition that he may be suffering from. As indicated in the Kenyan citation, pulmonary TB is often one of the defining characterstics of HIV/AIDs for those who embrace the orthodox view of AIDS. Some of the other things mentioned- problems with his kidneys may also indicate yet some other opportunistic infections.

So there is a POSSIBILITY that the Ottawa Health Department are aware of the HIV/AIDS diagnosis, but BECAUSE of STRICT PRIVACY LAWS in Canada, can not talk about HIV infection for fear of being hit by a multi-million dollar law suit. This is of course, wild speculation on my part.

5.0. Consider This Possibility: Abdullahi Does NOT Have HIV/AIDS or TB!

If we keep our hopefully broad minds completely open, let us entertain a fourth scenario:

Abdullahi Fourreh has some medical problems but he has been totally misdiagnosed by a Western medical establishment that galloped to judgment because of his East African origins and the assumption that he must somehow be contaminated by pulmonary tuberculosis and my association, HIV/AIDS and is therefore a threat to public health and safety.

Misdiagnoses are not unheard of you know folks. I am NOT asserting that this is in fact the case. I am just saying that perhaps we should investigate all the possibilities.

As many of you know, my views regarding the whole HIV/AIDS discourse is very conflicted as you can discern from this essay I wrote several months ago entitled Ignoring Big Pharma's Headache.

What is one to say definitely about the Abdullahi Fourreh case?

I have shared my own ruminations with you dear reader.

What do YOU think?

Onyango Oloo

Monday, June 20, 2005


1.0. Retrieving From the Old Sunday School Lessons of Yester Year...
Matthew 9:14-17:
Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"
15 Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
16 "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." (NIV)

Mark 2:18-22:

Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, "How is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?"
19 Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
21 "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins." (NIV)

Luke 5:33-39:

They said to him, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking."
34 Jesus answered, "Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast."
36 He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, "The old is better.'"

Selections from the Gospels According to Matthew, Mark and Luke; New Testament, Holy Bible

How Wine was made in Palestine Back in The Day...

Wine was made by treading barefoot on the grapes in a wine press, a square or circular pit hewn out of the rock, or dug out and lined with rocks and sealed with plaster. (See Isaiah 63:2-3; Job 24:11b; Lamentations 1:15; Joel 3:13; Matthew 21:33; Revelation 14:19-20; 19:15, where treading the winepress was a symbol of judgment.) The juice then flowed through a channel into a lower vessel, a winevat which functioned as a collecting and fermenting container for the grape juice or must.

In the warm climate of Palestine, grape juice began to ferment very quickly and there was no easy way to prevent fermentation. After the first state of fermentation had taken place in the winevat, the wine was separated from the lees (that is, sediment of dead yeast, tartar crystals, small fragments of grape skins, etc.) and strained through a sieve or piece of cloth (cf. Matthew 23:24). After four to six days it was poured into clay jars lined with pitch (called amphorae in Greece, e.g. Jeremiah 48:11) or animal skins for storage and further fermentation.[3]

Wineskins were made of whole tanned goatskins where the legs and tail were cut off and had been sealed (1 Samuel 1:24; 10:3; 16:20; 25:18; 2 Samuel 16:1). In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word nebel, "skin-bottle, skin," is translated by the KJV as "bottle" which gives us images of glass wine bottles. But these were rather whole goatskins, with nubbins bulging out where the legs once were, the neck tied off where the wine has been poured in, the whole large skin bulging almost to bursting as the carbon dioxide gas generated by the fermentation process stretches it to its limit...
(Excerpted from an online Christian site).

2.0.Applying a Biblical Parable to a Kenyan Political Renovation Attempt

"You should no longer feel the cold, they came with a wave and swept us, but now we are on track. Go home knowing we have given our party a new life and momentum...they have managed to get away with passing the buck and referring to the past and Kanu... enough is enough, we have apologised for our past...we will no longer be apologetic but we shall now be at the forefront of voicing the concern of our people.."- Uhuru Kenyatta at the June 20th, 2005 launch of Building a New Kenya: KANU's Strategic Plan for 2005-2010

Yesterday, the leader of the Official Opposition and the distant runner up in the last Presidential elections

Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled KANU's plan to reclaim the political leadership from NARC come 2007.

