Friday, January 27, 2006

Bolivia leader halves his own pay (NOW, THAT'S NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!)

The Bolivian new left-wing President, Evo Morales, has cut his salary by more than a half to a little over $1,800 (£1,012) per month.
 
The decision means that the salaries of all Bolivian public sector employees will be reviewed, as no official can earn more than the president.
 
Mr Morales said the money saved would be used to increase the numbers of doctors and teachers.
 
Mr Morales suggested that members of Congress should cut their salaries too.
During the campaign, Mr Morales had pledged to halve his own pay if elected.
 
The move announced after his first cabinet went beyond that, with a cut of 57%.
 
BBC South America correspondent Daniel Schweimler says many voted for Mr Morales believing that he was different from the more conservative politicians who have governed in the past.
 
The former llama herder and coca leaf farmer was inaugurated last Sunday as Bolivia's first indigenous president.
 
He has promised to fight corruption, introduce a new tax on the wealthy, and renationalise energy companies.
 
Source:  BBC Online


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Hamanistan indeed - I'm hedging my bets on a Likud rise and, possibly, a win in March!

"Today, Hamastan was formed, a representative of Iran and in the image of the Taliban," said Benjamin Netanyahu , leader of the opposition Likud Party.
 
Labor Party politician Ami Ayalon, a former head of the Shin Bet security service, said Israel might have to change the route of its West Bank security barrier because of the Hamas victory.
 
Source: AP


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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Safaricom: Let's give Kenyans a chance to own a piece

By MWANGI IRUNGU
The government faces a litmus test on where it will source the Sh. 22 billion needed to lay off the 11,000 of the 18,000 Telkom staff as it restructures the loss making public company.
According to the Information and Communication Minister Mr. Mutahi Kagwe, the government is currently pumping a whooping Sh. 400 million monthly to keep the company afloat.
This figure translates to a Sh. 4.8 billion loss annually for the government which should not be allowed to happen any further.
One option that the government has of raising the cash is through the much-publicized sale of some of its 60% shares in the largest mobile phone company in Kenya Safaricom.
If the government goes ahead and implements this plan to sell part of Safaricom, it should do so through the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) and not through a strategic investor like Vodafone PLC who are waiting with a predatory anticipation to cash on this venture should the government decide otherwise.
The government should learn from the success of the KCB rights issue in 2004 where the bank raised Sh. 2.35 billion through the bourse after it decided not to take up its shares. 
On the verge of collapse, Uchumi too raised Sh. 1.2 billion through the NSE silencing critics who were advocating for a strategic investor from South Africa.
The NSE Chairman Da Gama Rose early this year too urged the government to shun strategic investors and sell part of National Bank of Kenya and the Consolidated Bank through the NSE.
This will benefit Kenyans and other local investors who are beginning to appreciate the success of the stock market which previously had been benefiting a few enlightened ones.
The government should give Kenyans a chance to own part of the Safaricom instead of giving it away to foreigners who will repatriate the profit to their country and such a golden opportunity can only be done through the stock market which is on an upward trend of growth. 
In 2005, the NSE was one of the most active sectors in the country with the NSE 20 share index gaining 1,027 points to close the year at 3,973.
Nairobi Stock Exchange CEO Mr. Chris Mwebesa predicts the NSE 20 share index may hit the 5,000 mark in 2006 which is likely to create over Sh100 billion in additional wealth to the shareholders.
At the moment, the NSE 20 share index is above the 4,000 mark.
With more companies likely to list this year, namely Equity Bank, KenGen and Wananchi online the NSE story will be that of success and its no doubt that a 5,000 mark will be achieved.
With its subscriber base targeted to hit 5.5 million by the end of 2007, its no doubt that Kenyans are the true owners of one of the Kenya's jewell-companies - Safaricom.
The government should give Kenyans a chance through the NSE to own a piece of Safaricom's cake which many have not enjoyed in some of the blue chip companies in the NSE - namely EABL - where majority shareholders are foreigners, cement companies like East African Portland and Bamburi Limited.
In his budget speech last year, Finance Minister David Mwiraria gave incentives to local investor (company owners) who listed their companies in the stock market.
Any company listing 40% of its shares in the stock market to Kenyans, would be exempted a 10% corporate tax for 5 years.
This has seen an influx in the number of companies wanting to list at the NSE whose benefits are
immense.
If it wants growth at the NSE, the government should therefore aid this process of attaining a 26% growth by the end of 2007 by selling part of  Safaricom through the NSE as it is done with KenGen where it is selling its 30% stakes in the highest Initial Public Offer (IPO) ever in the country projected at between  Sh. 8-10 billion.
Should the government heed this call Safaricom's IPO would be the largest ever in East Africa, surpassing that of KenGen.
Conservative estimates indicate that it would require a cross-listing in the 3 East African Countries so as to
exhaust the offer.
But with the anticipated success of the KenGen offer, where it's believed the offer might not be enough for the number of willing investors, its almost certain that Kenyans will take up any Safaricom offer.
With Kenya Airways, East African Cables and Athi River Mining enjoying the success of listing at the
stock market, it's high time the government borrowed a leaf from these companies which are among the
most active at the bourse as their benefits to Kenyans who have invested in them is immense.
Having made a profit of over Sh. 5 billion last year, Safaricom is one of the fastest growing companies in Kenya and it's riding higher.
Homegrown economists have raised alarm on the Vodafone PLC bid to put an additional 11% stake in Safaricom at $100 million (Sh7.2 billion) which is perceived to be too low for a company whose prospects are higher. Analysts have expressed fear that Vodafone PLC might even decide to give its Safaricom stake to South African giant VodaCom where its has immense stakes to run it.
This should not be allowed to happen; Safaricom should be owned by Kenyans.

Mwangi Irungu is a freelance writer and can be reached at m_irungu@wananchi.net


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Anglo Leasing: Is the Nation being sincere?

