I believe in freedom of speech. I believe in Press Freedom. What I don’t believe is that those freedoms are absolute. In 2015, a terrorist attack on the largely previously unknown French “Charlie Hebdo” publication left 14 people dead, after the paper published a cartoon mocking the Islamic Prophet Mohammed. There was no excuse, no justification for the taking of lives simply because they published what over 1.6 billion people, Muslims, would consider extremely offensive. However, the event brought about a debate on what freedoms we enjoy and how those freedoms can be enjoyed without giving credence to outright bigotry, racism and the degradation of others.
Since that time, Charlie Hebdo has published several other, openly racist, clearly bigoted cartoons, about migrants dying at sea and most offensive to date; a cartoon depicting a 2 year old refugee who died at sea, Aylan Kurdi, as a “future monkey rapist.”
Ideas are powerful, and words are powerful. They can build and they can destroy. The images of Aylan Kurdi’s father crying his eyes out, disgusted, humiliated and extremely aggrieved after seeing the disgraceful cartoon of his dead child, are going to haunt us all. History will judge us, for letting those who have the means, to harm, humiliate and degrade those who are the weakest amongst us.
I am not saying that Njoki Chege just picks at the weakest. But Ms Chege is irresponsible with her power. She is published in a national newspaper and each week without fail, Njoki Chege wreaks vitriol on those who have a lifestyle she despises.
Is she emotionally charged *UNSTABLE is the word I should use* when she writes this stuff? I doubt it. I think that Ms. Chege is simply looking for a way to sell papers. And that, in itself describes the problem in Kenya.
We have a media so keen on numbers and sales that they no longer are accountable for what they publish. There was a time when Kenyan Media Houses thought that they were capable of “self-regulation”. In the transition from the Moi Era to Kibaki, Kenyan Media Houses suddenly found themselves with a gift so precious that even American journalists should have been envious. It was the freedom to publish opinion, without fear of legal repercussion because at the time, the Media laws were not yet strict enough to curb excesses, or indeed, invite frivolous litigations.
And now, nearly 15 years later, we allow our media to utilize these hard won freedoms to publish views that, truly, are not just bigoted and offensive, they demean the humanity of half the population of Kenya. Njoki Chege writes pure misogyny, woven into her work that pettily picks at habits of a minority of Nairobi based people.
I consider myself a democratic thinking person. I abhor censor, and in as much as I may not agree or even like what Njoki writes, I acknowledge she has the right, nay, PRIVILEGE to write in a National paper. However, I feel it is important to point out that HER abject bigotry is not democratic; it is not worthy of publication and it is not in any way representative of any constitutional values or freedoms granted in Kenya.
Njoki Chege’s writing is an affront to press freedom. It is clear bigotry, narcissism, and insults directed at the very consumers of the Nation Newspapers. If Nation Media Group wanted us to know just how much they disdain us, all they need to do is print Njoki Chege.
Media Houses in Kenya keep claiming that they should be self-regulatory, but clearly, just by observing what the average weekend paper has the temerity to publish, this is not the case. When you have the power to shape millions of minds, and influence the decisions and sentiments of millions of people from diverse backgrounds it is quite wicked to use that power to push utter misogyny, bigotry, and backwardness.
Njoki Chege needs censure – not for her views, but for the utterly irresponsible nature of her expression. To write blatant insults while claiming to be addressing issues such as feminism, abuses that even insult our own African natural hair, is abhorrent, unconscionable and RACIST.
Njoki Chege needs an editor – incidentally Nation Media Group fired a managing editor, Dennis Galava, whose editorial on 2nd January, they claimed “did not follow due process”. If a managing editor can be fired for doing his JOB, and writing an editorial that strongly criticizes the presidency, why can’t their writers be censured for insulting the public?
Njoki Chege needs to READ – yes dear, read a damn BOOK. Learn that feminism is not just about what women state on twitter or what they choose to do with their hair. Feminism, Njoki, is NOT *just* about equal rights for men and women. Feminism is the inherent notion that WOMEN ARE ALSO PEOPLE.
Njoki – Bloggers are not “any dimwit with an internet connection”; Bloggers are people who WRITE or produce content for a BLOG. You have a blog, Njoki Chege, did you also just insult yourself ? of course you did!
Njoki – The phrase “the scum of the earth” is not one you throw at every single group of people you decide to deride just to sell papers; rather it is surely reserved for your own kind, people who claim they are writers, who are published in national newspapers and use that platform to insult women, men, and the entire public, simply because you want to make money.
This blog post is a troll – I am trolling you back, Njoki Chege. I am using my online publication to troll you, to tell you that your misogyny and your hatred for ordinary Kenyans is offensive, bigoted, shallow, hypocritical, and laced with utter ignorance.
You have no idea how to spell – remember how you declared that fat women who have a “sedimentary”(what?!) lifestyle should “HIT THE JIM”? Hit who? Utter idiocy.
Do you recall, (as you should!) how you decided that twitter feminists “do not believe in beautiful, long flowing weaves the rest of you spend so much money on”? Who believes in horse hair? Who has faith in synthetic hairs? Is this a religion for the completely stupid that you are pushing?
Your “writing” is a disgrace. Not only for its myriad grammatical errors and ridiculous spelling mistakes, it is an affront to our sensibilities. That you can write such garbage and not a single one of the (remaining) NMG editors notice how pathetic your composition is, tells us everything about the newspaper that publishes you.
The reason this is now an issue is because, in a country that has a fledgling democracy such as ours, Njoki Chege’s contemptuous rants cause more harm than anything. It is damaging the credibility of writers, publishers and the press across Kenya. It is wrong, offensive, bigoted, insulting to the public and plainly inexcusable behavior.
Charlie Hebdo is similarly bigoted. The difference between Kenya and France is this – we can see the hypocrisy and damage that support for open bigotry brings to a society and how violent and inciting the hatred and degradation spewed can be. There is no way of unlinking subsequent terror attacks on Muslims across France from the sheer nonsense published by Charlie Hebdo.
We, as Kenyans can choose not to go down the same path. Njoki Chege in her bigotry is no better than the “political bloggers” she labeled “no better than call girls.” I am not calling her a garden tool, merely quoting her. She is just as bad, and far more unsavory, inarticulate, and on sale.