Punishment and homosexuality in our ‘cherished culture’ [by @Keguro_]

By Keguro MachariaHOME

Posted  Saturday, August 30  2014 at  13:11

Any vision of Kenya that advocates killing Kenyans should give us pause.
A recent proposal that those convicted of aggravated homosexuality should be publicly stoned raises important questions about the role of punishment in Kenyan law and tradition.

Proposed by the Republican Liberty Party, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill seeks “to protect the traditional family” and “to protect the cherished culture of the people of Kenya.”

In claiming to “protect . . . culture,” the Bill attempts to embed itself within traditional Kenyan practices. Consequently, the Bill requires that we pay close attention to how Kenya’s traditional cultures understood punishment and, where applicable, how they punished homosexual acts.

According to philosopher John Mbiti, “In traditional life, the individual does not and cannot exist alone.” Instead, the individual is “simply part of the whole.”

Read More…

#Depression: When It Starts To Creep Back In

I wrote about my experience with depression the other day and it felt good.

Now it seems the bugger wants to creep back in.


Yea. People. It does that. And its funny, I didn’t think I’d get the courage to write about it here.

You see, I am sort of an introvert. I don’t like sharing my problems. I have too few friends. I mostly only talk to my mum. She’s my one true friend.


Hmm… I’ve found myself wondering what it all means. Many people tell me I am a true friend. I wonder who I can say is a true friend to me. Maybe I’ve placed higher standards on my friends. I don’t know. But of late I find myself questioning the motives of the people around me. I find myself wondering who is true and who isn’t.

I don’t like asking for help. I don’t know why but I just don’t. I end up suffering alone. Be it a work related issue or maybe even a money issue. I would rather starve than beg people for loans. Maybe it is a pride thing. I don’t know.

My therapist isn’t around. She’s gotten busy lately. I need a replacement. I really need one. Especially now. Things aren’t too great.

Elani has a new song out:

Usinilenge, ju siku moja nitakulenga pia
Usinicheke, juu siku moja nitakucheka pia
Bobea boea, bobea bobea, Ngojea
Nitakulenga pia

How timely!

Lets just say I am doing all I can to ensure I don’t sink back in. But the truth is, depression is creeping back in.

P.S. I am fundraising for a much needed surgery to be done in Dec/Jan. Click here for more deets.

Coalition of feminists condemn ‘massacre’ in Gaza, urge support for BDS

Coalition of feminists condemn ‘massacre’ in Gaza, urge support for BDS

 on August 6, 2014
Supporters of Palestine chant during a rally in Sydney against Israel's recent attacks on Gaza. (Photo: Getty Images/Lisa Maree Williams)Supporters of Palestine chant during a rally in Sydney against Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza. (Photo: Getty Images/Lisa Maree Williams)

Editor’s note: The following statement in solidarity with Gaza comes from Palestinian, indigenous, women of color, anti-racist, and Jewish feminists.

Statement in Solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza and with seekers of freedom and justice world-wide

As Palestinian, indigenous, women of color, anti-racist, and Jewish feministsinvolved in a range of social justice struggles, we strongly condemn the current massacre of the Palestinians of Gaza and affirm our support for and commitment to the growing international movement for a free Palestine and for racial justice, equality, and freedom for all.

As many of us know from time spent in Palestine and in other movements for justice, the connections between the movement for a free Palestine and anti-colonial struggles for self-determination throughout the world are inextricable.

The current Israeli attacks on Gaza have resulted in more than 1900 Palestinian deaths, including over 450 children; the displacement of up to 25% of the population; and the destruction of crucial infrastructure such as sanitation, hospitals, and schools.  We condemn and are horrified by the current acts of Israeli brutality, while also recognizing the deeply rooted and ongoing violence that Palestinians are forced to endure on a daily basis- for example, living in ghetto-like conditions in Gaza, systematically having land confiscated, being deprived of their livelihoods, collective punishment, gender and racial violence, and ongoing expulsion and displacement from the Nakba until today.

