Friday, August 20, 2010

Do They Know What KKK Stands for Elsewhere?

Indiatsi Nasibi
19 August 2010


Nairobi — The announcement that the Constitution belongs to all Kenyans is welcome, for it is an anti-dote to the frequent meetings by the chest-thumping vanquished 'No' campaigners.

However, the continued use of the KKK abbreviation by the 'No' campaigner William Ruto negates a smooth implementation of the Constitution.

The abbreviation, which is supposed to stand for the Kikuyu, Kamba and Kalenjin political alliance, is offensive to many black people internationally.

Our newspapers are read all over the world before they are even read at home. Elsewhere, the abbreviation KKK has a different connotation. Its use in Africa is similar to the use of the word Nazi or the swastika symbol in the state of Israel.The swastika was the official emblem of the Nazi party in Germany which was responsible for the extermination of six million Jews by Adolf Hilter.

That abbreviation KKK is revolting to those of us who experienced the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Ku Klux Klan is a racist, anti-Semitic movement with a white supremacist ideology not far removed from that of the Nazis. It was founded in 1866 and was responsible for lynching thousands of African Americans in the Confederate States.

Between 1889 and 1922 a total of 3,436 blacks were lynched. The campaign by black Americans was organised to secure the Dye Anti-lynching Bill by the National Association for Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP).

During the civil rights movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, Dr Martin Luther King and Black American college students stood up against white supremacy and collided head-on with the KKK.

The then president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, helped to champion the cause of African Americans.

This support cost him his life and culminated in the March on Washington organised by Dr King, among others, on August 23, 1968, five years after Kennedy's assassination.

The dodo is dead and is heard no more. Extinct also is the dinosaur. That is why many Kenyans voted for the new Constitution en masse to put the Nyayo era of the strongman which the likes of Ruto represent behind them.

Dr Nasibi is a lecturer at the United States International University (USIU), Nairobi.

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