Answering questions about what President Donald Trump told members of Congress in his close door meeting on immigration, the homeland secretary Kirstjen Nielsen denied that Trump used the vulgar word that has brought many to scream foul! She, however, confirmed what is known about many government officials. “There was a lot of rough (vulgar) language used during the meetings.” She said as a matter of fact. It is no secret that Hollywood has taken over the English language.
This language is used by many in Kenya today! I am shocked as to how much vulgar and insulting language people use to describe things. It is as if the English language has devolved into words that we only see in movies. It is therefore not a surprise that President Trump could have used that language. Could it have been better for those complaining if he had stated his supposed position in other soft terms?
Suppose he had said, “Africa is covered with cities that are chaotic and slums where filth and sewage run openly next to places where children play.” Or maybe if he said in plain language, “Corruption is so great in Africa that many of their leaders, including the governor of Kisumu and many other rich people, chose to travel outside their countries to experience good medical treatment. Treatments that Kenyan hospitals by now should have had equipment’s and doctors to perform!” Or maybe he should have said, “Africa has the world largest reserves of natural resources and, yet it receives most aid to help the poor from the United States and European countries.” Or maybe, he should have said, “Every year draught kills thousands in Africa and yet corruption strangle the financial obligations of nations to their citizens.” Would using these statements have made it much less painful for those hypocrites who want others to remove the speck in other people’s eyes while blinded by the log in their eyes?
No matter what US President Donald Trump said or did not say, one thing is clear, Africans are angry that their countries were termed as ‘Shimo la Mavi” (Notice I used Swahili because it does not sound that bad or vulgar! We have not culturized Swahili within the modern concepts of curse words), ignoring the fact that our nations have failed to address the ills that make many migrate to Europe and the United States!
As a Christian, however, I am always comforted by the fact that Jesus Christ the son of God was born in a cow’s shed, next to ‘makojoo ya Wanyama na mavi ya ngombe’. He was not born in the State House, White House or Mar a Lago! St Paul celebrates this humility with a doxology, “Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to cling to, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6,7ff
Am proud to come from a small East African country known as Kenya, and proud to be welcomed in these United States of America. Am humbled by both and celebrate the fact that when my parents were married, they lived in a one-room mud hut in Kaptagat! Probably with walls made from a mixture of mavi ya ngombe and mud! But that is no excuse for those who lead our country to avoid doing more to make the lives of all of our citizens happier! My parents worked hard to guarantee that all 11 of their children avoided the Mavi Mansions! African Countries can and should do better!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (Ph.D)
Diaspora Messenger Senior Columnist