By EVANS CHEKMOENG
The Nation Media Group (NMG) is thoroughly a Kikuyu outfit which has and continues to ably serve that community. The so-called Anglo-Leasing expose was to me really an expose of NMG for who they really are - entrenched tribalists who would use every hook and crook to keep the Mt. Kenya Mafia in power! Why did they keep this quiet all along? Whatever they wrote is simple common knowledge for almost a year since Githongo resigned. In fact even Sir Edward Clay had raised the same issues last year and what did NMG do? They joined the Kikuyu hegemony in lambasting Clay for being disrespectful to a sovereign nation - Kenya! Why didn't they publish the full Clay expose (word for word instead of the edited version) then? Of course they knew it would hurt their grand Banana Campaign! Why now pretend to be custodians of - truth - when all along they peddled falsehood by withholding the truth? The Githongo dossier is allegedly 91 pages according to UK newspapers like The Times and The Guardian. Yet whatever NMG serialized was a cannibalized, mutilated version of the contents of the original! Why did they not mention in detail Jimmy Kibaki's alleged role in Anglo Fleecing? Why also did they circumnavigate Kibaki's active role in the same? Why did they give us bits and pieces instead of solid investigative journalism - having names and places, etc? Talk of investigative journalism at its best; oh no at its worst!
The other person I personally do not give a damn to is Githongo. In fact I agree with one Kenyan blogger who has given him the Coward of the Year (2005) Award! Why did he keep quiet in UK for a whole one year before now allegedly "spilling the beans"? His reason according The Guardian about his "conscience" is as hollow as indeed that same conscience! Where was Githongo when Kibaki, Kiraitu, Murungaru, et al. were looting the Kenyan economy last year in order to push the horrendously flawed Draft Constitution down our throats? If he had spoken then, it would have put paid the Banana Campaign. But being a nice Kikuyu he chose to serve his tribe by keeping his mouth shut! In that case, let his mouth remain shut. And when time comes to haul Kibaki and his collaborators into jail for gross mismanagement, Githongo should go to jail ahead of them for abetting grand corruption! Even the issue of his security is a NMG fictitious imagination; if Kenyan hitmen could get Akasha wherever he was, who is Githongo in Oxford? National heroes have been people who put their lives on the line for the sake of the country. I dare Githongo to come home and let’s see if he will be killed! His Kikuyu bed-fellows cannot kill; they need him just as they needed him when Kibaki appointed him the anti-graft czar without any commitment whatsoever! Some stories are doing rounds that his brief transfer from State House to work under Kiraitu was done without Kibaki's knowledge! Come on; who can believe this hogwash? That we have a president so senile who cannot even know the composition of his cabinet before he announces it; and even when he realizes that there are some "strange" changes in the "original" list, still goes ahead to announce the list! These arguments, mostly fronted by NMG, do not hold water. They simply want us to believe that Kibaki is "sick". But surely if he is "sick" to that extent, why didn't NMG tell Kenyans the truth when he supposedly suffered multiple strokes? Better still why cant NMG tell the truth by outlining to Kenyans the exact nature of the "sickness" and then push for a healthy leader? Take my word, if we had a "sick" president who is not from Mt. Kenya, NMG would have led the pack in telling the "truth" and would not rest until we got a "healthy" Kikuyu president!
If indeed NMG was keen and sincere on exposing the stinking corruption in the Kibaki Administration, they would have a field day. Let them give us a list of all the ministers and MPs who we hear were each paid to deliver the Banana vote in their constituencies! Or let them expose how ministers in the Kibaki Administration have suddenly become millionaires! How come some have been able to put up grand palaces in Karen within only three years of being a minister? What of the mansions others are building in various posh parts of the country including along Mombasa beaches? Why can't they expose the elaborate drug syndicate which implicates some of the high and mighty in Kenya? Come on NMG, give us a break!
The truth is that Nation completely lost out to Standard (and KTN) ever since the Referendum debate. When we Kenyans (not from Mt. Kenya) realized the brazen and arrogant manner in which NMG pushed the Banana Agenda, we said enough is enough. To add insult to injury, Citizen, Kameme, KBC and other Kikuyu-owned media franchises like The People went to bed with the Kibaki Administration and vowed to dish out outright lies. As if Kenyans are pigs! Right now the readership of The Nation and The People and the viewership of NTV has plummeted to an all-time low. I guess if the trend continues the Nation will become like the Kenya Times during the Moi era - fit only for Government offices! I personally know of many friends (myself included) who were ardent readers of Nation but who have since the Referendum switched to Standard. Go to Kisumu City and you will be lucky to find anyone buying Nation!
Whatever NMG is now thumping their chest about exposing, all along Standard and KTN have raised the issues. There was absolutely nothing new that was "exposed" by the last Sunday Nation which has not been in the Standard before. Maybe the dates of the lunches that Kiraitu and Awori had to cover up Anglo Fleecing! Otherwise hard facts have basically been there. In fact Standard and KTN withstood a horrible media onslaught including some of their reporters being banned from covering Kibaki's events! Remember the recent Standard photo of empty seats at the swearing ceremony of Kibaki's suicidal cabinet?
NMG is in a state of panic and they are desperately trying to fool Kenyans, forgetting that Kenyans are much brighter than the bigheaded Mt. Kenya hegemony! We are seeing right through the veneer and instead of gaining mileage, they are simply sliding further down the pigsty. The only way forward for NMG is an UNCONDITIONAL APOLOGY to Kenyans for their bigoted, tribalized agenda all along. Do you even remember during the 2002 General Elections when NMG campaigned for Uhuru without shame (Uhuru's and Kanu's record notwithstanding)? Until and unless we get this apology (with accompanying demonstration of a Saul-on-Damascus-road conversion, I think non-central Kenyans are tired and sick of being treated as second-class citizens. You see, even after the No victory, one expected some toning down of language and even a change in the way NMG does things. Nothing; instead they continued to strengthen the Kibaki lame-duck government. We recall very clearly that even when Kombo and Ngilu stage-managed the "cabinet boycott", NMG did not even have the courtesy to keep Kenyans abreast with the developments; there was no online breaking news or even a special print edition like the Standard did! Of course NMG knew the issue was stage-managed; but I got sick of the manner in which they even stage-managed their news coverage during the time.
Guys from Central Kenya are in a state of panic. They want to keep power at whatever cost. So even this Anglo-Fleecing "expose" is merely to ensure Kenyans get to see some more sacrificial lambs are offered to atone for the Mt. Kenya Mafia then it will be business as usual. But take it from me: the rest of Kenyans are bored stiff with being ruled by guys from Mt. Kenya. This time Kibaki has pushed us against the wall and I do not see another Mt. Kenya president in the foreseeable future. Whatever they do, let them be ready to eat humble pie and let other Kenyans a chance to lead this great country.
In fact the fatigue with Mt. Kenya leadership is not only in the political arena. We are also tired of it in the churches and Christian organizations! I know this will stir the hornet's nest, but we need to launch a campaign to rid our key churches Christian institutions of mediocre Mt. Kenya leadership! I may be sounding tribal here but the truth has to be told: over 80% of key leaders of churches and Christian organizations are Kikuyus (or Mt. Kenya in general). Are we the better or the worse for it? I firmly believe that we are all the worse for it!!! Name them - NCCK, ACK, PCEA, EAK, JIAM, DC, etc! My thesis is that there has to be a Christian leadership revolution alongside the political revolution if we are to ever begin to see credible Christian leadership emerging in Kenya. At the moment we are having Mt. Kenya guys appointing their own even when they know full well that the leaders are not qualified at all! As if we do not have qualified and able guys from other parts of the country! I do not mean that leaders who are not from Mt. Kenya will be angels; we are all fallen beings but at least let us give other tribes an opportunity to try their hands at leadership.
Of course closely related to this is the economic stranglehold that Mt. Kenya has on Kenya. Apart from the multinationals and Asians (who they are causing to flee Kenya), they control virtually every aspect of our economy. While they have to be commended for being innovative, "hard-working", business minded, etc, we must question what type of economics is this that only trickles back to Mt. Kenya and not the rest of the country! We are having a new breed of "fresh, young" Kikuyu executives who are swimming in money at a time when most parts of the country are burying themselves in poverty! Not to mention the older folks like Njega (who owns coffee plantation the size of a whole location in prime-land central province), Kuguru, etc. The gap between the rich (Kikuyus) and the poor (rest of Kenyans) is alarming and cannot be sustained! As a result of economic power, Mt. Kenya Mafia wants to control every aspect of our national life. And any attempt to change the status quo is met with economic sabotage! Surely, we cannot continue as a country this way. Let there be equitable distribution of wealth.
Well, these are my thoughts on the matter.
Comments on this article are welcome on this blog but personal correspondence for the writer may be channeled via: chekmoeng-offers@yahoo.com


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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Love Your Unborn Neighbor

January 22, 2006 Sermons Edition
By John Piper

Luke 10:25-37
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" 27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two Denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, "Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back." 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
God has commanded us in his word, "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13). And he told us why. He said in Genesis 9:6, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image." In other words, when you murder a human, you attack God who makes every human in his image. This is the fundamental mistake that Princeton professor Peter Singer makes when he argues that (quoting Richard John Neuhaus, who debated Singer) "the life of an adult pig deserves protection more than that of a new born human baby, and . . . the parents should be free to kill their young children already born if they deem them unacceptably disabled."1 The reason he is wrong is that the human baby is created in the image of God, and the pig isn't. The psalmist describes how God is personally and meticulously involved in the creation of each person in the womb: "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well" (Psalm 139:13-14). And lest we think that somehow the children in the womb are not children, not human, not persons. God lets us read the words of the angel in Luke 1:15 to Zechariah concerning John the Baptist, "He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb," so that a few verses later his pregnant mother said to Mary, "Behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy" (Luke 1:44). And when we have heard all these things, God says to us in America in the 21st century stained with the blood of millions of unborn babies, these words from Proverbs 24:11-12, "Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, "Behold, we did not know this, does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? What work? The work of mercy, the work of justice, the work of caring for the oppressed and defending the unborn. The good work of loving the unborn. Why after all did Jesus Christ come to redeem us from our sin and guilt? Paul tells us in Titus 2:14, "He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Among which is the glorious work of laboring and defending our unborn neighbor. January 22 is the 33rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision called Roe vs. Wade. That decree that made abortion legal in our country all the way up to birth, if the health of the mother is at stake; and the health of the mother has been construed to mean any discomfort that would come from an unwanted pregnancy. So what we have had for 33 years is virtually abortion on demand. In that time, the lives of 46 million unborn children have been ended by abortion in the United States. Women's Issues web site estimates that worldwide that same number of abortions happen each year.

Abortion Closer to Home

The parable of the Good Samaritan, among other things, presses us from the global to the local. So let's take a step closer to home. Since 1973 in our state, Minnesota, the lives of 490,000 unborn children have been ended by abortion. In 2004 there were 13,788 abortions in this state. (As tragic and as horrifying as that is, there is an encouraging side because this is the lowest number since 1975.) But the parable of the Good Samaritan would press us still closer to home. Almost all the abortions in Minnesota are done here in the Twin Cities in five local clinics. I want to give you a glimpse into these clinics and then turn to the parable of the Good Samaritan and then come back to them at the end with a dream. 1. Midwest Health Center for Women is located downtown Minneapolis at 33 South Fifth Street, 4th Floor, Minneapolis, Minn., 55402. On their web site they state openly that they provide about 3,000 of those abortions each year and advocate for the sexual freedom that makes many of them feel so necessary.
Midwest Health Center for Women provides quality health care and advocates and promotes reproductive freedom and healthy sexuality. . . . Annually, Midwest provides abortion services for 3,000 patients. . . . We also seek to expand public awareness and gather support for reproductive rights and health care. As an abortion provider we are prepared for a long political battle over reproductive rights. Continued attacks from the anti-choice minority threaten access to this legal and safe procedure through legislative action and regulatory burdens. For example, the so-called "Women's Right to Know" which became Minnesota law in 2003 added $80,000 annually to the clinic's operating budget.
2. Meadowbrook Women's Clinic is located four blocks from our downtown campus at 825 South 8th Street, Suite 1018, Minneapolis, Minn., 55404. Here are a couple glimpses into their work. Question from their FAQ section: "Q: How long will the abortion take? A: If you are less than 14 weeks, the abortion will take approximately 5 to 10 minutes. If you are 14 to 21.6 weeks, the length of time will be somewhat longer (20 to 30 minutes)." Twenty-one and a half weeks? Do you know what that baby looks like and experiences? He or she is about 11 inches long and weighs about a pound and is within two or three weeks of being able to live outside the womb. Steve Calvin, who works in the neonatal unit at Abbott hospital wrote in the Minneapolis StarTribune
Recently, I performed an amniocentesis on a patient at 21 weeks gestation because of a possible infection. On ultrasound, the fetus pulled away from the needle when it grazed her arm. It is clear to me that this fetus felt discomfort, and that she would feel horrible pain if she were dismembered in the exercise of an unjust constitutional right.2
The dismembering of a human being routinely in 30 minutes on an outpatient bases - or any other way - is barbaric. Four blocks from our church all year long, like churches within smelling distance of Auschwitz or Dachau or Buchenwald. 3. Robbinsdale Clinic, 3819 West Broadway, Robbinsdale, Minn., 55422. They strike a defensive political posture at their web site:
It is the responsibility of all American women and their families to work to keep abortion safe and legal by voting for Pro-Choice officials, and working with various organizations to ensure this basic fundamental right of reproductive freedom. Please remember, while over 70% of Americans believe in the right to choose, a small but vocal minority of narrow-minded anti-abortion forces, could make a major impact on the threat to women's rights.
4. Mildred S. Hanson, M.D, 710 East 24th Street, Suite 403, Minneapolis, Minn., 55404. The web site calls her a "Late Abortion Specialist" and then boasts in this distinction: "First and second trimester abortions by a woman gynecologist, the first physician in Minnesota to perform the second trimester D&E procedure." The business side is clear and simple at her site:
Fees for Office Abortions Through 20 Weeks
5-6 weeks $475
7-10.5 weeks $420
11-12 weeks $515
13-14 weeks $615
15th week $820
16th week $920
17-18 weeks $1,070
18-19.4 weeks $1,320
19-20 weeks $1,520
5. Planned Parenthood, Highland Park Clinic, 1965 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, Minn., 55116. Out of the 13,000+ abortions done in Minnesota each year about 23% are done at Planned Parenthood. Their web site describes how caring this is: "With many years of experience, our physicians and staff provide caring, confidential, and affordable abortion services." That's the reality of abortion fairly close to home. Of course even closer are the abortions you have experienced personally: your girlfriend, your wife, your daughter, your granddaughter, yourself. Jesus hates abortion and he loves you. When you feel both of these truths the way he wants you to, you will weep with brokenhearted joy. I know women in this church who have walked through it, been broken by it, and emerged strong in the Lord and in the cause of life. Be patient with your healing. Your time for courage in the cause of life will come.