An affair not totally devoid of political melodrama, the launch, at Bomas of Kenya, of the KANU roadmap to power was marked by earnest sounding fighting words from an increasingly assertive Uhuru Kenyatta no doubt bouyed by opinion polls that consistently show him besting the indolent Ikulu incumbent.

The fact that the incident took place without incident- a day after Uhuru had addresse a rally that had been "cancelled" by the NARC government on allegedly "security reasons" may point to the fact that Kibaki has finally wisened up slightly to realize that any flirting with the Biwott faction was equivalent to draining a glass full of concentrated hydrochloric acid. Or it could be a reflection of discreet donor pressure to stabilize the major factions in the mainstream parties by "convincing" Kibaki and his cronies that it is NOT in their interests to destabilize KANU. Or it may just be a case of Uhuru Kenyatta, knowing the internal preoccupations within the NARC alliance deciding to call the ruling formation's bluff and go ahead with KANU's agenda.

As I indicated a couple of weeks ago, Uhuru Kenyatta has increasingly cut a figure as the most consistent nationalist figure in the current mainstream contestations for political power- he seemed to have shunned the MEGA tribalists at a time when Safina, NAK and the certain sections of KANU in Central Province seem to be pushing a GEMA andu aitu agenda of ethnic supremacy; his top lieutenants seem to come from the Rift Valley, Nyanza, Western and Coast Province at a time when his other mainstream rivals-





are perceived to be retreating to their respective tribal and regional laagers; he stole the thunder during the recent IPI conference denouncing NARC for undermining democracy at a time when the Kibaki regime is squirming because of the Lucy Kibaki gaffes and the G-8 debt relief rebuffs; untainted by any long term insider ties to the ancien regime, he also can milk his surname for its political brand value.

I have not, of course, had an opportunity to read the KANU blue print in any form and my impressions of its contents are confined to the cursory descriptions I have seen of it in online versions of the Nairobi dailies.

For instance here is how BERNARD NAMUNANE and MURIITHI MURIUKI of the Daily Nation reported the story:

Kanu yesterday launched a blueprint for the 2007 elections and asked the Government to stop blaming the former ruling party for its failures.

At a meeting held under tight security at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, the party pledged to establish a revamped secretariat at its headquarters and energise its vast branch network built during its 40 years in power.

The secretariat, headed by the executive director, Mr Julius Sunkuli, is to have four departments whose duties will range from research, recruitment, fund-raising and publicity.

The committees will be headed by vice-chairmen Dalmas Otieno (research and policy analysis), Henry Kosgey (party organisation), Chris Okemo (fund-raising and mobilisation) and Katana Ngala (publicity and public relations).

The committees are meant to place the party on higher political ground in readiness for re-election in 2007.

A think-tank of professionals will be hired by the party to advise and assist Kanu MPs with the knowledge to perform their role in Parliament as the Official Opposition.

To give a new vibrancy to their performance in Parliament, the shadow cabinet, which has been deserted by some MPs who were co-opted into Government, is to be restructured to play its role effectively.

Others to be replaced are those in a rival camp headed by Kerio South MP Nicholas Biwott...

Perhaps I missed something- but the Nation report does not mention what KANU's socio-economic agenda is. I fail to detect anything substantially different when I go over to the Standard to pore over their own coverage of the same event. their reporters-Nixon Ng’ang’a and Ayub Savula- inform us that the blueprint is glossy and we learn that Uhuru Kenyatta made some appropriate noises about fighting corruption and increasing democratic space- the usual platitudes and motherhood statements we expect from those who have learnt by rote the mantra of "transparency, accountability and good governance".

I want to submit to Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Chris Okemo, Dalmas Otieno and the new power power brokers in KANU version# 2005(Reloaded) that it takes more than a freshly minted plan on glossy paper to earn the mantle of a party for change, a party for the future.