An extensive prison system bolsters the occupation and suppresses resistance.  Over 5,000 Palestinians are locked inside Israeli prisons; more than 200 are children.  There is ongoing criminalization of their political activity.

We believe in the critical importance, now more than ever, of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions call for Israel to 1) End its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall; 2) Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3) Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. The purpose of the BDS campaigns is to pressure Israeli state-sponsored institutions to adhere to international law, basic human rights, and democratic principles as a condition for just and equitable social relations.

We stand with the Palestinian community and with activists all over the world in condemning the flagrant injustices of the current Israeli massacre against the Palestinians of Gaza; the land, air, and sea blockade of Gaza; and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

We call for an end to US military aid, at more than 3 billion a year, for the Israeli state and its occupation.

We call upon all people of conscience to stand with Palestine and to join the worldwide actions in which communities and civil society are stepping up in critical ways. We recognize that all our struggles for social, racial, gender, and economic justice and for self-determination are deeply interconnected and can only gain strength and power from one another. As Audre Lorde taught us, “When we can arm ourselves with the strength and vision from all our diverse communities then we will in truth all be free at last.”


Ujju Aggarwal, INCITE!; New School for Social Research

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University

Bina Ahmad, National Lawyers Guild

Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley

Linda Carty, Syracuse University

Ayoka Chenzira, Artist and Filmmaker

Angela Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz

Gina Dent, University of California, Santa Cruz

Zillah Eisenstein, Anti-Racist Feminist Scholar, Activist, Writer

Eve Ensler, Writer, Activist, Founder of V-Day and One Billion Rising

G. Melissa Garcia, Dickinson College

Anna Guevarra, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Wells College

bell hooks, Feminist critic and writer

Suad Joseph, University of California, Davis

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University

Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation

Mona Khalidi, Columbia University

Reem Khamis-Dakwar, Adelphi University

Nancy Kricorian, Writer

Amina Mama, University of California, Davis

Hannah Mermelstein, Adalah-NY; Librarians and Archivists with Palestine

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University

Nadine Naber, University of Illinois, Chicago

Premilla Nadasen, Barnard College

Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!; Nakba Education Project, US

Dana Olwan, Syracuse University

Barbara Ransby, University of Illinois at Chicago

Beverly Guy Sheftall, Author, Atlanta, Georgia

Kimberly M. Tallbear, University of Texas, Austin

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace

Alice Walker, Writer and Activist

5 August 2014

#KenyaAHB: Kenya Be Joking!

No, seriously. Kenya is kidding around. And I’m not even laughing.

“Draft bill proposes harsh penalties against gays – Daily Nation”

Like seriously. They want to beat up and jail homosexuals for loving each other.

For real.

(c) Daily Nation

I’m sorry, but I’m not getting it.

What for?

Ati to save the family? Huh? What family? With such high divorce rates, what family are you saving? Do straight people REALLY make better parents?

And what about the high HIV prevalence rates amongst men who have sex with men???

What about Uhuru Kenyatta’s promise back in July to ensure the sustainability of the AIDS response in Kenya?

What about other issues?

  • Our youth don’t have jobs
  • Our parliament is always squabbling
  • The county reps are never in agreement
  • We are being led by perpetrators of PEV
  • Ngong road still doesn’t look like Thika Super Highway (yep, I’m kinda selfish here!)

SERIOUSLY?? Kenya, stop kidding around here.

If you want to see more Kenyans dying, endeleeni vivyo hivo!!

I’m done!

Pretty Hurts! On Skin Whitening and Boob Jobs

Mama said, “You’re a pretty girl.
What’s in your head, it doesn’t matter
Brush your hair, fix your teeth.
What you wear is all that matters.”

Just another stage, pageant the pain away
This time I’m gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down, down

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

Blonder hair, flat chest
TV says, “Bigger is better.”
South beach, sugar free
Vogue says, “Thinner is better.”