Who is my Neighbor?

O how many things we could observe from the parable of the Good Samaritan! But I have one main observation to make and apply to our situation. The parable begins with a lawyer trying to justify himself by asking the question "Who is my neighbor" (in verse 29), and ends with Jesus' question in verse 36, "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor?" Ten sermons could be preached on ten different issues raised by this parable. But I want you to see this one crucial thing: Jesus tells a story that changes the question from What kind of person is my neighbor? to What kind of person am I? He changes the question from What status of people are worthy of my love? to How can I become the kind of person whose compassion disregards status? Let's make sure we see this and then apply it. A lawyer asks in verse 25 about how to inherit eternal life. He is not sincere. It says he is testing Jesus. Jesus puts the question back to him in verse 26 to reveal the duplicity. What does the Law say? He answers in verse 27 that we should love God will all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus exposes him by saying in effect: So you already know the answer. He sees that he has been exposed and needs to cover up his hypocrisy and so verse 29 says, "Desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'" In other words, it's not so easy, Jesus. Life is complicated, like, which kind of people do we have to love? Who qualifies for being a neighbor in the command, "Love your neighbor"? Every race? Every age. The unborn? Now how will Jesus answer? He does not like this question. Carving humanity up into groups some of whom are worthy of our love and others are not. Jesus does not answer the question, "Who is my neighbor?" He tells a parable that changes the question.

Jesus Shifts the Focus

Between Jerusalem and Jericho a man falls among robbers and verse 30 says they "stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead." The first two people to pass by are a priest and a Levite, the most religious folks, and they both pass by on the other side (vv. 31, 32). Then came a Samaritan, not even a Jew, and the key phrase about this man is at the end of verse 33: "he had compassion." You see how the focus has shifted. The question about what kind of man is dying is not even in the story any more. The whole focus is now on the kind of people who are walking by. The first two felt no compassion. The Samaritan was a different kind of person. So when you get to the end, what's the question Jesus asks? Was it, "So was the wounded man a neighbor?" No. That is not the question. Jesus asked the lawyer (v. 36), "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" The lawyer said in verse 37, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." No answer to his question: Who is my neighbor? Instead: Go become a new kind of person. Go get a compassionate heart. This is exactly what Jesus died for. This is the promise of the new covenant in Ezekiel 36:26, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." And Jesus said at the last supper, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (Luke 22:20). Those who follow Jesus all the way to the cross will see him there paying for their new heart.

What Kind of Person Am I?

So the point I believe I should make about abortion is this: When all the arguments are said and done about the status of pre-born human life and whether the unborn qualify for our compassion along with mommy and daddy and grandma and granddaddy, when we are done trying to establish, "Is this my neighbor?" - the decisive issue of love remains: What kind of person am I? Does compassion rise in my heart for both mommy and daddy and grandma and granddaddy and this unborn baby? Or do I just get another coke and change the channel? Look at the practical compassion, the concrete, hands-on, get-messy compassion of verses 34-35. This is a huge part of the parable. Jesus belabors this to drive something home about the kind of person who follows him. Here it is (vv.34-35):
He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two Denarii [two days wages, maybe $300] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, "Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back."
That is amazing!

A Heart of Compassion

My prayer for us in response to this message is that we become like that. A heart of compassion leading to hands-on, messy, sacrificial, time-consuming, stressful action. I believe there is something everyone can do in the cause of defending and protecting and loving everyone involved in abortion. Which takes us back to Midwest Health Center for Women, and Meadowbrook Women's Clinic, and Robbinsdale Clinic, and Mildred Hanson, and Planned Parenthood. The people who own and operate and work there are real people. Above all, they need Christ. What might God be pleased to do if 4,000 concerned Christians committed ourselves to pray daily that Christ would manifest his saving grace in those places? What divine encounters of compassionate involvement might God create? Let there be no violence from our side. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. If the owners and administrators and employees of these five clinics met the living Christ and were saved, would abortion be offered in Minnesota any longer? There is more that you can do. But this much I ask you to do. Pray regularly that the owners, administrators, and employees of Midwest Health Center for Women, Meadowbrook Women's Clinic, Robbinsdale Clinic, Mildred Hanson, and Planned Parenthood would be saved.

Footnotes

1 Richard John Neuhaus, "While We're at It" in First Things (January, 2006, Issue 159), 74.
2 Steve Calvin, "Think Fetuses Can't Feel Pain? Try Telling Them That" (Minneapolis StarTribune, August 30, 2005).

Sudan & the AU: A fitting end to the "East-African" affair

I salute J. Pronk - Koffi Annan's right-hand man in the Sudan - for spearheading succesful efforts to bar Khartoum from leading the African Union at this moment in time. 
Up to and until yesterday, Khartoum was still boasting about the "unanimous" backing it had received from ALL East African states for its candidature.
After all, it was said, this was to have been East Africa's chance to lead the AU. 
The Idi Amin skeleton as well as other political and human rights realities in the Sudan should have awakened these unnamed East African nations and Khartoum's Northern supporters from their conveniently self-induced slumber.   
I find it particularly disturbing that Nairobi had reportedly pledged its support for Khartoum's candidature; inconceivable even for a strategy to contain anyone (consider the always not-too-succesful attempt by some Kenyan head-teachers to "change" their errant students by bribing them with leadership responsibilities). 
What national interest were we defending / pursuing by backing Omar El-Bashir when:
1.  Darfur's hungry, wounded and dying are still blaming him for their abject conditions?
2.  Tchad faces possible instability from militia forces that are reportedly backed by Khartoum?
3.  The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA Khartoum signed with the South remains nothing but a beautiful document thus far with less to write home about? 
4.  The LRA continues to wreck havoc in Northern Uganda and S. Sudan, reportedly backed by Khartoum? 
A few months ago a dear friend of mine succumbed to a deadly LRA attack - I shivered each moment I heard Khartoum was headed to African supremacy with such an event so fresh in my mind.       
Preliminary reports suggest that the rest of Africa united against the Eastern and Northern alliance:  What regional interest were Kampala, Dodoma and Nairobi pursuing for their people?
P.S:  Amazing, isn't it, that Nairobi could recall its ambassador to Khartoum for reportedly helping Sudan invite Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka to the AU meeting (alongside Kibaki) yet it couldn't move an inch while Darfur burned.  We, alongside much of Africa, left that to the Bush administration and religious conservatives in the US.  "Non-interference in each other's internal affairs" indeed.  Never mind that Musyoka probably should have been in Khartoum, given his involvement in several regional peace processes (the CPA included).  That's kumalizana gone too far.


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Nairobi building tragedy: Love or hate them, you have to give it to the Jews!

By some credible accounts, the Israelis have given Kenyan rescuers a good shot in the arm at this difficult moment for many families. 
"A specialist 140-strong Israeli team with sniffer dogs and specialised heavy rescue equipment is now in Nairobi helping with the rescue effort," says the BBC (at a time when our military was reportedly complaining about a lack of lighting and basic equipment like crowbars and hammers).    
The Israelis are the same guys who, in the aftermath of the 1998 bomb blast at the US embassy in Nairobi, reportedly chided the powers-that-be for allowing then-President Moi to visit the site a little "too early" after the fact. 
Sources told Kenyananalyst the Israelis were concerned Moi could have easily fallen victim to multiple-timed-bombing (a common tactic in the troubled Middle East) had the bombers planned for such.
Their timely response and impressive input at this hour should remind us all of the enduring legacy of the Israeli story down the ages and their resilience in the murk of survivalist politics in the ever fractious Middle East. 
Love or hate them, you have to give it to the Jews!
 


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Monday, January 23, 2006

Fellow Kenyans, I'm asking for prayer for our nation!

By TITO WAMBUA
 
When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have ost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and call it Pluralism.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Amen!"

The response was immediate.
 
A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest.

In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively.

The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa and Korea. Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, "The Rest of the Story," and received a
larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called "one nation under God."

"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for everything."

Think about this: If you forward this prayer to everyone on your e-mail
list, in less than 30 days it would be heard by the world.


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All hail the Fourth Estate but...

The Fourth Estate in our country is one of the most robust on the continent yet also one that still leaves a lot to be desired.

