Recently, there was this #TZvsKE Twitter war that I’m sure most Africans watched and were thoroughly entertained as is always the case when Kenyans turn up for a Twitter war. I am compelled to add that this was not the first for Kenyans. We do this quite often and always leave a lasting impression on the Twitter network just like we did with Ghana and Nigeria some time back among others that I have not mentioned. I was literally rolling on the ground with laughter, as I’m sure most people were.
The ‘Twitter war’ ended and I was left thinking, ‘Could Kenyans show this much solidarity on the ground?’ ‘Are we capable of having such a united front in dealing with national issues more so during the upcoming national elections?’ I mean, right now every organization is advocating for peace in the upcoming elections, yet we still have riots during the campaign period. we are approaching these elections with fear more than anticipation for new leaders but the big question remains, why? Clearly, we are capable of unity and defending each other if the work Kenyans on Twitter do is anything to go by. Then why don’t we bring this unity to our society?
We are so quick to defend our country on social media, proudly placing our Kenyan flag on our posts and including the hashtag (#KOT) Kenyans on Twitter, because we want everyone to know that we are Kenyans defending Kenya. And when we win (as we always do in these things) we win together. One person actually tweeted that #KOT is a department in the Kenya Defence Forces that uses the keyboard to defend the nation. This shows a lot of pride in speaking in the defense of one’s fellow countrymen. I am not even on Twitter but I saw this play out because Kenyans were so enthusiastic, they took screenshots to share with the rest of us, they spoke for all of us.
Imagine this solidarity on the ground. The solidarity where we see each other as human beings with human dignity and are as quick to defend that dignity as we are to respond to tweets. Are we capable of being as enthusiastic and savage in defending human dignity? During twitter wars, there are no tribes just Kenyans; ordinary people standing up for each other. Can we build a society where there are no tribes or races just fellow human beings? A continent where we would be so quick to defend each other simply because we are one as a nation, a continent, and even a globe? A society where we see what brings us together not what makes us different from each other and where we are at the forefront in defending our fellow human beings.
Take a case for example when someone insults you on Twitter, one would be so quick to have a comeback, make a meme even attach a video simply to put the message across, ‘I am not to be messed with,’ all your friends, and sometimes fellow countrymen would be there to back you up and defend you. Translate this solidarity then to human dignity. If someone undermined your human dignity, would you be so quick to defend yourself and take all necessary measures to ensure that this person understands that you value and defend not only your human dignity but that of others as well? Would your friends and other countrymen swiftly come to your defense?
I’m not just being patriotic here. See the bigger picture please: global peace starts from every human being finding peace within themselves than with others then to every country, every continent and finally global peace. I mentioned earlier that as Kenyans we have had these debates with Nigerians, Ghanaians and recently Tanzanians among others. Many countries are always eager to comment for instance South Africans. This is interaction in the continent where we share jokes and advice. We’re all like old friends. When countries have such relationships and stand in solidarity to speak as one, then global peace becomes an achievable reality. The way we relate to each other within our border determines how we relate to other countries.
Do we see the best in each other? Do we defend each other? Do we strive to make each other happy? Are we proud of our nationality?
Written by Daniella Gathiri, B2 2017 intern at World Youth Alliance Africa Regional Office.