â€œMum, Noni amenichapa..â€
â€œShhh.. weâ€™re watching news.â€
â€œHata mimi nitakuchapa. Ngoja news iisheâ€
This scenario is familiar to most of us as we were growing up and characterized any conversation that attempted to arise between 7pm and 7.30pm and also between 9pm and 9.45 pm. Such was the sacred status that â€˜newsâ€™ held in the household. Even to this day, when the clock strikes 7pm, youâ€™ll notice a crowd gathering eerily around any shop or restaurant that has a television tuned to the news. No, theyâ€™re not zombies being brain-washed (although some may argue that they are); they just want to watch the news.
Enter generation Y: She hates to watch the news. She says itâ€™s really sad and after watching it, she feels worse off than she was before. So she avoids it all together. They never report on anything positive, she justifies, and it doesnâ€™t benefit me in any way. And sheâ€™s not the only one. A number of people donâ€™t pay attention to the news and they donâ€™t even bother to pick up a newspaper, unless itâ€™s to flip to the Entertainment pullout.
They hate â€˜the uglyâ€™ stories. The stories about rape, robberies, murder, economic struggle and the age-old dirty game of politicsâ€¦ basically the stories that usually make the news. They would be happier if they would report the great things that have been done by others. They would prefer stories about puppies and rainbowsâ€¦but hereâ€™s the thing; puppies and rainbows wonâ€™t change the world.
No one likes to concentrate on the ugly mole that stares right back at them every time they look in the mirror. With time, they learn to ignore it. Thatâ€™s what the news is to our society: a reflection. It shows you that ugly mole that you would rather not recognize. So you ignore it, but that doesnâ€™t make it go away.
Watching the news last week, there was the story of a four year old girl who was raped and murdered in Mombasa. That was the ugliest reflection of our society. They featured a photograph of that little girl and she was gorgeous. She could have grown up to break dozens of hearts, that one, and it hurt to think that such a beautiful, innocent angel experienced such an ugly death. I imagine if these non-news watchers would have watched that piece, they would have been tormented by it and said that it was manipulative. Who said thatâ€™s a bad thing?
Feel sad. Get angry! Get mad that such ugly things are part of our society. Most people usually leave it at that and move on with their lives. Itâ€™s after the anger that the true purpose of the news is fulfilled.
Do something about it. The information isnâ€™t given to you only for you to ruminate on it. Itâ€™s not just to make you feel sad.
Kenya is not that pot-bellied politician who always graces the television, nor does Kenya sit in the state house. Those are just custodians of the state. Kenya is the people on the other side of the screen who get up after watching the news and purpose not to accept the ugly nature of our society but to change it.
If youâ€™re so fed up with the stories they bring in the news, donâ€™t change the channel; change the news. Change Kenya.