A year or ago, Russian President, Vladmir Putin in his annual televised question-and-answer session in Moscow was asked the following by a 6 year old girl:
“Do Putin think if you were drowning president Obama would save you?”
Putin paused for a second, thought out the answer and answered:
“I don’t want to be drowning. I don’t think I have a close personal relationship with Obama. I think Obama is a courageous and good person. For sure he would save me.”
My grandfather would tell me that what made him feel something from his loins at the thought of Kenya, was the generosity shown by Kenyans-the ability to share resources even at the time of need. When he sought an education, no one in his village thought he was serious because back then education was not important. It took outsiders-strangers in fact, the people in Ukambani for him to get started on education. When he went searching for a Kikuyu in Lunga Lunga to tend to his small piece of land that he had bought with his little savings, he could not find any person from his tribe! The man who came through for him was a Luo, married to a Kalenjin and who both had converted to Islam.
I have seen posts on Facebook of a man under siege. A sick man. A man who is in pain. And all we are doing is a back and forth about which political party should take him to hospital! Really?
What have we become as society that everything has to be approached from the lens of politics? When a fellow Kenyan is in need of help, should we not look at it as a case of a Kenyan needing help from other Kenyans? Is that not what our God guided national anthem teaches us? This is not about the political party one belongs to. This is not a case of an ideology one holds dear. This should be about us, human beings humanizing other human beings. It is about us being true to what we say on paper-our Christian values and what they call us to do when we see fellow human beings in need.
The scripture reminds us about the parable of the Good Samaritan as captured in the gospel according to Saint Luke:
““A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him”
In his last sermon before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. interpreted the parable as follows:
It’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking, and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’
“But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
Of course our narrative at the moment is “If I help this man, what will my followers on social media think of me? Will they think I have betrayed the political cause? It ends up becoming the case of “I.”
Maybe, just maybe, Kenya would still function if we cared for others even if they do not hold the same aspiration as we do. We would be concerned, not about the “I” but the “thou”