Let us go back to the Christian parable of the old wine in new wineskins parable for just a sec. The last sentence from the St. Luke rendering of the story indicates quite clearly that "And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.'"

Even a non-connoisseur like myself is away of the rudiments of vintage- in other words, the older the winer, the better it is, supposedly.

Unfortunately, the laws of wine-making sometimes meet their diametrical opposite when it comes to the fundamentals of political struggle and social change.

Older, as we know after suffering through 39 years of Kenyatta/Moi iron fisted dictatorship DEFINITELY does not EQUAL "BETTER" in our concrete Kenyan context.

On the other hand, as we ruefully found out, the superficially "new" as in the old KANU wolf in the "new" NARC sheepskin, is sometimes worse than the old because of the higher expectations from the Wananchi.

Sitting here in

Montreal, Quebec a distance of 11,719.7951 kilometres (and 7-8 hours in terms of time zones) from

Nairobi, Kenya
Does NOT,contrary to some reactionary pundits online, (who were apparently bypassed by news of the digital revolution) prevent me from asserting with ease that KANU is still very much OUT OF SYNC with the democratic aspirations of the people of Kenya.

Why do I say so?

Because I have seen KANU tongue tied when it really mattered.

Uhuru did not say ANYTHING when the Kibaki regime was cracking down on the striking nurses and civil servants.

KANU did not say anything when the donors refused to grant Kenya debt relief.

Nor has the opposition party spoken with anything which indicates a different vision when it comes to a dynamic foreign policy.

Part of KANU's problem is that NARC is the old KANU with a different coat of paint while Uhuru's KANU is the same KANU with a new coat of paint and the Biwott faction is the old KANU without the varnish. FORD-People is the tired KANU rump that wants to help NAK revive the old KANU without the younger Kenyatta and the younger Moi. LDP is the old New KANU struggling to distinguish itself from both the old KANU in NARC and the "new" same KANU in Uhuru's faction and the same old KANU in Biwott's faction.

Given this dizzying choice of KANU clones and retreads, the most sensible choice for the Kenyan wananchi to make is to say firmly:


Come 2007.

As long as the mainstream Kenyan political parties remained moored in the neo-liberal swamp land; as long as these parties remained wedded to the same old, same old neo-colonial strategems for personal, tribal and regional power; as long as these political parties do not have an agenda for radical and far reaching SOCIAL and ECONOMIC reforms that REJECTS the IMF/World Bank/G-8 privatization/retrenchment/profit repatriation formula; as long as these political parties shut out women and youth and progressive voices from their national leadership structures; as long as the main preoccupation remains who will sleep in State House come January 2008- then these mainstream political parties will remain BANKRUPT and IRRELEVANT to the majority of Kenyans who are deeply disillusioned with mainstream Kenyan politics and their opportunistic, flip flopping leaders.

Uhuru Kenyatta had better have something going for him other than his relative YOUTH- the world has seen many a young fool graduate into becoming into an even older political buffoon. Uhuru Kenyatta should understand that his family name is both a blessing and a curse- the blessing being that he can cash in on Mzee's enduring enigmatic charisma and the curse being stuck with the last name of one of Kenya's most notorious land-grabbers. Unless Uhuru Kenyatta reinvents himself as a SOCIALIST(something I do not see happening- unless

Elephants begin to win Ndombolo competitions and

and a Zebra wins the Kentucky Derby) and KANU adopts a National Democratic Program of Action, both will remain stuck in the Kenyan past.

This goes in equal measure for all the KANU clones on the mainstream Kenyan political stage at the moment.

Is there an alternative to KANU, NARC and all the other KANU clones?

Of course.

Find out more by clicking on this link. and this other one as well. and if you have some extra time, check this link also....

Onyango Oloo

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Gavin Arvizo, Michael Jackson's accuser

Janet Arvizo(believe it or not she became Janet JACKSON after remarrying in 2004!)the star prosecution witness who according to FOX News...