Consider the dramatic angling of the various sections of the mainstream media on the Anglo-Leasing story; it's amazing, isn't it, how some of them continue to undergo Pauline conversions in the manner they handle stories (shifting alliances every now and then). 
There's that thing called public interest and human interest stories, but I'm hard-placed to find anything close to that in our media products....much of the time at least....since December 2002. 
Only media-literate Kenyans might be in a position to see through the facade and realize that everyone from the civil society, the clergy to the media abandoned them the moment the Third Republic emerged. 
Now there's a new election in the horizon and everyone is busy currying favour with you and me. 
 


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Anglo-Leasing: "Mad" ain't the word for this at all!

"Mad" reactions from Kenyans would be an understatement.
There's no proper adjective to aptly describe this betrayal of the country by the high and mighty (if the "due process" they are always vibing about finally gets to vindicate public opinion against them). 
A few months ago, Gado (the Nation cartoonist) toyed with the idea of a Kenyan movie being made following the Goldenberg hearings ("Diamonds Forever," I think, would be the title). 
I'm suggesting a sequel - "The Ghosts of Anglo Forever."
There would be no need to audition anyone for anything on the set, would there?
Once again, I'm asking the govt-appointed and Mutava-led Anti-Corruption Steering Committee to close shop. 


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Will Kibaki survive the 2007 tsunami?

By ZAKAYO MWANGI
 
President Mwai Kibaki has been taunted as a lame-duck president by numerous columnists in the Kenyan media and has not been spared either by the political elite who campaigned for him in the 2002 elections.
Kenyans have not spared the President either after his failure to deliver on the 500,000 thousand jobs a year.
Led by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) luminaries and the "Young Turks" from the Mt. Kenya region, Kenyans are now blaming the President for lack of political development in the country.
But what has brought Kibaki's scale down the most after the famous "Kibaki tosha" in 2002 by Kenya's political kingmaker Raila Odinga?
Kibaki has been blamed for dining and wining with the old guards who, politically, rate nowhere near the likes of Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka or even the Young Turks from Central Kenya.
According to the public court of opinion, the likes of Nat Kangethe, Joe Wanjui, George Muhoho together with the other old guards in the kitchen cabinet John Michuki and Njenga Karume have been a stumbling block to other politicains who campaigned for the President in 2002.
But the one million dollar question is, will Kibaki survive the 2007 elections if he offers himself for the presidency alongside the likes of Uhuru Kenyatta, Odinga, William Ruto, Musikari Kombo and Musyoka?
After the 2002 elections, Kibaki's road to State House in 2007 started to narrow after he failed to honour the much-publicized Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Supporters of the "Kibaki tosha" declaration started to revolt and alienate themselves from Kibaki, pulling their supporters along in the anti-Kibaki bandwagon.
The LDP luminaries started to cite political frustrations from the Mt. Kenya mafia in the likes of Kiraitu Murungi and Christopher Murungaru. According to them, State House access was hard to come by as they were seen as removable stains in Kibaki's white-as-snow government.
The "Government Project" (constitution) was another set-back as the Narc "party" disintegrated into factions aided by the arrogance of some of his close ministers, some of whom vowed  to splash  taxpayers' cash to shake every corner of the country, some too desperately trying to hijack the constitution. 
In the comfort of State House, Kibaki failed to read the mood of the people even after intelligence reports showed clearly that the Orange movement was in the lead.
After the massive defeat in the referendum which was seen as a vote against Kibaki and not against the constitution, the man taunted as Kenya's economic healer started to lose clout.
Even in Central Province where they overwhelmingly voted for him, Kenyans started to blame Kibaki's political advisers and associates but as analysts would say, the buck stopped with the President himself.
The age factor is another odd playing against Kibaki in his bid for State House in 2 years' time (assuming he overcomes the Anglo-Leasing affair and a hostile Parliament).
After the famous declaration by former President Daniel Arap Moi that it was time for the young people to take over, the statement has continued to linger in people's mind in their political choices. 
For the longest serving Member of Parliament (Kibaki) who his heading to his political sunset, political analysts rate him nowhere near the likes of Musyoka, Kenyatta and Mudavadi who are seen as the bridge between the old and the young in Kenyan politics.
After the dissolution of the cabinet, Kibaki was seen to have stumped his authority and taken charge of the country.
People saw it as a good gesture where they hoped new blood and competent people would be brought in while those who had been perceived to be corrupt, arrogant and ineffective would be chased away.
After the cabinet was reconstituted, a "we have been duped" facial expression was evident on people's faces where it fell below expectation.
Though Kibaki had very few alternatives to pick from, coupled by the arrogance of the ODM members, people felt he would have done more.
If Kibaki was to vie in 2007 only a miraculous change in politics in the next two years would make him go back to State House.
Though he cannot be written off, Kibaki has a rough time as he tries to balance his political equation in his come-back to "Korogocho" to solicit for votes en-route to State House. 
 
The Writer is a Communication graduate from Daystar University.


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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Kivutha post-script

Kivutha is in his right, sound mind while writing all that he already has.
Vintage Kivutha remains as incisive as he always has been in his previously published works (mostly on law and politics in East Africa). 
Kivutha is doing what we call "baloon-testing" in media and public opinion studies.
The late Shariff Nassir was adept at this for Moi, Kajwang does it for Raila and Ehud Olmert did it for Ariel Sharon, just to name but a few.
Probably he is acting alone; probably he's acting on behalf of Ngilu / President Kibaki; and probably he is acting in concert with Kalonzo himself. 
The goal often is to test the waters as a preamble to engaging public opinion in some definite way, depending on prevailing / emerging circumstances.
In a large way, this often forms the basis for initial steps towards "public diplomacy" - though propaganda would appear to be the most appropriate word in the circumstances. 
Often, a story is "planted" in the media (mainstream or gutter) to get the conversation going.
The intrinsic value of political communication will bear its weight on the gutter and mainstream media as the General Elections near.   
Grasping this will save all of us from much heart-ache with each other as the days go by. 


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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Prof., wake up and smell the coffee!

In an op-ed piece in today's Daily Nation, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, conveniently and selectively so, overlooks the possibility that Raila and Kalonzo could actually share the ticket (one as a candidate and the other as a running mate) while alloting the PM and associated positions to the other interest-groups; thereby dealing a blow to whatever plan by other players on the scene.
To even suggest that Narc still enjoys nation-wide popularity that could safely be carried into 2007 is laughable, to say the least (I honestly wonder why he would still want to be Narc's hatchetman when everyone else is jumping ship).
Professor, wake up and smell the coffee!


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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Abramoff affair: Beware "the Ides of November!"

Most bi-partisan indeed.
I think the Democrats here may be overplaying their hands (with the "it-wasn't-us" mantra), but the G.O.P sure has an uphill task here.
November won't be easy for them.
Trust the Dems to rub that in.


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Monday, January 16, 2006

The Radioactive Republic of Iran

By MICHAEL RUBIN
Wall Street Journal
January 16, 2006
http://www.meforum.org/article/889
On Friday, George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood together in the White House to condemn Iran. "Iran, armed with a nuclear weapon, poses a grave threat to the security of the world," Mr. Bush said. "We will not be intimidated," Ms. Merkel added. The press conference marks a turning point in a decade-long saga. Europe's engagement with Iran has failed. While Iranian diplomats met with their British, French and German counterparts in Vienna and Geneva, Iranian technicians toiled to ready Iran's uranium enrichment capability. European officials discussed a China model for Iran, in which they could use trade to catalyze political liberalization. Between 2000 and 2005, EU trade with the Islamic Republic almost tripled. But rather than moderate, Iranian authorities used the hard currency to enhance their military. They built secret nuclear facilities and blocked inspections. They failed to explain why there were traces of weapons-grade uranium on Iranian centrifuges, and refused to detail what assistance Tehran received from Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan. On Sept. 24, 2005, the International Atomic Energy Agency declared Iran to be in non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty's Safeguards Agreement.
Still, diplomats and doves hold out hope. After a Jan. 12 phone conversation with Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Kofi Annan assured reporters that Tehran was interested in "serious and constructive negotiations." As Mr. Bush met Ms. Merkel, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC that military action was "not on the agenda" and insisted that the crisis "can only be resolved by peaceful means." But while Mr. Bush and his European allies may agree to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, traditional diplomacy will not work for a simple reason: Iran's quest for nuclear weapons has nothing to do with the U.S. or Europe. The crisis with Tehran is ideological, not political.