Just another stage, pageant the pain away
This time I’m gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down, down

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts (pretty hurts)
Pretty hurts (pretty hurts), we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

Ain’t got no doctor or pill that can take the pain away
The pain’s inside and nobody frees you from your body
It’s the soul, it’s the soul that needs surgery
It’s my soul that needs surgery
Plastic smiles and denial can only take you so far
Then you break when the fake facade leaves you in the dark
You left with shattered mirrors and the shards of a beautiful past

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst (pretty hurts)
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

When you’re alone all by yourself (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
And you’re lying in your bed (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Reflection stares right into you (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)

You stripped away the masquerade (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
The illusion has been shed (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)

Uh huh huh

Beyonce – Pretty Hurts

Chimamanda QuoteI’ve been listening to this song for a while now. And I can’t help but think about the words and how true they are. They remind me of the time people were saying Beyonce isn’t a feminist. I mean, look at her song “I woke up like this” that includes words and voice from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! Isn’t that kinda feminist? But I digress.

I’ve also been thinking of Vera Sidika. And all the work she’s doing to her body. First she went and did something to her butt and hips. I remember her clearly from way way back in the day. We were Facebook friends and I really thought she was a pretty girl. Slim and pretty. Then she disappeared from Facebook and a few years later poop! She’s out there looking all faboo and voluptuous. Sheeiish!

I keep asking myself “to what end?” So she will whiten her skin, (by the way there is no difference between skin whitening, skin lightening and skin bleaching…I read!), do her boobs, then what? She’ll transplant ‘human hair’ to her scalp???

Look, I mean no judgement here. I say this because I myself ain’t ‘natural’ whatever that means. Currently I have a human hair weave. Long like those Indians! I put on modest make up mostly to cover skin blemishes. I don’t do too much eye makeup and use clear mascara since my eyes are sensitive and the black mascara affects my contact lenses.

The point of saying all this is to admit that no one is perfect. And the idea is that what really is perfection

Personally I have what people call “rangi ya thao”. That light skin that (apparently) men love and women desire. That colour of money. That colour that says you can get whatever you want in life without hustling too much. Well… yes, I have that skin colour. Do I hate it? No. Do I particularly like it? Well, it isn’t for me to say.

I sometimes feel like I am pressured to act a certain way because of my skin colour. Furthermore, because I have a slightly deeper understanding of the underlying stigma that dark skinned girls face (maybe more in the US than here in Kenya/Africa but who knows) I sometimes feel a little guilty. My bestie is a dark skinned girl. We are close and we have a lot of fun together. We are so different but we complement each other. There are those who like her the way she is and there are those who like me the way she is. But I can’t help wonder in my head what people think. I’ve head sometimes that apparently light skinned girls like hanging out with dark skinned girls so that they can get all the attention from men. I’ve also heard that dark skinned girls like hanging out with light skinned girls so that they can get men easily – like the left overs (oops!).

I don’t like my boobs. I think they’re tiny and wish I had like a perfect C. Hmm… perfection. That word. I dread. What is perfection? What will life be like if everything was perfect? My boobs are a small B. I have to wear padded bras for me to feel comfortable enough to go out in public. I remember rejoicing when I saw Lupita Nyong’o in her white bikini and with her teeny tiny boobs. I was like “yay! There’s hope for me after all!” It gave me the courage to go out and buy a black bikini for myself. I don’t like bikinis. It means I have to show off my big bright birth mark, (yes, there’s a big lighter patch of skin across from my belly all the way to my back to the left), and expose my tummy.

Self esteem. It eludes us all. Even the most strongest of us.

That’s it. I wanted to share a little of what’s on my mind. After seeing Vera do her boob job and whiten her skin, all I could think was … well, if only I could afford my own boob job :-)

Live and let live people. Penda Maisha!