They wanna get my ass
Dead or alive
You know he really tried to take me
Down by surprise
I bet he missioned with the CIA
He don't do half what he say

Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man

He out shock in every single way
He'll stop at nothing just to get his political say
He think he bad cause he's BSTA
I bet he never had a social life anyway
You think he brother with the KKK?
I know his mother never taught him right anyway
He want your vote just to remain DA.
He don't do half what he say

Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom S. Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Does he send letters to the FBI?
Did he say to either do it or die?

Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom S. Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom S. Sheldon is a cold man.

[Ad lib fade]

-Lyrics to 'DS' by Michael Jackson from HIStory album

Of Course, not EVERYONE who watched

the Michael Jackson verdict live jumped up and down with delirious joy as you can detect, when you scan the SHOCKED FACE of the woman in the picture below:

And NO ONE was surprised to hear the following quote from an infamous media vulture who started digging her fascist talons on the Indiana-born global megastar even before he was indicted:

"It is a clean sweep in a California courtroom. The Michael Jackson jury handing down a verdict that stunned the nation: Not guilty on all counts. ... It was a 13-year-old Hispanic boy who took on Michael Jackson in court. And tonight, it’s not guilty, by reason of celebrity.”

Nancy Grace, Court TV

It was a thrill to see Nancy Grace getting her comeuppance from this quick live rebuttal on CNN Headline News:

“Well, this is the bitter pill you’re going to have to swallow, Nancy. This is the reality, not the reality you have created for the last year. Michael Jackson is not guilty. Let him live his life in peace and stop trying to retry the case, and that’s what you’re doing.”

Debra Opri, Jackson Family Lawyer

Memo to Ms. Diane Diamond:Take a vacation from your 10 year journalistic stalking of Michael Jackson already!

One of America's most notorious House Niggas is the conservative talk show host

Larry Elder and he wasted very little time before he slipped into his cooning and fawning ass kissing role, trashing "Blacks"(he is apparently GREEN) for celebrating the acquittal of Michael Jackson while millions of American Whites locked themselves in their bathrooms crying their poor hearts out that a jury WITHOUT A SINGLE BLACK PERSON on it, looked at the evidence and found Michael Jackson NOT GUILTY on all 587 counts.

Larry Elder is no stranger to trashing his fellow African-Americans as you can see from this equally virulent diatribe in the Capitalist Magazine where he trashes

Ebony Magazine(hardly a radical pamphlet, you know) for leaving out Judge Clarence Thomas and other

Oreo Cookies from its listing of the 100 Most Influential Blacks in America. You can also read him in the
Jewish World Review take a couple of vicious jabs at

Minister Louis Farrakhan..

The so called Human Events Online, the far right rag that carried Larry Elder's rant against Michael Jackson recently made a laughing stock of itself with the following list of books it may want burned and banned..

Given its pathetic background of railing against anything left of Mussolini and Hitler, I often find it extremely pathetic and sad to see some wannabe online Kenyan neo-fascist

Parrots, regurgitating at various Kenyan discussion sites, the kind of drivel that I have excerpted above from Larry Elder and Company.

African-Americans largely reacted with relief as you can see from this news story and this other one from the San Francisco Bay area plus this piece from Chicago.

BET conducted a poll on the verdict. Here are the results:

Jackson Verdict Poll Results

Posted June 17, 2005 -- Was Michael Jackson's jury fair in its decision? Will Michael be able to repair his damaged reputation? We asked, and you answered. Here are Jackson verdict poll results.

Was the jury's decision fair?
79% of you said yes
16% of you said no
5% of you didn't know

Will Jackson be able to repair his reputation?
59% of you said yes
28% of you said no
13% of you didn't know

Some of us have been insisting on Michael Jackson's INNOCENCE for a very long time.

Michael Jackson should NEVER have been arrested in the first place. He should NEVER have been charged in the first place. There was NEVER a serious case against Michael Jackson at any time- including the first time in 1993 when he reached a multi-million settlement with his first accuser.

So, why did he dish out the muthendi in 1993?

Well, blame the late

Johnie Cochran for that.