* * *

Destruction of Israel is a pillar of the Islamic Republic's ideology. Soon after leading the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared, "Every Muslim has a duty to prepare himself for battle against Israel." President Ahmadinejad's recent Holocaust-denial and call for Israel to be "wiped off the map," may have shocked Europe, but his statements mark only a change in rhetorical style, not ideological substance. When it comes to Israel, there is no difference between hard-liners and reformers. While Mr. Annan honored Mohammad Khatami for his Dialogue of Civilizations, the reformist president's instructions to the Iranian people were less high-minded. "We should mobilize the whole Islamic World for a sharp confrontation with the Zionist regime," he told Iranian TV on Oct. 24, 2000. "If we abide by the Qur'an, all of us should mobilize to kill." In a Dec. 14, 2001 sermon, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, perhaps the second most powerful man in Iran and one often described as a pragmatist by Western officials and journalists alike, declared, "The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything… It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality." During a Sept. 22, 2003 military parade, authorities displayed a Shihab-3 missile draped with a banner reading, "Israel must be uprooted and erased from history."
The ideological venom of their leaders carries little weight among the people. While the Iran-Iraq War killed hundreds of thousands, Iran and Israel have never exchanged a single shot. Many Iranians express pride that Israeli president Moshe Katsav was born in Iran. Indeed, the real ire of ordinary Iranians is expressed toward their government, not the outside world. In a 2002 labor protest, workers demanding back pay marched through Tehran, chanting, "Forget about Palestine and think about us."
Iran's youth want no more to live under theocracy than do Americans or Europeans. Iran Institute for Democracy telephone polls sampling opinion in every Tehran neighborhood suggest that 80% of the population have lost faith in the Islamic Republic. The Iranian people have little say in their leadership. The Supreme Leader wields autocratic power and reigns for life. The Guardian Council selects who can run for office. Before the 2005 elections, this clerical council disqualified more than 1,000 candidates, allowing the public to choose from only eight, all of whom endorsed theocracy and opposed far-reaching reform. Ordinary Iranians ignore the sham: While the Iranian government claims 50% voter turnout, Iranian pilgrims in Iraq say it was less than 20%. Contrast that with Iraq, where 70% of the population braves bombs and bullets to vote.
The Iranian religious leadership recognizes that demography is against them. Reform is a slippery slope, democracy a theocrat's hemlock. For the Ayatollahs, there can be no Orange, Rose, or Cedar Revolutions. Popular will is irrelevant. Legitimacy comes not from the people, but from God as channeled through a cabal of religious leaders. While Western analysts divide Iran's politicians into hard-liners and reformists, the difference is one of style, not belief. Take Mr. Khatami: Viewed by diplomats as a reformer, he nevertheless demonstrated disdain for popular sovereignty. "Knowledge of God's commandment must be the foundation of … life," he wrote in the state-run daily Kayhan. "People are not able to comprehend God's will through the explanations contained in the Quran and Sunna. Acquiring such comprehension requires several years of studies and much effort." Democracy is fine, but only clerics should be able to participate fully. Khomeini's successor and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called liberal democracy "the source of all human torment."
Such statements ring hollow among the Iranian people. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Iran's constitutional revolution. Many people wonder why they no longer have today rights they had a century ago. Since the 1999 student protests, they have taken to the streets with increasing frequency to demand real reform. Iranians are losing their fear of the Islamic authorities. State control is eroding. Televised confessions once broke dissidents, now they build them. A stint in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison has become a badge of honor. Last summer, dissident author Akbar Ganji shook the Islamic Republic with a two-month hunger strike that captivated his countrymen. "I have become the symbol of justice in the face of tyranny," he wrote from prison, "my emaciated body exposing the contradictions of a government which has reversed justice and tyranny."
The ideological guardians can suppress wildfires of dissent, but Iran remains a tinderbox. Demography pours fuel on the fire. The leadership is following a different China model: Only with a nuclear deterrent can the ayatollahs launch the Cultural Revolution that will ensure their survival without fear of outside interference. The Revolutionary Guards are preparing for not one, but dozens of Tiananmen Squares.
As they cleanse their home front, the theocrats may use their nuclear capability to act upon their ideological imperative to destroy Israel. The West once ignored Saddam Hussein's threats against Kuwait. But dictators often mean what they say. Even if Iran does not use its bomb, a nuclear deterrent will enable it to lash out conventionally without fear of consequence.
Diplomacy can only work when both sides are sincere. Like an abused spouse, Western policy makers blame themselves rather than understand the fault is not theirs. There is no magic formula waiting to be discovered. To Tehran, the West is naïve. More diplomacy will only give the Islamic Republic time to achieve its nuclear goal. The only solutions that can rectify the problem are those that deny the Islamic Republic its nuclear arsenal or those that enable Iranians to cast aside theocracy and its aggressive ideology and instead embrace freedom.
Mr. Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is co-author, with Patrick Clawson, of "Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos" (Palgrave, 2005).


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My Pilgrimage to Nonviolence (on the occassion of MLK's Day)

1 September 1958
New York, N.Y.
This shortened version of chapter six of Stride Toward Freedom appeared in the September issue of Fellowship. In it, King traces the philosophical and theological underpinnings of his commitment to nonviolence, stating that "Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale." King affirms his conviction that nonviolent resistance is "one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their quest for social justice."
Explaining that he "neither started" the Montgomery bus boycott "nor suggested it," King concludes: "Living through the actual experience of the protest, nonviolence became more than a method to which I gave intellectual assent; it became a commitment to a way of life." King includes a discussion of communism's relationship to Christianity, which borrows both ideas and phrasing from an essay by Robert McCracken, minister at New York's Riverside Church.
Often the question has arisen concerning my own intellectual pilgrimage to nonviolence. In order to get at this question it is necessary to go back to my early teens in Atlanta. I had grown up abhorring not only segregation but also the oppressive and barbarous acts that grew out of it. I had passed spots where Negroes had been savagely lynched, and had watched the Ku Klux Klan on its rides at night. I had seen police brutality with my own eyes, and watched Negroes receive the most tragic injustice in the courts. All of these things had done something to my growing personality. I had come perilously close to resenting all white people.
 
I had also learned that the inseparable twin of racial injustice was economic injustice. Although I came from a home of economic security and relative comfort, I could never get out of my mind the economic insecurity of many of my playmates and the tragic poverty of those living around me. During my late teens I worked two summers, against my father's wishes--he never wanted my brother and me to work around white people because of the oppressive conditions--in a plant that hired both Negroes and whites. Here I saw economic injustice firsthand, and realized that the poor white was exploited just as much as the Negro. Through these early experiences I grew up deeply conscious of the varieties of injustice in our society.
 
So when I went to Atlanta's Morehouse College as a freshman in 1944 my concern for racial and economic justice was already substantial. During my student days at Morehouse I read Thoreau=s Essay on Civil Disobedience for the first time. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times. This was my first intellectual contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance.
 
Not until I entered Crozer Theological Seminary in 1948, however, did I begin a serious intellectual quest for a method to eliminate social evil. Although my major interest was in the fields of theology and philosophy, I spent a great deal of time reading the works of the great social philosophers. I came early to Walter Rauschenbusch's Christianity and the Social Crisis, which left an indelible imprint on my thinking by giving me a theological basis for the social concern which had already grown up in me as a result of my early experiences. Of course there were points at which I differed with Rauschenbusch. I felt that he had fallen victim to the nineteenth-century "cult of inevitable progress" which led him to a superficial optimism concerning man's nature. Moreover, he came perilously close to identifying the Kingdom of God with a particular social and economic system--a tendency which should never befall the Church. But in spite of these shortcomings Rauschenbusch had done a great service for the Christian Church by insisting that the gospel deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body; not only his spiritual well-being but his material well-being. It has been my conviction ever since reading Rauschenbusch that any religon which professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the social and economic conditions that scar the soul, is a spiritually moribund religion only waiting for the day to be buried. It well has been said: "A religion that ends with the individual, ends."
 
After reading Rauschenbusch, I turned to a serious study of the social and ethical theories of the great philosophers, from Plato and Aristotle down to Rousseau, Hobbes, Bentham, Mill, and Locke. All of these masters stimulated my thinking--such as it was--and, while finding things to question in each of them, I nevertheless learned a great deal from their study.
 
The Challenge of Marxism
During the Christmas holidays of 1949 I decided to spend my spare time reading Karl Marx to try to understand the appeal of communism for many people. For the first time I carefully scrutinized Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto. I also read some interpretive works on the thinking of Marx and Lenin. In reading such Communist writings I drew certain conclusions that have remained with me to this day.
 
First I rejected their materialistic interpretation of history. Communism, avowedly secularistic and materialistic, has no place for God. This I could never accept, for as a Christian I believe that there is a creative personal power in this universe who is the ground and essence of all reality--a power that cannot be explained in materialistic terms. History is ultimately guided by spirit, not matter.
 
Second, I strongly disagreed with communism's ethical relativism. Since for the Communist there is no divine government, no absolute moral order, there are no fixed, immutable principles; consequently almost anything--force, violence, murder, lying--is a justifiable means to the "millennial" end. This type of relativism was abhorrent to me. Constructive ends can never give absolute moral justification to destructive means, because in the final analysis the end is preexistent in the mean.
 
Third, I opposed communism"s political totalitarianism. ln communism the individual ends up in subjection to the state. True, the Marxist would argue that the state is an "interim" reality which is to be eliminated when the classless society emerges; but the state is the end while it lasts, and man only a means to that end. And if any man's so-called rights or liberties stand in the way of that end, they are simply swept aside. His liberties of expression, his freedom to vote, his freedom to listen to what news he likes or to choose his books are all restricted. Man becomes hardly more, in communism, than a depersonalized cog in the turning wheel of the state.
 
This deprecation of individual freedom was objectionable to me. I am convinced now, as I was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God. Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself.
 
Yet, in spite of the fact that my response to communism was and is negative, and I considered it basically evil, there were points at which I found it challenging. The late Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, referred to communism as a Christian heresy. By this he meant that communism had laid hold of certain truths which are essential parts of the Christian view of things, but that it had bound up with them concepts and practices which no Christian could ever accept or profess. Communism challenged the late Archbishop and it should challenge every Christian--as it challenged me--to a growing concern about social justice. With all of its false assumptions and evil methods, communism grew as a protest against the hardships of the underprivileged. Communism in theory emphasized a classless society, and a concern for social justice, though the world knows from sad experience that in practice it created new classes and a new lexicon of injustice. The Christian ought always to be challenged by any protest against unfair treatment of the poor, for Christianity is itself such a protest, nowhere expressed more eloquently than in Jesus's words: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
 
I also sought systematic answers to Marx's critique of modern bourgeois culture. He presented capitalism as essentially a struggle between the owners of the productive resources and the workers, whom Marx regarded as the real producers. Marx interpreted economic forces as the dialectical process by which society moved from feudalism through capitalism to socialism, with the primary mechanism of this historical movement being the struggle between economic classes whose interests were irreconcilable. Obviously this theory left out of account the numerous and significant complexities---political, economic, moral, religious, and psychological---which played a vital role in shaping the constellation of institutions and ideas known today as Western civilization. Moreover, it was dated in the sense that the capitalism Marx wrote about bore only a partial resemblance to the capitalism we know in this country today.
 
