Stories, news, ideas and opinions
Lost in Translation
18 November 2020
Every now and then forced evictions in are carried out in Kenya. Often in a violent way featuring heavily armed security personnel. Many times, this happens in the dead of the night and without much regard to weather the conditions. The ones mostly affected are people who live in informal settlements. The already deplorable living conditions are made worse by the government or developers who want land for a new road or some glamourous mall. What are the poor evicted people supposed to do, when they are not given a suitable alternative? Once in a while, the government goes after big shots’ building on grabbed land, on riparian land or road reserve. Isn’t there a better way that respects and ensures the rights and safety of the evictees? An X on your outside wall means your house is marked for demolition. You will be evicted.
DO NOT X ME
When you see an X on your wall, it means your time is up,
Your house has been condemned;
You are to be evicted and your house demolished;
Or crossed out if you like.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Niemoller spoke against the complicity and of complacency of Germans Protestant churches leaders.
They had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions of people.
Do not be complacent and become complicit to injustice.
I first heard of the demolitions when in the dead of the night, they tore down people’s houses in a slum.
Then it became common place, we accepted it as normal.
Then came the big one, the unthinkable, one would say,
First they went for a former big shot,
Nobody thought they would touch the Kitisuru house,
Nobody knew they could bring down Nakumatt, Thika Road.
Then they flattened an entire estate in Syokimau
It made the news, social media was abuzz
And they continue to do it, to the faceless voiceless in the slums,
Who knows when they will come for you or me?
When you see the X on your wall, know it is done deal,
Only a matter of time, and they come crashing your home,
Enough, don’t X me!
Stop crashing my home!
End forced evictions Now!