According to a story I read in the GQ magazine around October 1994, Michael Jackson had wanted to pursue the case through a full trial- Johnie Cochran convinced Michael that from a business point of view, it was CHEAPER for Michael to dole out a few millions of dollars to take the negative publicity from the headlines and prime time slots rather than tough it out and duke it to the bitter end- by which time, Johnie argued, his major asset- his name and reputation would be irreparably sullied and damaged in the court of public opinion, even if he emerged legally victorious. Michael Jackson, like a lot of people, respected Dr. Johnnie Cochran's legal opinion.

In retrospect, one can argue that Michael Jackson was right and Johnnie Cochran was wrong, because ironically more people started believe that Michael had something to cover up because of that out of court settlement.

Now I know all you Doubting Mutisos and Skeptical Adhiambos think I am making stuff up as I chug along, so here is the

link to the darn article ok? Here is another link just in case there is a NUTBAR out there who think I composed the previous one.

So why was Michael Jackson arrested and why was he dragged through that horrible humiliating experience that his older Muslim brother Jermaine Jackson properly called a "modern hi-tech lynching"?

Was it because of the pettiness of a small minded red neck prosecutor with a vendetta against the global megastar?

Was it because, as we say in Kenya, "money had been poured"?

Hasha. Hapana! O-oyo! No way Jose! and similar ways of reiterating the opposite of affirmative.

Now, I am sure that the ferret or weasel Tom Sneedon would snivel, sneeze, wiggle, fidget and squirm a great deal if he were ever trapped in a Martin Luther King birthday celebration and I do not see Goofy Tom walking to the podium to receive one of those dainty NAACP image awards anytime soon.

And we know that the most prominent fascist prosecutor practising on television, that vicious racist, that odious Made in Larry King Live female Frankenstein Nancy Grace made ngiris and ngiris and ngiris of American muthendi hand over fist because of her daily and nocturnal pursuit of Michael who she had determined was guilty until proven innocent right.

But to ascribe to these two bit bigoted hoodlums a nefarious plot to "get Michael" is to force them to fart higher than their own asses, which we know is a biological impossibility.

So WHY was Michael Jackson arrested when he was and why was he tried the way he was?

Was it merely an attempt at a modern hi-tech lynching?

That pretty much is beyond debate.

But why Michael, especially as we now know all know (except the embittered Sneedon groupies still trying Michael in assorted internet chat rooms or chiming on various right wing all talk radio gab and gob fests) all that the man was 1000% innocent?

Is it because he is considered by the mainstream media to be more than a freak?

While his eccentric behaviour did little to exonerate him in the court of public opinion, again, we must look elsewhere if we are SERIOUS.

Can we all rewind our mental videos to November 20, 2003?

Do you remember what was the OTHER BIG STORY that was dominating the headlines on that day?

If you are suffering from convenient, politically induced amnesia, let me help you to refresh and reload those fading mental files, ama?

And to Kenyanize the "pictures are worth blah blah" expression, one picha will cost you five hundred jirongos, whereas one insha with five hundred words is worth only one jirongo. I believe you are following me eh, Kenyan and non-Kenyan readers...

Moving right along.

This is what was ALSO HAPPENING on the day Michael Jackson was arrested on November 20, 2003:

Open your eyes and GAWK:

Here is an OFFICIAL news release from the White House detailing Bush's itinerary and agenda for that day, November 20, 2003.

On the flipside, I retrieved this item from the archives of a left-leaning activist site.

Now peruse this Reuters news report from that day.

Now I want you all to take a WILD GUESS as to which story dominated the news on Friday, November 21, 2003- the 100,000 people who came out to protest the visit of Bush to the UK or the racist melodrama straight out of a FOX Cops episode with Michael in the villain's role?

Hands up those who persist in saying it was Bush.

Can you do me a favour and kick yourself on the seat of your own pants two or three times?

Michael Jackson, if he is NOT the MOST FAMOUS FACE in the world (some argue that Mickey Mouse Nelson Mandela and Michael Jordan and of course Dubya, are better known) is certainly among the Top Five.

