What to do with ‘bad news’

There’s lots of bad news on television. Horrendous things happening in different parts of the country, almost like clockwork.

An eight-year-old child is raped, knows her attacker, but no action is taken because she is poor.

GSU officers demand bribes on other people’s property because they have the power to arm-twist their way out of it, even literally.

A woman is battered by her husband, but he is not touched because his money talks really loudly. School owners hoodwink tenants and put up ‘respectable’ establishments in complete disregard of their surroundings. Politicians continue to use funerals as campaign grounds as families grieve.

Every other day, police at the airport ask for some chai, as if they deserve it and we should all accept that this is the way of life. Why is it so?

I’ve heard a lot of people say news is the most depressing thing and they will not watch the 9 o’clock bulletins, ever, because what is the use?

But I, on the other hand, am impressed. Every day, every single day, there is a story on the news about injustice in society. A story about the losses of the poor, a story about the chest thumping of the rich and a regurgitation of tragic events that we have forgotten too quickly.

The drama we see on our screens is not for us to be shocked and have something to talk about when we gather with friends and loved ones, but it is intended for us to be sensitive to the various injustices in society and be moved to action.

Action does not just mean M-Pesa donations, it means trying to look for solutions to the problems around you. Not everyone is a Boniface Mwangi, but there must be something that moves you. A cause you would stand for and an action you are willing to take to make a difference.

What if you can give motivational talks to policemen and women who feel that they don’t need to work as hard because they are poorly paid? What if you are good at karate and can teach women in the slum areas to protect themselves?

It could be anything! Getting your organization to sponsor a NO LITTER campaign, awkwardly stretching your leg so that the thug running off with someone’s handbag falls and drops it. Offering your expertise to help people in rural areas use their water better, or use their money better are good ones too.

If at all the government is a reflection of society, then we have a lot of work to do!

There are a lot of good things happening however; collecting clothes and food to give to the needy, churches helping raise children whose parents are children themselves.

If you are already doing something, please do not tire and encourage yourself to keep at it! If you haven’t yet started, think of what you can do. Nothing you can do is too little. Good things know how to multiply themselves – somehow.

Offer your time and skill to uplift society. Society will not forget you, and neither will the people you have helped or whose lives you have changed – even if you can count them on one hand.

I challenge you. Use the news you see and consume to promote a just society.

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