Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup Fever Unites

It is a magnificent feeling to recognize the unity of complex phenomena which appear to be things quite apart from the direct visible truth. ~Albert Einstein

It is interesting which kinds of things bring people together.

Around here there are a few key things: religion, tribe, whether they are for or against the proposed Kenyan constitution (Yes campaign and No campaign), and the World Cup.

In English, we have this saying that goes "birds of a feather flock together." And indeed this may be the case in some situations (particularly those listed above).

Especially with the hot issue of the Constitutional Referendum is coming up in early August there has been a huge divide in the population: the Yes campaign and the No campaign.

Interestingly enough, though not surprising, is that there are a number of misconceptions about what saying Yes or No to the constitution would mean.
When people ask me my opinion my response is: "what will happen is what is meant to happen, I am only a witness." Typically I will also add a commentary about being informed, such as "the most important thing is that you [the Kenyan voter(s)] make an informed choice".

Aside from the upcoming referendum, I also find it interesting that some people who have not seen me in a relatively short amount of time (say 1 week or less) make comments such as "umepotea sana, nimefikiri ulienda South Africa" (eng: you've been so lost, I thought you went to South Africa). My typical response is "sijasafiri, niko tu. Kazi inanendela vizuri na mimi naangalia kombe la dumia kwa hoteli" (eng: I haven't traveled, I’m just around. work is going on well and me I watch the world cup at hotelis [local caf├ęs].

Once I was even told "Michezo ziko kwenu, sio" (eng: the games are being played at your place, isn't it). I thought it was kind of interesting that instead of being confused for an Arab, on this singular occasion I was confused for a South African.

At any rate, I enjoy watching the games and seeing how people come together in support of 'their team' or even just to watch a good match up. People will come together and forget about tribal issues, religious issues, or even the divide over the constitutional referendum to enjoy a football match.

On a side note, about the World Cup: a friend of mine recently mentioned how the sound of the horns used sounds like a bumblebee crescendo of Om – filling the world (through the sound from the TVs) with love and light.

My hope is that even after the World Cup, the situation of seeing each other as an equal will continue.

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