Elections in the United States tend to bring with them some casual partying, maybe a keg stand or two for freedom, some shots for ‘Murica. But ultimately you know you’re going to end up with lady liberty naked in your bed at 1:00pm and a mild hangover; just casual bro shenanigans.
But Kenya doesn’t mess with that banal party swag. No man, when Kenya has an election they rage hard. Like Halloween foam party hard; like someone accidentally delivered a case of Smirnoff at our door the day after finals and bunch of bitches are coming over later to get down hard; like your country has undergone years of forced integration at the hand of colonial powers, resulting in intense animosity and resentment that fractures the country along ethnic and economic lines, rather than a shared nationality, hard.
So Kenya has a history of raging. So what? If raging was a crime we’d all be locked away by now (well, probably not because our dads are rich as fuck and we got swagged out legal representation).
But when Kenya rages, it’s a little different. The last time Kenyans went to the polls in 2007, the results were disputed and ethnically aligned gangs took the lives of more than 1,100 people during weeks of violent unrest.
Also, while raging on college campus is (for the most part) legal, two of Kenya’s presidential candidates this year, Former finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, are due to appear before the International Criminal Court at The Hague in a few weeks, charged with torturing, persecuting, killing and displacing civilians during Kenya’s last election crisis. Kind of like a more intense, internationally condemned form of pledging that ultimately destabilizes an entire region.
Mr. Ruto is generally considered the main instigator of violence, but is revered as a political hero in the Kalenijin ethnic community. Mr. Kenyatta is the son of former President Jomo Kenyatta, hailing from an entirely different ethnic background. The potential for serious violence is as clear as a fifth of Grey Goose premium vodka (which, ironically, also causes mass ethnic raging within the Greek community).
Complicating the already tenuous peace between the two ethnic rivals is the deep inequality prevalent throughout the country. While unemployment in some regions hovers around 40%, the political elite continues to award themselves inflated salaries and perks, again along ethnic lines, even in the face of mass strikes and labor unrest.
A little context: Kenya is an important country for a number of reasons. It has long stood as one of the most industrialized and democratic countries in sub-Saharan Africa and is the cornerstone of US security in the region. So unlike the majority of Africa, the United States actually cares about what happens politically.
Following the mass outbreaks in violence in 2007, the international community, and America, was like, “nah man, screw this noise,” prompting then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to fly into Nairobi and moderate meetings between the two main political factions.
The result was a referendum on a new constitution in 2010 that devolved power and established a “bill of rights,” as well as the Integrity and Leadership Bill (whatever the hell that means) and local tribunals to prosecute suspects of election killings.
But, like most things political in Africa, politicians implicated in the violence blocked the tribunals and other ambitious reforms crucial to avoiding renewed violence in 2013 were not pushed through. Also, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission have yet to release recommendations for remediating previous cycles of violence, stoking the flames of frustration throughout the nation.
This election-cycle Kenyans will vote for the first time for county governors and senators, as per the new constitution established in 2010, which sounds fine, but also could lead to intense competition and rivalry on a local level and raise the chances of violence.
Shit is cray, bro. What can we even do?
Well, there are a lot of things that could be done to alleviate violence in Kenya, mainly expanding access to reliable public services and providing more opportunities to young people to find work. There is also a large role for community organizations to play in working outside of Kenya’s broken political system to affect change on a local level. Kenyan civic groups have also tried desperately to shift the conversation away from ethnic identities, launching a broad public campaign to make the election issue-focused.
In regards to reconciliation, Kenya should seriously turn to their bro South Africa, who’s post-apartheid reconciliation process was arguably the most successful the world has ever seen. But that’s an entirely different story, bro.
While all attention will be turned towards national politics and regional strife, there are tangible things being done in local communities to find ways out of violence for the urban poor.
That being said, ultimately much of the change must happen from the top before Kenya sees a true path forward. Until then, Kenya’s election ragers are just an unfortunate reality.
What’s up אח (bro)? Your bubbe (grandmother) misses you; I was just talking to her yesterday. She wanted me to tell you that you were getting too thin and should find a nice Jewish girl to settle down with. Oh, and she mentioned that you should renege on your plans to build settlements in the E-1 region of Eastern Jerusalem.
She said something about how the announcement was a deliberate provocation of the Palestinian people following the UN’s vote to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state.
Bro look, the E-1 territory is considered one of the most sensitive in the region and should the plans come to fruition it would essentially close the door on a contiguous Palestinian state.
Israel, you’ve already isolated yourself from the international community following the extreme acts of aggression committed against a vastly outgunned occupied territory (can’t call it a state). And on Monday Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark and Spain all summoned their ambassadors back home in protest. You’re losing friends and you’re making your bubbe sick.
She’s really worried about you, bro. With all of the turmoil and changes in your ‘hood, now is not the time to exacerbate what can accurately be called the focal point of why everyone thinks you’re a total dick. And now that we have popularly elected governments in transitional phases, anti-Israeli sentiments are entering the public discourse after years of suppression.
That means you’ve no longer got U.S. established governments to back you up. It’s like if you picked a fight with the swollest bro at the gym, but then when you turn around you realize your bros are busy hitting on hot bitches doing yoga. Bro’s before ho’s doesn’t apply when there’s slampieces to be had, and it doesn’t apply when there’s the potential for violent intra-state conflict.
Let’s be real, Israel. Sure, moving settlements into volatile territories might alleviate some security concerns. But that argument is essentially like saying the only way to deal with your hangover is to stop drinking. It’s not that you drink too much, it’s that you’re a little bitch who can’t hold his liquor. Get your shit together and frat harder.