If you were a handler for George Bush and wanted his mug to be replaced by another equally familiar face on the evening news,who would you go for?

Arrest Mandela and charge him with what?

Arraign Mickey Mouse as a leading Al Qaeda terrorist?

Indict Michael Jordan as the Chicago lynchpin for the Medellin cocaine cartel?

C'mon- give me a frigging break.

Michael Jackson's eccentric peccadilloes, coupled with the incessant tabloid and even mainstream media(Martin Bashir, do you remember that BBC man?) stalking and the constant rumour mill about Michael Jackson and his penchant for doing sleepovers with watois at Neverland presented the Bush image consultants and disinformation managers with the perfect decoy, the perfect red herring.

The moment someone asked:

"How about if Michael Jackson was arrested today, would it shift the media focus away from the President?" someone else must have immediately shrieked "Eurereka! Let's Do It!"

Remember this was almost exactly a year before the next Presidential elections in the US and the GOP were determined to have Dubya reselected. Meticulous planning was already in place- like the vote stealing scheme in Ohio, but this is not the place to go into it. Google around and verify all this information for yourself.

Now, I am NOT saying that Bush, Condeeleeza, Powell, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz huddled somewhere and ORDERED the immediate arrest of Michael Jackson.

They did not have to. One of the things that Bush rarely gets credited for is that he is a very good manager when it comes to delegating thinks that require some cerebral exercise. The Republicans have a lot of media savvy braniacs working for them.

I am not even sure if there was necessarily an explicitly RACIST connotation to work for the arrest of Michael Jackson. It was simply a question of PR commonsense- create a high profile diversion from George Bush's growing unpopularity in the United States and around the world. The Michael Jackson arrest proved to be the perfect circus, the perfect diversion.

Contemplate the results:

Bush is back in the White House and on the day of the verdict there were 2,200 journalists from around the world who were pulled off other media assignements to cover the verdict in California last Monday.

How many people have viewed this anti-war message?

How many people around the world even know of the mere existence of the following video message from the Iraqi insurgents?

In contrast, how many people were glued to their televsions watching the Michael Jackson verdict live?


Try THIRTY ONE MILLION North American viewers on 13 US television networks.

Try a 1000% increase in web traffic over at Court with 25,000 hits PER SECOND as netters anxiously awaited the verdict.

World monopoly capitalism has long mastered the art of mass media deceit and disinformation. Apart from bombarding the masses with stulfying soap opera crock, prime time talking head blather, a bamboozling diet of stupefying commercials and a steady stream of increasingly far right religious indoctrination, the folks who control what you see on CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, and even PBS and CBC here in Canada know the power of the print and electronic media as a tool of ideological enslavement. The Republicans like yodelling about the "liberal left leaning media" when in actual fact, there are very few liberals and virtually NO LEFTISTS working in the mainstream media. Even that bastion of the so called Hollywood liberals- the American movie industry, is a conscious partner in buttressing the might of American imperialism. Have you noticed how movie makers have made sure that they keep viewers- especially gullible American voters, PERMANENTLY TERRIFIED since 911? Whether it is a War of the Worlds or yet another third rate blockbuster featuring Middle Eastern terrorists, Hollywood continues by and large to serve the American Empire rather than subvert it.

Therefore it should not be that difficult to believe that the Michael Jackson Trial was a deliberate red herring with all the ingredients of a horror story, family values, sex, drugs, rock and roll( ok, pop music) race, celebrity you name it- all the tabloid ingredients that the mainstream media canines feast on every hour.

Parodixically, the NOT Guilty verdict by an (almost) all-White Jury of Michael Jackson's non-peers can and will be used to push the propaganda that THERE IS JUSTICE in America and that African-Americans should quit whining about racism in the criminal justice system.

We all know that that propaganda myth is a load of CROCK.

