Let’s say the Truth for 5 Minutes Only

I have been wondering for months, if not years, Can one Change the World? This has been a nagging question that has caused me sleepless nights. It is a question I fear to engage with. It is a question that brings insomnia. How can I do my part in the change process, Can I be recognised,in any case do I need to be recognised or rewarded or remembered, can I touch somebody’s life, how can one touch someone else’s life, yet, personally, s/he is not even touched? Is the world full of liars and hypocrites? What does it mean to be a change agent, what does it take to be a change agent? In the past 5 years I have met fellow comrades who are so passionate and driven on the need to change the world. ‘We represent the marginalised’, who are these if I may ask? But what keeps me wondering is whether fellow comrades are truthful to the cause. Such a question is so pertinent in light of the commercialisation and NGOisation of the change the world mantra. I repeat, (for years), I have heard the same tired narrative and discourse on changing the world. But why is the world not changing?

When the participation in the movement is purely driven by selfish interests as being witnessed through the commercialisation/commodification of the suffering of others – who will then change the world? In simple, are we truthful and genuine to the cause of helping the poor and the marginalised? Aren’t we participating them? Aren’t we driven more by using them to satisfy our selfish personal gains. When the participation in the movement is driven more by the need for self – enrichment and not as a calling, can we say we are agents of change who have a passion.

I don’t intend to be condescending here. You, me and s/he – we all need money in our lives! At least let us say the truth. This reminds me of the play Death of a Salesman by Willy Lowman – whereby one character noted that (‘we have never said the truth in this house, for at least for five (5) minutes). Leadership courses have been done, workshops have been held, and symposiums have come and gone, leadership retreats continue to be lined up at least for the next few coming years. Much profound gratitude to those who fund. What these platforms do is to continue reproducing the dominant narratives on changing the world and leadership coaching. The very same narratives and discourses are further reproduced within our very same institutions, NGOs (in particular) but the question that remains in the offing is whether we are all genuine and truthful to the cause of others.

Isn’t this a form of Otherisation whereby we all hide behind the others? Can we really change the world? Are we change agents. At some point in our lives we were young. It was the young man/woman from University carrying thick voluminous books, full of energy, passion, courage and motivation to make a difference. We all wanted to change the world. But we haven’t changed the world. At least the world is changing us. Others have tasted power and the trappings which come with power. Maybe the enemy of the people has dangled a poisoned carrot. When we nurture lying leadership (especially political elites) – when lying becomes a profession, what more can we expect from change agents. We are agents of Change. Who will save the World? These are dangerous times that need thorough and deep reflections and some self- introspection.

These are the times for asking not the easy questions but rather the difficult questions. It is also a time for self- reflection. Let’s all take a long journey into ourselves. Let’s us sit in the scorching sun – the same way we do to those poor and powerless villagers who always walk 30km to come and listen to our speeches. Let us feel the same feelings they feel. We give them nothing but false hope. In returning the kind gesture they clap for us and some even break into sang and dance.

We should all take a moral bath. We are all ‘dirty’. After a good-long bath we should look straight into the mirror and ask ourselves several questions. Is this the real me? Why do I play politics with other people’s suffering? We should all look, stare and glare on the blue sky. You may have been frustrated, you are not alone. I have also been frustrated, for I joined the struggle thinking we are in this together. Little did I knew we were in this for different reasons. Nobody is a saint but at least let it be known that this is a career. Spare us the Change Agent mantra. We have heard enough and we continue to hear it more often. But nothing ever changes. You might have had bigger and useful ideas and dreams. All have evaporated and vanished into thin air. You faced and suffered resistance from your fellow colleagues (who purport to be agents of change).

Sooner, you realised the world is more complicated than you had thought. Like a person who is in the open field whilst it is raining cats and dogs, the truth and reality starts crystallising unto you – nobody is truthful except for a counted few. That is if they exist at all. I bet with my bottom dollar, the genuine ones are now a rare and endangered specie. The rest we are pretenders, bootlickers and liars. We have all seen this, even in the church they play politics. The pastor rolls expensive and latest cars whilst the congregates can’t even afford a single meal per day. This is a sad reality of our times. The world is full of deceit, betrayal, lies – the sooner we come to terms with reality, the sooner we can come to our true self.

You will never change the world, rather the World changes you. The world is more complicated than you think. It’s like trying to move a mountain. Some say it can be done. The taste of the pudding is in the eating. At some point we all had ambitions, dreams and energy to change the world. At some point we were freshly mint University graduates (from the University libraries) we came into the world full of confidence. With the sands of time, the energy was drained. The time for short stories and theories were over. It was time to look the beast in the eye. We had to confront the elephant in the room. Some we knew it was never going to be a dinner party or a beauty contest – but some also thought they would shake and change the world like Harlem Shake. This only happens in a flash mob, movie or soap opera, or some series or season.

