Letter to the Council Part I
How a Brown woman can be cut off from her own rights by her own people in a Black Country
By Mohamed Jiwa(Copyright (c) 2013 by Mohamed Jiwa, All Rights Reserved)
It can happen to someone in most of any of the brown (Indian) communities in Kenya but I wonder whether it can happen to a woman in an African community?
Readers comments to this article are welcome.
Here is the long form of a letter that needs to be whittled down to a page:
20 August 2013
Anonymous Community Council for Kenya,
FAO: President and Members
Dear Fellow Citizens (brothers and sisters):
I am a divorcée with two daughters who has applied for a position at one of our Kenyan schools in Nairobi. I have attempted to live my life by the ethics of my traditional background as taught to me in my culture - to be an integral part of my community. By the same token, conversely, I have also turned to my community for assistance in my life, on personal levels, and in my career. My experience in this situation has been such that I have found those whom I have turned to for advice and assistance unforthcoming and, sometimes, inconsiderate and cruel in that they have not been able to justify their actions whether ostensibly in or subtly against my interest.
These actions have not only discombobulated me and my children from living minimally decent lives. In repudiating me as a working and productive member of our community and as a human being, and suppressing the fact that I am well-qualified and outspoken for the right reasons, given the circumstances that currently affect my life your council of administrators at AEO have perilously affected my human right to a deserved placement and the right to clear and honest explanations for this stunning rejection.
This is exemplified in the recent ridiculously polite denial by you and your fellow governors and administrators my application for a position in the Anonymous Community Academy, where you recently employed someone from a big influential family in our community instead of me. I can prove if you so desire and are willing to open your records to me that her qualifications and experience are inferior to my own. Needless to say, I fear, now that I shall be without a job of any kind as the term begins on Monday.
I hereby demand you provide justifications or correct yourselves, and make reparations for any wrongdoing done against me.
In asking myself why this could be I not only gave considerable thought to it; I sought the counsel of successful and reasonable people whom I respect in regard to my own character and abilities, and on reasonable expectations I should be having, and on how your councils work (or fail to work). We have collectively concluded that, indeed, I am not being recognised and assisted simply because I must be a threat to some of the weaknesses in system (in terms of its human elements): I am capable of challenging the status quo, which I now do herein; I am capable of rising to the challenge of the questions your treatment of me raise, questions that affect the area of my passion which is education. And it has become evident that you in leadership positions have failed to find resources to understand or position yourselves to defining, let alone meeting the challenge.
In denial of this state of affairs you find it easier to reject me and treat me like a non-person. This indicates that you are more complacent than you care to admit to yourselves.
If you turned to the BBC World Service yesterday in their program on nepotism in China, you will have learned that J P Morgan is being called to account for employing only members of ruling families into their company, and you may wish to consider that this is the pattern affairs in our country and by natural consequence, its communities.
Your condoning of nepotism is exemplified in the recent denial of my application for a position in the Anonymous Community Academy, where you recently employed someone from a big influential family in our community instead of me. I can prove if you so desire and are willing to open your records to me that her qualifications and experience are inferior to my own.
What you are doing here is deliberately oppressing members of our community, whom you have classed as inferior in value, in accordance with your own inexcusable desire to hold on to power to further your own agendas. I am not saying this out of anger but asserting it in order to get a fair shake in my bid for a career in the Anonymous Education Outreach (AEO) system to which I have every right. I assert this because it is common in all parts of the world for the powerful class of human beings to have arrogated upon itself the right to assign values to other human beings in accordance with amenability to their own levels of corruption and manipulability. You cannot deny without being challenged that generally we browns are known as a corrupt and extremely devious, divisive and self-interested community (not that other communities in E Africa are much different in their styles of protecting and furthering their own interests, as is evidenced in the pathetic social state of the region. Perhaps only that some are more subtle than others about how to hold on to power and abuse it with impunity). Can you see yourselves risking inclusion in such descriptions?
Secondly, I notice you have employed a foreign person - not a subscribing or stake-holding member of our community - to a similar position for which I was available - someone who applied after me and who will cost you about four times more than I. It is my right to ask you to justify this or make amends and ensure - as it is incumbent upon you to do - since I am a stakeholder and member and comparatively very well qualified and experienced, that I am conferred with a respectable position by you, together with the necessary support for professional development that is commensurate with my abilities, standards, accomplishments and academic philosophy, all clearly outlined in my resumé. I demand that you respond to this and justify your positions in writing, if you are truly committed to protecting me which is a part of your mandate as leaders of my community.
Nothing less would constitute an execution of your mandate par excellence in line with the constitutional expectations of the community, the traditions and sacred texts which, I trust, you do not expect me to spell out here. To employ a foreigner in such circumstances, where qualified local members (or other Africans who are familiar with our philosophy) are available and willing, is a copout, an escape from daring to reach out to outspoken members like me to discuss and attempt to understand the problem, and addressing it with alacrity. Why is it that you deny that your own constituents are your best resources? Running away from the question reflects a poverty in spirit and feeling threatened. I am here to help you to confront the question.
In such regard I should also be most interested in discussing with you how our Guru and his representatives have expressed reservations about how and why 'lesser' members of the community are being defined by those in positions of authority and then being controlled (alienated, which is what you are doing to me), instead of being embraced with the desire to realise their full potential.
Would you, as an initial step in such a direction, kindly apprise me with the criteria by which you have judged this foreign applicant to have greater merit for this position than I, keeping in mind that I am (a) an educator with a philosophy that is likely to be - by any standard - highly compassionate, (b) one who demands the highest standards for students whose cultures I probably understand better than foreigners.
I have to ask myself why you could be denying me the opportunity to develop my keen interest, something I am bound to have, as a local brown member of our community, in ensuring that the standards of pedagogy are kept conditioned at the right levels? Obviously it can only be because I, as a daughter, a sister and a mother in my relationships to members of my community, want to contribute to the raising of standards! Before you respond to this letter ask yourselves honestly whether you are taking such questions seriously:
Only a member of our community with antecedants here in Kenya, if s/he is also passionate about certain critical questions on education that are generally neglected, is likely to have developed the standards that a direction for progress require, in order to push forward the qualities we are encouraged to take forward rapidly in our institutions. Denying me a position reflects that this is not a dynamic vector that is being mobilised or recognised, and therefore it is not happening here. This is quite obvious. That you may not be willing to take this particular question on board reflects that you may be serving our institutions from a defensive or worse, self-centred position as opposed to one that raises confidence. This state of affairs is not inspiring. I challenge you to ask my why you should have enough confidence in your own ethics and ability to develop resources before you can hope to have confidence in me. Until then we will be stymied by the syndrome where the lion doesn't know that he's a lion and would rather be among the dik-dik.
(Go to Part II of Letter to the Council... I am having difficulty sticking this link.... it may not work, so please find it on the 'pages' section. But currently it is on the homepage -
www.habaripoacoolnews.blogspot.com until tomorrow at least (23rd Aug))