Toward a New Social Synthesis
But in spite of the shortcomings of his analysis, Marx had raised some basic questions. I was deeply concerned from my early teen days about the gulf between superfluous wealth and abject poverty, and my reading of Marx made me ever more conscious of this gulf. Although modern American capitalism had greatly reduced the gap through social reforms, there was still need for a better distribution of wealth. Moreover, Marx had revealed the danger of the profit motive as the sole basis of an economic system: capitalism is always in danger of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity--thus capitalism can lead to a practical materialism that is as pernicious as the materialism taught by communism.
 
In short, I read Marx as I read all of the influential historical thinkers--from a dialectical point of view, combining a partial "yes" and a partial "no." In so far as Marx posited a metaphysical materialism, an ethical relativism, and a strangulating totalitarianism, I responded with an unambiguous "no"; but in so far as he pointed to weaknesses of traditional capitalism, contributed to the growth of a definite self-consciousness in the masses, and challenged the social conscience of the Christian churches, I responded with a definite "yes."
 
My reading of Marx also convinced me that truth is found neither in Marxism nor in traditional capitalism. Each represents a partial truth. Historically capitalism failed to see the truth in collective enterprise, and Marxism failed to see the truth in individual enterprise. Nineteenth century capitalism failed to see that life is social and Marxism failed and still fails to see that life is individual and personal. The Kingdom of God is neither the thesis of individual enterprise nor the antithesis of collective enterprise, but a synthesis which reconciles the truths of both.
 
Muste, Nietzsche and Gandhi
During my stay at Crozer, I was also exposed for the first time to the pacifist position in a lecture by A. J. Muste. I was deeply moved by Mr. Muste's talk, but far from convinced of the practicability of his position. Like most of the students of Crozer, I felt that while war could never be a positive or absolute good, it could serve as a negative good in the sense of preventing the spread and growth of an evil force. War, horrible as it is, might be preferable to surrender to a totalitarian system--Nazi, Fascist, or Communist.
 
During this period I had about despaired of the power of love in solving social problems. Perhaps my faith in love was temporarily shaken by the philosophy of Nietzsche. I had been reading parts of The Genealogy of Morals and the whole of The Will to Power. Nietzsche=s glorification of power--in his theory all life expressed the will to power--was an outgrowth of his contempt for ordinary morals. He attacked the whole of the Hebraic-Christian moraIity--with its virtues of piety and humility, its other worldliness and its attitude toward suffering--as the glorification of weakness, as making virtues out of necessity and impotence. He looked to the development of a superman who would surpass man as man surpassed the ape.
 
Then one Sunday afternoon I traveled to Philadelphia to hear a sermon by Dr. Mordecai Johnson, president of Howard University. He was there to preach for the Fellowship House of Philadelphia. Dr. Johnson had just returned from a trip to India, and, to my great interest, he spoke of the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. His message was so profound and electrifying that I left the meeting and bought a half-dozen books on Gandhi's life and works.
 
Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance. I was particularly moved by the Salt March to the Sea and his numerous fasts. The whole concept of "Satyagraha" (Satya is truth which equals love, and agraha is force; "Satyagraha," therefore, means truth-force or love force) was profoundly significant to me. As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time its potency in the area of social reform. Prior to reading Gandhi, I had about concluded that the ethics of Jesus were only effective in individual relationship. The "turn the other cheek" philosophy and the "love your enemies" philosophy were only valid, I felt, when individuals were in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations were in conflict a more realistic approach seemed necessary. But after reading Gandhi, I saw how utterly mistaken I was.
 
Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. Love, for Gandhi, was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation. It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking for so many months. The intellectual and moral satisfaction that I failed to gain from the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill, the revolutionary methods of Marx and Lenin, the social-contracts theory of Hobbes, the "back to nature" optimism of Rousseau, the superman philosophy of Nietzsche, I found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi. I came to feel that this was the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.
 
An Encounter With Niebuhr
But my intellectual odyssey to nonviolence did not end here. During my last year in theological school, I began to read the works of Reinhold Niebuhr. The prophetic and realistic elements in Niebuhr's passionate style and profound thought were appealing to me, and I became so enamored of his social ethics that I almost fell into the trap of accepting uncritically everything he wrote.
 
About this time I read Niebuhr's critique of the pacifist position. Niebuhr had himself once been a member of the pacifist ranks. For several years, he had been national chairman of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.* His break with pacifism came in the early thirties, and the first full statement of his criticism of pacifism was in Moral Man and Immoral Society. Here he argued that there was no intrinsic moral difference between violent and nonviolent resistance. The social consequences of the two methods were different, he contended, but the differences were in degree rather than kind. Later Niebuhr began emphasizing the irresponsibility of relying on nonviolent resistance when there was no ground for believing that it would be successful in preventing the spread of totalitarian tyranny. It could only be successful, he argued, if the groups against whom the resistance was taking place had some degree of moral conscience, as was the case in Gandhi's struggle against the British. Niebuhr's ultimate rejection of pacifism was based primarily on the doctrine of man. He argued that pacifism failed to do justice to the reformation doctrine of justification by faith, substituting for it a sectarian perfectionism which believes "that divine grace actually lifts man out of the sinful contradictions of history and establishes him above the sins of the world."
At first, Niebuhr's critique of pacifism left me in a state of confusion. As I continued to read, however, I came to see more and more the shortcomings of his position. For instance, many of his statements revealed that he interpreted pacifism as a sort of passive nonresistance to evil expressing naive trust in the power of love. But this was a serious distortion. My study of Gandhi convinced me that true pacifism is not nonresistance to evil, but nonviolent resistance to evil. Between the two positions, there is a world of difference. Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigor and power as the violent resister, but he resisted with love instead of hate. True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power, as Niebuhr contends. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflicter of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart.
 
In spite of the fact that I found many things to be desired in Niebuhr's philosophy, there were several points at which he constructively influenced my thinking. Niebuhr's great contribution to contemporary theology is that he has refuted the false optimism characteristic of a great segment of Protestant liberalism, without falling into the anti-rationalism of the continental theologian Karl Barth, or the semi-fundamentalism of other dialectical theologians. Moreover, Niebuhr has extraordinary insight into human nature, especially the behavior of nations and social groups. He is keenly aware of the complexity of human motives and of the relation between morality and power. His theology is a persistent reminder of the reality of sin on every level of man's existence. These elements in Niebuhr's thinking helped me to recognize the illusions of a superficial optimism concerning human nature and the dangers of a false idealism. While I still believed in man=s potential for good, Niebuhr made me realize his potential for evil as well. Moreover, Niebuhr helped me to recognize the complexity of man=s social involvement and the glaring reality of collective evil.
 
Many pacifists, I felt, failed to see this. All too many had an unwarranted optimism concerning man and leaned unconsciously toward self-righteousness. It was my revolt against these attitudes under the influence of Niebuhr that accounts for the fact that in spite of my strong leaning toward pacifism, I never joined a pacifist organization. After reading Niebuhr, I tried to arrive at a realistic pacifism. In other words, I came to see the pacifist position not as sinless but as the lesser evil in the circumstances. I felt then, and I feel now, that the pacifist would have a greater appeal if he did not claim to be free from the moral dilemmas that the Christian nonpacifist confronts.
 
The next stage of my intellectual pilgrimage to nonviolence came during my doctoral studies at Boston University. Here I had the opportunity to talk to many exponents of nonviolence, both students and visitors to the campus. Boston University School of Theology, under the influence of Dean Walter Muelder and Professor Allen Knight Chalmers, had a deep sympathy for pacifism. Both Dean Muelder and Dr. Chalmers had a passion for social justice that stemmed, not from a superficial optimism, but from a deep faith in the possibilities of human beings when they allowed themselves to become co-workers with God. It was at Boston University that I came to see that Niebuhr had overemphasized the corruption of human nature. His pessimism concerning human nature was not balanced by an optimism concerning divine nature. He was so involved in diagnosing man's sickness of sin that he overlooked the cure of grace.
 
I studied philosophy and theology at Boston University under Edgar S. Brightman and L. Harold DeWolf. Both men greatly stimulated my thinking. It was mainly under these teachers that I studied personalistic philosophy--the theory that the clue to the meaning of ultimate reality is found in personality. This personal idealism remains today my basic philosophical position. Personalism=s insistence that only personality--finite and infinite--is ultimately real strengthened me in two convictions: it gave me metaphysical and philosophical grounding for the idea of a personal God, and it gave me a metaphysical basis for the dignity and worth of all human personality.
 
Just before Dr. Brightman's death, I began studying the philosophy of Hegel with him. Although the course was mainly a study of Hegel's monumentaI work, Phenomenology of Mind, I spent my spare time reading his Philosophy of History and Philosophy of Right. There were points in Hegel's philosophy that I strongly disagreed with. For instance, his absolute idealism was rationally unsound to me because it tended to swallow up the many in the one. But there were other aspects of his thinking that I found stimulating. His contention that "truth is the whole" led me to a philosophical method of rational coherence. His analysis of the dialectical process, in spite of its shortcomings, helped me to see that growth comes through struggle.
 
In 1954 I ended my formal training with all of these relatively divergent intellectual forces converging into a positive social philosophy. One of the main tenets of this philosophy was the conviction that nonviolent resistance was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their quest for social justice. At this time, however, I had merely an intellectual understanding and appreciation of the position, with no firm determination to organize it in a socially effective situation.
 
When I went to Montgomery as a pastor, I had not the slightest idea that I would later become involved in a crisis in which nonviolent resistance would be applicable. I neither started the protest nor suggested it. I simply responded to the call of the people for a spokesman. When the protest began, my mind, consciously or unconsciously, was driven back to the Sermon on the Mount, with its sublime teachings on love, and the Gandhian method of nonviolent resistance. As the days unfolded, I came to see the power of nonviolence more and more. Living through the actual experience of the protest, nonviolence became more than a method to which I gave intellectual assent; it became a commitment to a way of life. Many of the things that I had not cleared up intellectually concerning nonviolence were now solved in the sphere of practical action.
PD. Fellowship 24, 1 September 1958.


