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Stop politicking during funerals
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|Stop politicking during funerals by Kenyans247(1): Mon 28, December, 2020 10:14am|
What you need to know:
It is proper to accord respect and condole with families.
. If politicians cared that deeply, they can always ask for video recordings to watch in the privacy of their homes.
Everyone is going to die. For it is a fact of life. It is one of those things that is a dead cert, apart from taxation. A few have cheated on the latter, but never death. Even when we survive different accidents and traumas nine times like the proverbial cat, it still catches up with us at the 10th attempt.
Nonetheless, something I’ve always found intriguing within African societies is the amount of respect accorded to the dead. I believe Africans tend to be more glorified dead than when alive. No expenses are spared in some communities that prefer outlandish burial ceremonies.
The living would break the bank to contribute to burial expenses. It’s difficult sometimes to get a penny out of the same people towards a medical bill while someone was in hospital. We spend less on or even steal from the living through corruption and deny people decent lives when alive.
The dead cannot see or feel the expensive coffins, suits or feast on animals slaughtered in their names. Most likely having had limited opportunities to eat meat due to poverty. A life well lived in Africa is a life lived on meat. Kenya’s Nyama Choma culture lends credence to this notion. There are no surprises as to why vegetarianism and all other isms around plant-based foods have not caught on in the continent.
Death is personal to the victim and the relatives. It is proper to accord respect and condole with families. However, empathy and narcissism lines are being blurred in our country. Lately, funerals have become a platform for politicians.
Some go to the lengths of hunting for funerals in the villages to get an opportunity just to politick, fight and throw dirt on their opponents.
It has become more about politicians and less about the dead and their relatives. It does not matter whether the dead is an ordinary person or esteemed individual.
Immediate family members are having their only day to mourn their loved one hijacked by selfish politicians to drive their agendas. Their politicking confirms they only come to shed crocodile tears. It is disingenuous, insensitive and disrespectful to the dead and grieving families.
The culture of beaming funeral ceremonies through our televisions of politicians of all cadre is also unnecessary. I fail to see why the rest of the country has got to be involved. Funerals are mostly private affairs and sombre occasions that need be held away from the public glare.
I will give exception to that of Head of State perhaps, but funerals of other senior officials or politicians need not be a national affair to be broadcast live to millions of people.
Some people do find funerals upsetting and it is not fair to force them to watch live proceedings of the same. If politicians cared that deeply, they can always ask for video recordings to watch in the privacy of their homes.
I sat in a café once in Nairobi, somewhere I had gone to have a cup of tea and de-stress, but ended up having to watch a funeral ceremony of a politician I knew little of and unsettling me even more. Force-feeds of live TV broadcast of funerals is not something I find palatable.
I bet many Kenyans feel the same. It needs to be off our screens in order to firstly, give respect to the dead and secondly, allow private space for families to grieve away from public glare. Most importantly, to protect those with weaker emotional dispositions and children from witnessing such sad and traumatic scenes on television.
Death is one thing that indeed equalises human beings. The wise among us handle it with humility and prefer a quiet and modest exit.
African leaders used to ostentatious lifestyle while living demand nothing less of a flashy and expensive funeral with mausoleums as expensive as their villas. Demand for live broadcast of their funerals adds to the narrative of power or abuse of the same.
We’re going through the pandemic like the rest of the world. The Ministry of Health lists the deaths from Covid-19 in daily media briefings.
Death has never been this much in our faces. If there is something the 2020 pandemic has taught us, it is that life is fickle and worth living well. To make it even more worthwhile by looking after people while still alive. To be humble in the face of death and accept our fragility.
To borrow from the Egyptian culture, the TV funeral services of our ‘big’ people adds little to their ‘book of life’. It is done once we breathe our last.
There is no number of expensive ceremonies that will bring you back or save you from hell. For the believers, it’s your deeds on earth that will see you to the other side where rivers apparently overflow with honey and not your celebrity status.
Taking away a lifetime moment from families to grieve their loved ones, regardless of their standing in society is simply cruel. Have a positive, peaceful and lively 2021. Remember to live well.
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