Monday, August 18, 2008

Kenyan Olympians...Way to go!

I came across this article from a Kenyan paper today. Kinda cool!

Basking in the Olympic Glory, We Are All Kenyans

The Nation (Nairobi)

18 August 2008

By Macharia Gaitho

WE'RE IN ONE OF THOSE periods when we need to watch television broadcasts from far-off lands to become Kenyans.

Pamela Jelimo, Richard Matelong, Janeth Jepkosgei and Brimin Kipruto all did us proud on Monday with a fantastic medal haul of two gold, one silver and one bronze in just two track events.

Almost every place where there is a television set, Kenyans have been glued to the little screen yelling, cheering and screaming in unison.

Nobody gives a moment's thought to the ethnic origins, race, political affiliations or religious beliefs of the athletes doing their best to bring glory to Kenya at the Beijing Olympics.

They are Kenyans, period, and it is the Kenyan flag that is being paraded round the track and raised at the awards ceremony.

We all stand up and shout ourselves hoarse applauding a Kenyan victory, not a Kalenjin, Kikuyu, Luo, Giriama winner.

And when we lose to one of those darned Ethiopians, the groan expelled with the agony of defeat again encompasses the entire Kenyan nation irrespective of any of the puny sub-nations within.

There is something notable about this Olympic season: The decibel count from our noisy politicians has gone down. I don't know whether that is just a blessed coincidence or some realisation that they will get scant attention when Kenyans are preoccupied with much more important things during this time.

As we cheer on our boys and girls in Beijing, it is a real blessing, so far at least, that our attentions have not been diverted by the destructive sabre-rattling ethnic jingoism that our so-called leaders usually employ to divide us for selfish ends.

Actually, it is real wonder that not a single one of our leaders has come out to demand ethnic balance in the team.

No politician has taken to the stumps to demand that his ethnic group get its fair share in the team. There have been no calls for a Commission of Inquiry into the way the team was selected and why some tribes were left out.

Not even Parliament has bothered to send a select committee on a Beijing junket in an effort to establish the ethnic background of each team member and whether there was corruption, nepotism and ethnic bias in the conduct of the Kenya Olympic trials since 1964.

Neither have there been any calls for affirmative action in team selection or moves to address historical injustices that have given some communities domination when it comes to securing Olympic tickets.

Sports truly unites us and relegates all those diversionary issues to the back-burners where they belong.

Let's pray that true peace comes to Kenya, the peace that comes only through the love and grace of Jesus Christ!

Neema na Amani, (grace and peace)

Jonathan (for Adrienne, Josiah and Christopher)

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