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During the campaign, Mr Morales had pledged to halve his own pay if elected.
 
The move announced after his first cabinet went beyond that, with a cut of 57%.
 
BBC South America correspondent Daniel Schweimler says many voted for Mr Morales believing that he was different from the more conservative politicians who have governed in the past.
 
The former llama herder and coca leaf farmer was inaugurated last Sunday as Bolivia's first indigenous president.
 
He has promised to fight corruption, introduce a new tax on the wealthy, and renationalise energy companies.
 
Source:  BBC Online


Yahoo! Photos – NEW, now offering a quality print service from just 8p a photo.|W|P|113835165735702439|W|P|Bolivia leader halves his own pay (NOW, THAT'S NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!)|W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com1/29/2006 06:05:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous The virus!|W|P|Now this will not happen in Kenya until the year 3012 but undoubtedly is what we need.12/28/2006 07:43:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|I've just been hanging out not getting anything done, but so it goes. It's not important. I haven't been up to much today.
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"Today, Hamastan was formed, a representative of Iran and in the image of the Taliban," said Benjamin Netanyahu , leader of the opposition Likud Party.
 
Labor Party politician Ami Ayalon, a former head of the Shin Bet security service, said Israel might have to change the route of its West Bank security barrier because of the Hamas victory.
 
Source: AP


Yahoo! Photos – NEW, now offering a quality print service from just 8p a photo.|W|P|113834675091157909|W|P|Hamanistan indeed - I'm hedging my bets on a Likud rise and, possibly, a win in March!|W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com1/25/2006 11:18:00 pm|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|
By MWANGI IRUNGU
The government faces a litmus test on where it will source the Sh. 22 billion needed to lay off the 11,000 of the 18,000 Telkom staff as it restructures the loss making public company.
According to the Information and Communication Minister Mr. Mutahi Kagwe, the government is currently pumping a whooping Sh. 400 million monthly to keep the company afloat.
This figure translates to a Sh. 4.8 billion loss annually for the government which should not be allowed to happen any further.
One option that the government has of raising the cash is through the much-publicized sale of some of its 60% shares in the largest mobile phone company in Kenya Safaricom.
If the government goes ahead and implements this plan to sell part of Safaricom, it should do so through the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) and not through a strategic investor like Vodafone PLC who are waiting with a predatory anticipation to cash on this venture should the government decide otherwise.
The government should learn from the success of the KCB rights issue in 2004 where the bank raised Sh. 2.35 billion through the bourse after it decided not to take up its shares. 
On the verge of collapse, Uchumi too raised Sh. 1.2 billion through the NSE silencing critics who were advocating for a strategic investor from South Africa.
The NSE Chairman Da Gama Rose early this year too urged the government to shun strategic investors and sell part of National Bank of Kenya and the Consolidated Bank through the NSE.
This will benefit Kenyans and other local investors who are beginning to appreciate the success of the stock market which previously had been benefiting a few enlightened ones.
The government should give Kenyans a chance to own part of the Safaricom instead of giving it away to foreigners who will repatriate the profit to their country and such a golden opportunity can only be done through the stock market which is on an upward trend of growth. 
In 2005, the NSE was one of the most active sectors in the country with the NSE 20 share index gaining 1,027 points to close the year at 3,973.
Nairobi Stock Exchange CEO Mr. Chris Mwebesa predicts the NSE 20 share index may hit the 5,000 mark in 2006 which is likely to create over Sh100 billion in additional wealth to the shareholders.
At the moment, the NSE 20 share index is above the 4,000 mark.
With more companies likely to list this year, namely Equity Bank, KenGen and Wananchi online the NSE story will be that of success and its no doubt that a 5,000 mark will be achieved.
With its subscriber base targeted to hit 5.5 million by the end of 2007, its no doubt that Kenyans are the true owners of one of the Kenya's jewell-companies - Safaricom.
The government should give Kenyans a chance through the NSE to own a piece of Safaricom's cake which many have not enjoyed in some of the blue chip companies in the NSE - namely EABL - where majority shareholders are foreigners, cement companies like East African Portland and Bamburi Limited.
In his budget speech last year, Finance Minister David Mwiraria gave incentives to local investor (company owners) who listed their companies in the stock market.
Any company listing 40% of its shares in the stock market to Kenyans, would be exempted a 10% corporate tax for 5 years.
This has seen an influx in the number of companies wanting to list at the NSE whose benefits are
immense.
If it wants growth at the NSE, the government should therefore aid this process of attaining a 26% growth by the end of 2007 by selling part of  Safaricom through the NSE as it is done with KenGen where it is selling its 30% stakes in the highest Initial Public Offer (IPO) ever in the country projected at between  Sh. 8-10 billion.
Should the government heed this call Safaricom's IPO would be the largest ever in East Africa, surpassing that of KenGen.
Conservative estimates indicate that it would require a cross-listing in the 3 East African Countries so as to
exhaust the offer.
But with the anticipated success of the KenGen offer, where it's believed the offer might not be enough for the number of willing investors, its almost certain that Kenyans will take up any Safaricom offer.
With Kenya Airways, East African Cables and Athi River Mining enjoying the success of listing at the
stock market, it's high time the government borrowed a leaf from these companies which are among the
most active at the bourse as their benefits to Kenyans who have invested in them is immense.
Having made a profit of over Sh. 5 billion last year, Safaricom is one of the fastest growing companies in Kenya and it's riding higher.
Homegrown economists have raised alarm on the Vodafone PLC bid to put an additional 11% stake in Safaricom at $100 million (Sh7.2 billion) which is perceived to be too low for a company whose prospects are higher. Analysts have expressed fear that Vodafone PLC might even decide to give its Safaricom stake to South African giant VodaCom where its has immense stakes to run it.
This should not be allowed to happen; Safaricom should be owned by Kenyans.