Why does an African-American have to have the financial assets of a Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant and OJ Simpson to "afford" the semblance of a fair trial? The acquittal of Michael Jackson underscores the fact that if you are an ordinary working class or inner city African-American confronted with serious accusations, your chances of getting off, even when you are innocent are often pretty slim- precisely because you cannot afford the high power attorney of Michael; precisely because you cannot afford, like Michaeal did, to buy satellite time and guarantee a global audience where you give your own version of things; precisely because you are not Michael Jackson who can maintain a 24/7 constantly updated website correcting all the media distortions as they happen; precisely because you are not Michael Jackson and your fan base in Europe and Asia is almost as big as your fan base among the communities of African descent in the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world...

The Michael Jackson media circus has given George Bush an almost two year reprieve from harsh mass media scrutiny of his questionable decisions in Iraq and elsewhere.

How long will the American government continue sneaking the bodies of the dead and wounded American soldiers from the Iraqi war theatre into the country away from prime time news?

Is Michael Jackson's musical career over?

Of course not. American media pundits, being the jingoist navel gazers they are forget that the MAJORITY of the world's population LIVES OUTSIDE the boundaries of the United States of America. During his trial, it became apparent that Michael Jackson has MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of rabid fans in China( can you say ONE BILLION) Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, not leaving out Australia, New Zealand and other pit stops in the Pacific.

Were Michael to launch a world tour today, it would truly be global as opposed to the so called "world tours" of one hit wonders which take them from New York to Toronto to London to Stockholm to Paris and back to Los Angeles- or the so called "World Series" in baseball which has featured in the past one New York team taking the subway to the home stadium of its rival across town in the Big Apple.

With his vindication even within the United States, Michael Jackson is destined for a major commercial comeback, should he opt to go that route. I saw the other day that the same mainstream radio stations that froze him out during his child molestation trial are now scampering to play one of his hits every fifteen(well, I am exaggerating for effect) seconds, as you can see from this link.

The gates are wide open for the Renaissance of Michael Jackson should he decide to remain in the pop music business. The likelihood of Michael turning his back on music and performing is about on the same level as the probability of Fidel Castro joining the Republican Party. Not very likely.

However, if we are to go by the murmurs of family members like Jermaine, I would not be at all surprised if Michael Jackson decided to EMIGRATE from the United States. If that were to be the case would it to be to a place like South Africa, where Mandela remains one of his warmest fans, Ghana where he is one of the African-American traditional chiefs(along with Stevie Wonder and Danny Glover)and other parts of the mother continent where he can connect to his BLACK heritage, or would he move to any of the European countries where he has a HUGE WHITE fan base? Speculation is futile- he may stay put in Neverland for the next ten years.

There is no doubt in my mind that Michael Jackson is NOT and has NEVER BEEN a child molester.

Nevertheless, I can say without hesitation that the King of Pop is a deeply troubled man. Remember that 1994 GQ article that I hotlinked earlier on?

Well, here is an excerpt:

...Jackson’s personal eccentricities—from his attempts to remake his face through plastic surgery to his preference for the company of children—have been widely reported. And while it may be unusual for a 35-year-old man to have sleepovers with a 13-year-old child, the boy’s mother and others close to Jackson never thought it odd. Jackson’s behavior is better understood once it’s put in the context of his own childhood. “Contrary to what you might think, Michael’s life hasn’t been a walk in the park,” one of his attorneys says. Jackson’s childhood essentially stopped—and his unorthodox life began—when he was 5 years old and living in Gary, Indiana. Michael spent his youth in rehearsal studios, on stages performing before millions of strangers and sleeping in an endless string of hotel rooms. Except for his eight brothers and sisters, Jackson was surrounded by adults who pushed him relentlessly, particularly his father, Joe Jackson—a strict, unaffectionate man who reportedly beat his children. Jackson’s early experiences translated into a kind of arrested development, many say, and he became a child in a man’s body. “He never had a childhood,” says Bert Fields, a former attorney of Jackson’s. “He is having one now. His buddies are 12-year-old kids. They have pillow fights and food fights.” Jackson’s interest in children also translated into humanitarian efforts. Over the years, he has given millions to causes benefiting children, including his own Heal The World Foundation. But there is another context—the one having to do with the times in which we live—in which most observers would evaluate Jackson’s behavior. “Given the current confusion and hysteria over child sexual abuse,” says Dr. Phillip Resnick, a noted Cleveland psychiatrist, “any physical or nurturing contact with a child may be seen as suspicious, and the adult could well be accused of sexual misconduct.”

