Thursday, July 17, 2008

Is the pen mightier than the machete?

Canadian Journalist and Travel Writer (and more importantly friend!), Arno Kopecky recently wrote about how Kenya's writing community responded to the December elections beyond the production of narratives...

"Is the pen mightier than the panga? This was the question confronting Kenya’s literary establishment in the opening days of 2008, as war spread throughout Kenya’s urban centers and across the fertile Rift Valley in the nation’s heartland. As belligerent armies of unemployed youth paraded before news cameras armed with the one weapon all Kenyans have access to, pangas (machetes) once again became the symbol for death and destruction in Africa. Spoken words, it seemed, coming from the podiums of politicians of every stripe, were what helped ignite this chaos in the first place; was it possible that written words from a more thoughtful source might help reverse the spread of violence? Or barring that, could it at least make sense of the chaos and thereby ensure that when peace returned, it stayed?"

Click HERE to read the full article originally published on Pambazuka news.

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