You found corruption in existence, abuse of power was there, struggle for power and struggle for resources. All this existed. You will drain your energies – it’s always good to leave your mark in this world. When the day of calling beckons, you silently leave this world, in the epitaph on your grave we inscribe REST IN ETERNAL PEACE. Maybe you had lived a self-fulfilling life? Maybe you have made Change….Maybe ,maybe…

But in this lifetime never lie to others, I am Changing the World. At least tell the truth for at least 5 minutes.

In My Sister’s Mind – Not that Valentine Matters

14 February. Each and every year the 14th of February is never a good day to her. All her friends are now married. 12 years has passed by now, since she has finished University. Time seem to be moving at a break neck speed. She feels she is fighting a losing battle with age. Her friends are already fed up with celebrating their marriage anniversaries. She has also become tired attending birthdays of her friends’ kids. Whenever she sees the kids dressed up for kindergarten she always feel jealous. She has everything she ever dreams of in life, cash, lavish lifestyle and a nice mansion. All what is missing in her life is a soul mate. Maybe not that a man matters in a woman’s life – but maybe because the society expects her to have one.

She has the brains and beauty, but it seems no man can notice this bevy of beauty. As days pass by she became very anti-social. She is no longer that active on her Facebook account. She feels ashamed, that her friends will keep on checking on her about her marriage plans. The usual girlish talk on checking on whether she has found any cute dude. She now hates those puerile giggles and gossip.
All what she also wishes for is to have a man. Just like any other woman. A man whom she can call her own. A hubby who bring her roses on Valentine’s Day. A man whom she can lean on, cry over in the darkest of moments in life. Whenever she see others hugging – she realises there is no-one there to hug her. She also feels the strong desire and craving for a hug. Whenever she see lovebirds – she feels they always have their valentine 365 days a year. She also feels very jealous.

Societal pressure is affecting her emotionally, socially and psychologically. It seems the society is there to judge. She has since stopped going out and hanging out with friends. Whenever they go out, her friends keep on talking about their husbands, kids and how maids always try to seduce their husbands. They always talk about how to handle men who are infidel. She has since become fed up attending Kitchen Parties. She always feel out of place, unloved and lonely.

She can feel the vibrancy and steam of youth hood running out of her. Every year during valentine – she can feel the pain of loneliness, the solitude and the cold emptiness in her heart. She can see the lovebirds clad in red going for romantic candlelight dinner and popping champagne bottles. She only crave, wish and imagine. Every year during valentine day she always drive home fast – to escape the sight of the red coloured city and its lovebirds.The roses, dresses and the kisses always make her feel sick. She always rushes home to lock her door from the inside and throw herself onto the pillow – without even eating. At times she cries until her pillow becomes drenched and soaked in tears. At times she attempts to read the Bible but she always fail. She is now devoting her time to charity. Whenever valentine day reaches, she now goes to the Orphanage with some small groceries and roses.

She now celebrates her Valentine in style not that she loves Valentine Day….But just at least to escape from the reality, solitude and loneliness. I see her, I feel her, and I reach out to her. I also imagine what is going on in her Mind. I can never be in her mind but at least I can imagine what she is going through.

A true story based on My Sister – whom I wish and pray for that she will find the man of her dreams. Nobody is ever too old to be loved.

Global Tax Justice Movement – Everyone’s Child

Is the world just or unjust, is there fairness or unfairness in a society? These are nagging questions, with no easy answers. Who controls the tax we pay? Who determines the percentage of tax that we pay? Are the citizens or the Wananchi as they call them in Swahili able to hold accountable their governments over tax revenue? Who should pay tax, what amount, when, why and how? Who should be exempted? Anyway is it an obligation of the citizens to pay tax, either is it an obligation of the corporate world to pay tax? It might have been your child who is playing in/with the uncollected garbage. It might have been your mom who is on the deathbed whilst you are being told the hospital has run out of drugs. It might be you or me who is dying from HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – whilst the bigger MNCs are building Jacuzzis and opening banks worldwide. It might be your grandmother who is sleeping in the cold and open streets of Mumbai and Soweto.

She is an innocent soul who dreams to have a roof over her head. Think about the orphans and vulnerable children who will never have the privilege and right to see the corridors of a classroom block. It might be my children or yours. It might be the children of our children’s children, who might never drink clean and safe water in their lifetime.

Tax dodging and tax evasion can only occur when governments value profits over people – when big Multi-National Corporations tends a blind eye over the society in which they are milking the precious resources. Let’s all do our part. Unless we take action – History and conscience will judge us harshly. In the end, we will remember not the tax evasion by the MNCs but the silence of our people….

It’s now or never!! It is Time to Take Action…This is a Call to Every Men – A Call to Everywoman. One by One we will Change This World. Teach me teach One!!!