I was discussing this issue with a close female colleague who has worked for almost twenty years on issues that have to do with rape, incest, child abuse and similar sexual traumas. She happens to be a Michael Jackson fan who shares my conviction that Michael is INNOCENT.

We both came to a consensus as parents that there was something highly INAPPROPRIATE about the fact that Michael Jackson was not aware of the adult/child demarcations and how that can play out in a place like North America where cases of child abuse is getting more and more attention. Both of having African origins we concurred that while North Americans will sexualize everything, it was still important to stay on message. Everyday we talk to our kids about inappropriate touching and other unacceptable adult behaviour to street proof the youth to ward off potential moleseters and to find Michael being so naive at the obvious misintepretations of his conduct around children perhaps is a pointer that Michael needs to see a therapist who can work with him to explore and overcome all his child related traumas- and dramas because it will prevent him from fostering ADULT responses in his interactions with children.

Since sex, pornography, indecent behaviour and other sexuality loaded buzz words permeated the Michael Jackson trial, perhaps it is prudent to pause and pose a BOLD question to Michael Jackson:

"Are you GAY??Michael?"

" Michael, another swaliHow how do you see yourself in terms of sexual identity? We know you are NOT turned on by small kids as some twisted voyeurs imagine, but what does turn you on? Have you come to terms with whoever you are?"

Onyango Oloo is NOT going to ask Michael Jackson what is up with the nose jobs and pigmentation injections. You all should give Michael Jackson a BREAK- especially if you are BLACK.


How many men and women of African descent bleach their skin and straighten their hair?

Since my arrival in Canada almost twenty years ago, I can say that I can count on the fingers OF ONE HAND the number of African, Caribbean, Afro-Canadian and African-American women who sport their very OWN REAL ONE HUNDRED PERCENT HUMAN HAIR growing out of their own bodies as opposed to Korean and Filipino hair bought at Dorine's in Cotes des Neiges here in Montreal or next to Lloyd's just north of Bathurst and Bloor in Toronto.

Look at

Congolese megastar Koffi Olomide.

Did he or did he not bleach his skin?

Look at Ghana's own superstar, Daddy Lumba, based in Germany.

Is he really that light complexioned?

The BIG difference between Koffi Olomide, Daddy Lumba etc on the one hand and Michael Jackson is that Michael Jackson had the resources for taking this madness to its logical conclusion.

So until African women stop donning BLONDE wigs to HIDE their nappy African roots and African Men stop burning their cocoa brown and dark chocolate complexion with mercury and I do not what other chemical corrosives, NO ONE should point an accusing finger at Michael Jackson. What Michael Jackson did to his African features is what millions of Africans and people of African descent fantasize about doing every single day.Yes, including Kenyans- there are a whole bunch of us who WISH WE WERE BORN WHITE. Please do not get me started on those WACKY faux twenging UJINGA that many Kenyans in the USA adopt within hours of landing at an American airport. Restrain me from pasuaring the mayai on those young Kenyan women from those tu posh posh shules who will ridiculous fling a NON-EXISTENT STRAND of Caucasian hair from their foreheads, even as their own shortly cropped Afros mock them openly. This could ugly- I mean, I do not to grab the the toupes from the brathas and the wigs from the sistas. Michael Jackson transformation invites us to look at ourselves deeply and ask ourselves:

What is about our African identity makes us to loath our black skins, our thick lips and our broad noses- at a time when many white hip hop youth are hankering to be Wiggers, many white women are putting silicon implants in their lips, boobs and I do not know where else and many white men reside in urban sun tan parlours struggling to be a little BLACKER in their skin complextion.

I could say more, lakini...

Onyango Oloo