You’re entirely missing the fundamental issue that’s driving aggressive behavior from Palestine. Mainly, you’ve pushed them to the brink of a complete devolvement of a cohesive Palestinian identity so they’re fighting back with the only outlet they now have: violence. Because when Palestine does pursue peaceful diplomatic avenues, you treat them like a GDI: worthless, annoying and severely lacking in swag. And by the way, don’t even mention the Oslo Accord. Even your bubbe thinks it’s total bullshit.
Listen, this isn’t coming from me. It’s coming from you’re grandma, your bubbe, who’s worried sick about your behavior. She loves you, bro. And you’re killing her. You’re killing your grandmother with worry (her words, not mine).
Giver her some peace bro, stop building settlements in occupied territory and start serious negotiations on a two-state solution. And call your grandmother more. Because according to her, when she’s dead you’re going to miss you. Not that you should feel guilty or anything (you should feel guilty).
Hopefully we won’t have to have this talk again soon. But until next time, bro’chaim!
A Slightly Perturbed and Concerned Bro
Real talk, bro. Why the hell is no one talking about Syria and Turkey being on the brink of war? Obama’s my bro, Mitt Romney’s like a casual bro acquaintance who I hate seeing but tolerate, and I don’t particularly mind seeing them in the news duking it out like two sorority bitches in a pudding wrestling contest. But seriously, shit’s about to get real bad over there, like blacking out on football Saturday and missing the game bad.
On Monday Turkish President Abdullah Gul (sweet name, bro) said that the “worst-case scenarios” were playing out in Syria and Turkey would do whatever is necessary to protect itself.
We’ve seen exchanges of artillery fire for six straight days. Turkey’s armed forces have bolstered their presence along the border with Syria. And what’s the international community doing? U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the escalation of the conflict was “extremely dangerous.”
Are you kidding me, Ban? That’s like saying PIKE throwing a mad rager on the same night of our annual “80’s Bros and Coked Out Hoes” party was no big deal. It was a big deal. And it ended with 50 bros flexing in the street at 3 a.m. threatening to fight each other. Hopefully Syria and Turkey are only chesting up and trying to look like the alpha bro. Hopefully. But it’s starting to look like they’re going to fuckin’ throw down.
The most upsetting part of this whole debacle came today when NATO declared it was ready to defend Turkey in the event of an all out war. Bro, this is getting way to real.
At the same time we have radical militant groups staging suicide bombing against the Syrian regime so we’re past the point of arming whatever cohesive opposition was there. There are very few options on the table and what options are still available are quickly dissipating.
God damn, bro. This is almost as bad as the time our frat had a mixer with some skanky sorority and all the bitches were ugly as shit. So we chugged all the tequila we bought and blacked out so we didn’t have to remember what happened but in the morning we woke up and all the girls were still there. Naked. On our tables.
No one had any idea what the fuck went down but the entire house smelled like sluts, natty light and bad decisions.
Now obviously a war is somewhat unlikely at this point and NATO is extremely reluctant to enter into any conflict when their main focus is on Afghanistan. But it’s an election year, bro. Every eye is turned on Brobama and Bromney. No one is willing to do anything.
It’s like we lost a football game and now everyone is too pissed to do anything so there’s no parties to rage at. But somewhere there’s a party and no one has the gumption to go out and slam hot bitches.
Do you see what I’m saying? Turkey and Syria are like hot bitches and the international community is like our frat after a devastating loss. There’s shit going down, bro. It’s time to mobilize and attack before some other frat swoops in and cops our party swag.
But seriously, we need to see this escalation in the news more often. If Turkey and Syria continue this aggression, NATO will inevitably be drawn in. Then Syria’s allies, Iran and Russia, will have to back up their bro and then you just have a clusterfuck of regional strife and proxy wars.
So yeah shit’s fucked up. But apparently the international community as impotent as those PIKE bros. I wouldn’t be surprised if they couldn’t get it in with a vulnerable sorostitute going blackout at a frat. Seriously international community, get your shit together. We can’t wait.
My boy Barack O-Drama had a big day today. In what would be his last speech to the UNGA before the November elections, he obviously wanted to bring down the house with some real-talk about geopolitics and America’s place in the world. Swag. Go lay the proverbial smack down on all these bitch-ass nations, bro. I wanna see some tears.
But what did we get instead? Some straight-up pussy speech about “protecting free speech” and the “painstaking work of reform.” Come on bro, you’re better than that. Seriously, me and my bros didn’t wake up and 7:30am and pregame hard before the opening of the UN General Assembly to see some daytime television pandering to the Muslim-world.
But I get it Barry (Choom Squad 4 Lyfe, homie). In an era of increasing hostility between the West and the Muslim world, it’s important to throw election year politics aside and work for meaningful change on a global level. Focusing his speech on the power of free speech and shit like that was a good call.
My favorite part of the speech came when Barry was like, “As president of our country, and commander-in-chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things everyday. And I will defend their right to do so.”
Looks like Barack has been watching 8 Mile recently. He totally jacked that strategy from Rabbit, when he was all like, “Yeah I got problems, but you’re still a bitch.” Now when other nations try to front on us, what are they going to say?
But at the risk of sounding un-American, I think the main story should be Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rolling up to New York 140 delegates deep. Bro, that’s like half the people who were at our Foam Party last week coming to a fuckin’ policy conference.
And even more impressive was that most of that delegation is staying at the swagtastic Warwick hotel for over $1600 a night. After a series of political missteps at home and a public power struggle with conservatives in the Iranian parliament, my man Mahmoud can still bring the party with him. Seriously bro.
There’s showing the force of your military through training exercises in the Persian Gulf, and then there’s showing the force of your swag through rolling up with a huge posse and getting bitches at swank New York hotels.
If the United States and Iran were fighting over a contentious swag program instead of nuclear one, I think Barack Obama may have just gotten embarrassed.
Swag Score: Iran-1, U.S.-0