Senator Edward Kennedy: A Friend of Kenya Passes on


JRAlilaTheLuoDreamers'OdysseyIn the death of Senator Ted Kennedy earlier today, Kenya has lost the visible symbol of a family whose fingerprints are found in every corner of Kenya, and whose concern for democracy in Kenya is a as old as the nation itself. Before most of the faces on Facebook were born, there was the Kennedy Airlifts (what Kenyans call Mboya Airlifts) which decades later continue to leave open the widest window for undergraduate as well as Graduate eduction opportunities for Kenyan students in the United States of America, and continue to fuel a western-bent in cultural/political thought among the average Kenyan intelligentsia. In most of its history, Kenya has always in an ideological pull with the pull to the West being the greater. The Kennedy’s influenced this long-lasting ideological bias.
If you are as old as me, then you must remember the brief phenomenon of a Levis-jeans-wearing Karl Marx throwing stones at the police during riots along Koinanage Street in Nairobi or Juja Road in Kahawa on a five-meal-a-day academic program at the University of Nairobi and its Kenyatta College. This was a grandson of a colonial Chief—a dude who has committed class suicide, demanding a socialist course for Kenya; a dude you would meet with his or her lover in a Western movie theatre in downtown Nairobi; a dude who would be the District Officer of Garrissa the following year—preaching the virtues of the a good government during the day, and escorting contraband goods (jeans) during the night; a sociopolitical and a sociocultural contradiction fed on the breast milks of the Mboya/Kennedy Airlift to America and Odinga Airlift to Kiev, Belgrade, Budapest or Moscow. Given our collective capitalist-orientation as Kenyans, and given that a seed of that Airlift in the name of President Barack H. Obama now sits at the citadel of world power from where the Kennedys influenced the reaches of American Power, we Kenyans must feel proud of the Kennedy name. Ted Kennedy passed the touch to Obama hardly two years ago amidst a contentious political race among Democrats, and Mr. Obama never looked back. Fifty years and counting, Mboya and President Kennedy passed on, the new captain of the Kennedy ship in Sen. Ted Kennedy will not see today’s sunset, but their marks on us Kenyans will live on in thought and practice, and in President Barack H. Obama in the White House.
Go well Senator Ted Kennedy!
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