Mwangi Irungu is a freelance writer and can be reached at m_irungu@wananchi.net


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|W|P|113822033256465573|W|P|Safaricom: Let's give Kenyans a chance to own a piece |W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com1/25/2006 12:30:00 pm|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|
By EVANS CHEKMOENG
The Nation Media Group (NMG) is thoroughly a Kikuyu outfit which has and continues to ably serve that community. The so-called Anglo-Leasing expose was to me really an expose of NMG for who they really are - entrenched tribalists who would use every hook and crook to keep the Mt. Kenya Mafia in power! Why did they keep this quiet all along? Whatever they wrote is simple common knowledge for almost a year since Githongo resigned. In fact even Sir Edward Clay had raised the same issues last year and what did NMG do? They joined the Kikuyu hegemony in lambasting Clay for being disrespectful to a sovereign nation - Kenya! Why didn't they publish the full Clay expose (word for word instead of the edited version) then? Of course they knew it would hurt their grand Banana Campaign! Why now pretend to be custodians of - truth - when all along they peddled falsehood by withholding the truth? The Githongo dossier is allegedly 91 pages according to UK newspapers like The Times and The Guardian. Yet whatever NMG serialized was a cannibalized, mutilated version of the contents of the original! Why did they not mention in detail Jimmy Kibaki's alleged role in Anglo Fleecing? Why also did they circumnavigate Kibaki's active role in the same? Why did they give us bits and pieces instead of solid investigative journalism - having names and places, etc? Talk of investigative journalism at its best; oh no at its worst!
The other person I personally do not give a damn to is Githongo. In fact I agree with one Kenyan blogger who has given him the Coward of the Year (2005) Award! Why did he keep quiet in UK for a whole one year before now allegedly "spilling the beans"? His reason according The Guardian about his "conscience" is as hollow as indeed that same conscience! Where was Githongo when Kibaki, Kiraitu, Murungaru, et al. were looting the Kenyan economy last year in order to push the horrendously flawed Draft Constitution down our throats? If he had spoken then, it would have put paid the Banana Campaign. But being a nice Kikuyu he chose to serve his tribe by keeping his mouth shut! In that case, let his mouth remain shut. And when time comes to haul Kibaki and his collaborators into jail for gross mismanagement, Githongo should go to jail ahead of them for abetting grand corruption! Even the issue of his security is a NMG fictitious imagination; if Kenyan hitmen could get Akasha wherever he was, who is Githongo in Oxford? National heroes have been people who put their lives on the line for the sake of the country. I dare Githongo to come home and let’s see if he will be killed! His Kikuyu bed-fellows cannot kill; they need him just as they needed him when Kibaki appointed him the anti-graft czar without any commitment whatsoever! Some stories are doing rounds that his brief transfer from State House to work under Kiraitu was done without Kibaki's knowledge! Come on; who can believe this hogwash? That we have a president so senile who cannot even know the composition of his cabinet before he announces it; and even when he realizes that there are some "strange" changes in the "original" list, still goes ahead to announce the list! These arguments, mostly fronted by NMG, do not hold water. They simply want us to believe that Kibaki is "sick". But surely if he is "sick" to that extent, why didn't NMG tell Kenyans the truth when he supposedly suffered multiple strokes? Better still why cant NMG tell the truth by outlining to Kenyans the exact nature of the "sickness" and then push for a healthy leader? Take my word, if we had a "sick" president who is not from Mt. Kenya, NMG would have led the pack in telling the "truth" and would not rest until we got a "healthy" Kikuyu president!
If indeed NMG was keen and sincere on exposing the stinking corruption in the Kibaki Administration, they would have a field day. Let them give us a list of all the ministers and MPs who we hear were each paid to deliver the Banana vote in their constituencies! Or let them expose how ministers in the Kibaki Administration have suddenly become millionaires! How come some have been able to put up grand palaces in Karen within only three years of being a minister? What of the mansions others are building in various posh parts of the country including along Mombasa beaches? Why can't they expose the elaborate drug syndicate which implicates some of the high and mighty in Kenya? Come on NMG, give us a break!
The truth is that Nation completely lost out to Standard (and KTN) ever since the Referendum debate. When we Kenyans (not from Mt. Kenya) realized the brazen and arrogant manner in which NMG pushed the Banana Agenda, we said enough is enough. To add insult to injury, Citizen, Kameme, KBC and other Kikuyu-owned media franchises like The People went to bed with the Kibaki Administration and vowed to dish out outright lies. As if Kenyans are pigs! Right now the readership of The Nation and The People and the viewership of NTV has plummeted to an all-time low. I guess if the trend continues the Nation will become like the Kenya Times during the Moi era - fit only for Government offices! I personally know of many friends (myself included) who were ardent readers of Nation but who have since the Referendum switched to Standard. Go to Kisumu City and you will be lucky to find anyone buying Nation!
Whatever NMG is now thumping their chest about exposing, all along Standard and KTN have raised the issues. There was absolutely nothing new that was "exposed" by the last Sunday Nation which has not been in the Standard before. Maybe the dates of the lunches that Kiraitu and Awori had to cover up Anglo Fleecing! Otherwise hard facts have basically been there. In fact Standard and KTN withstood a horrible media onslaught including some of their reporters being banned from covering Kibaki's events! Remember the recent Standard photo of empty seats at the swearing ceremony of Kibaki's suicidal cabinet?
NMG is in a state of panic and they are desperately trying to fool Kenyans, forgetting that Kenyans are much brighter than the bigheaded Mt. Kenya hegemony! We are seeing right through the veneer and instead of gaining mileage, they are simply sliding further down the pigsty. The only way forward for NMG is an UNCONDITIONAL APOLOGY to Kenyans for their bigoted, tribalized agenda all along. Do you even remember during the 2002 General Elections when NMG campaigned for Uhuru without shame (Uhuru's and Kanu's record notwithstanding)? Until and unless we get this apology (with accompanying demonstration of a Saul-on-Damascus-road conversion, I think non-central Kenyans are tired and sick of being treated as second-class citizens. You see, even after the No victory, one expected some toning down of language and even a change in the way NMG does things. Nothing; instead they continued to strengthen the Kibaki lame-duck government. We recall very clearly that even when Kombo and Ngilu stage-managed the "cabinet boycott", NMG did not even have the courtesy to keep Kenyans abreast with the developments; there was no online breaking news or even a special print edition like the Standard did! Of course NMG knew the issue was stage-managed; but I got sick of the manner in which they even stage-managed their news coverage during the time.
Guys from Central Kenya are in a state of panic. They want to keep power at whatever cost. So even this Anglo-Fleecing "expose" is merely to ensure Kenyans get to see some more sacrificial lambs are offered to atone for the Mt. Kenya Mafia then it will be business as usual. But take it from me: the rest of Kenyans are bored stiff with being ruled by guys from Mt. Kenya. This time Kibaki has pushed us against the wall and I do not see another Mt. Kenya president in the foreseeable future. Whatever they do, let them be ready to eat humble pie and let other Kenyans a chance to lead this great country.
In fact the fatigue with Mt. Kenya leadership is not only in the political arena. We are also tired of it in the churches and Christian organizations! I know this will stir the hornet's nest, but we need to launch a campaign to rid our key churches Christian institutions of mediocre Mt. Kenya leadership! I may be sounding tribal here but the truth has to be told: over 80% of key leaders of churches and Christian organizations are Kikuyus (or Mt. Kenya in general). Are we the better or the worse for it? I firmly believe that we are all the worse for it!!! Name them - NCCK, ACK, PCEA, EAK, JIAM, DC, etc! My thesis is that there has to be a Christian leadership revolution alongside the political revolution if we are to ever begin to see credible Christian leadership emerging in Kenya. At the moment we are having Mt. Kenya guys appointing their own even when they know full well that the leaders are not qualified at all! As if we do not have qualified and able guys from other parts of the country! I do not mean that leaders who are not from Mt. Kenya will be angels; we are all fallen beings but at least let us give other tribes an opportunity to try their hands at leadership.
Of course closely related to this is the economic stranglehold that Mt. Kenya has on Kenya. Apart from the multinationals and Asians (who they are causing to flee Kenya), they control virtually every aspect of our economy. While they have to be commended for being innovative, "hard-working", business minded, etc, we must question what type of economics is this that only trickles back to Mt. Kenya and not the rest of the country! We are having a new breed of "fresh, young" Kikuyu executives who are swimming in money at a time when most parts of the country are burying themselves in poverty! Not to mention the older folks like Njega (who owns coffee plantation the size of a whole location in prime-land central province), Kuguru, etc. The gap between the rich (Kikuyus) and the poor (rest of Kenyans) is alarming and cannot be sustained! As a result of economic power, Mt. Kenya Mafia wants to control every aspect of our national life. And any attempt to change the status quo is met with economic sabotage! Surely, we cannot continue as a country this way. Let there be equitable distribution of wealth.
Well, these are my thoughts on the matter.
Comments on this article are welcome on this blog but personal correspondence for the writer may be channeled via: chekmoeng-offers@yahoo.com


Yahoo! Photos – NEW, now offering a quality print service from just 8p a photo.|W|P|113818140196182308|W|P|Anglo Leasing: Is the Nation being sincere?|W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com1/26/2006 10:09:00 am|W|P|Anonymous Blame-me|W|P|In his book I Accuse the Press in the early 1990s, Philip Ochieng appeard to be alluding to the challenge of ethnicity at the Nation and other sections of the Kenyan media. Lay your hands on it if you can. I think it was published by Acme Press (1992 or thereabouts).

"The Church is an anvil that has worn out many hammers" - Theodore of Beza (as quoted in Richard Wumbrand's best-selling book Tortured for Christ) is a quote I would like Christians in Kenya to ponder about.1/29/2006 05:39:00 am|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|I am suspicious of the NMG. I was pleasantly surprised when they published the Anglo Leasing Report (it is an open secret that NMG is some sort of a Government PR department). Then by some miracle they got hold of the Goldenberg Commission report. To me the serialisation of the Goldenberg Commission unpublished/unofficial report is meant to neutralise whatever they have reported on Anglo Leasing. To me they are sending this message to their benefactors at State House ‘we are sorry for embarrassing you, but look we are still your good boys we have selectively published the Goldenberg Report. That should be able to divert the unwanted attention.’’

They are saying Anglo Leasing involves Kshs 7 billion while the breakdown given earlier shows that the scandal involves 25 billion. The idea is to have us focus more on the Goldenberg scandal yet still thank NMG for exposing Anglo Leasing.1/29/2006 05:40:00 am|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|What do you all think? Is the Nation Newspapers pro-government? Or is it just mere tribalism? But if it is, how can you explain the expose they did on the Anglo-Leasing? But again, is it truly possible to imagine that the Nation did not have information on what happened in the scandal all this long? I highly doubt that the Nation did not know. But why the change of heart? Why did they do the expose now? This is what I believe happened: the president realizes that the scandal will not go away; he is being pushed by international donors to act on his corrupt kitchen cabinet. But being the fence-sitter that he has always been, he dares not act on his own resolve. Again, he doesn't want to alienate the communities from which the kitchen cabinet comes. So he decides that an expose will give him the reason. So then he asks the Nation to spill the beans. And the Nation does that ...and then thumps its chest that it has given an exlusive, which though it is, is information they have possessed since long long ago but which they could not release for then it would hurt "their own".
But then another thing that happened is that the Nation realized that Githongo was going to spill the beans anyway, so they rushed ahead with their long-buried information! Clever, don't you think?
Why do I say all these? I say so coz I wonder why at this time they have decided to bring the Goldenberg thing (see todays paper below). Not that I am in support of Moi, no I am not. His rule directly and indirectly ruined the Kenyan economy and with it, a lot of the livelihoods of myriads of other people. But the question is, why bring the Bosire thing now? To balance the two scandals? Or is it true, its soon becoming public? will it become public coz of the Anglo leasing too... for the same reason (to mask the other?).
when you look at the question on presidential candidates that appeared some few weeks ago, the one on Kenyatta was the best done. I copy some quotes to show you what I mean...

He holds a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from the prestigious Amherst College (ati none of the other candidates came from prestigious colleges/unis!!!)

He was born and bred into politics as a son of the nation's founding president, Jomo Kenyatta. ... true but then he was not into politics really, till recently

His stance last year to oppose and campaign against the proposed constitution upped his popularity in other parts of the country. ... his gain was not significant to warrant this inclusion (and how about the other candidates?)

For a politician who became prominent in public life only in the last five years, he has not been caught in any scandalous deals. (what happened to KCC milk trucks?????)

Family: He is married to Margaret and they have three children – Jomo, Ngina and Muhoho (none of the other candidates seem to have children with names!!)

So is this tribalism? biasness? pro-government support, or is this a case of one writer's decision? Or am I wrong?

What do you all think? would love to hear...

but thanks for reading my ramblings on!

and enjoy your week...1/29/2006 10:24:00 am|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Let's face it: Uhuru isn't saleable. Why then has NMG persisted at hitting out at the Kibaki government day-in-day out in recent times if indeed it is still in love with him / Kikuyu hegemony?1/29/2006 06:15:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Corruption.Firstly,Phillip Ochieng should tell us how he ably wrote articles for the KANU regime so please leave him out of this.
To comprhensively attack corruption,you must start with the Kenyatta era,now this will not happen neither will the Goldenburg and Anglo scandals go anywhere until the year 2200 when the current crop of leaders are either dead or old.1/29/2006 10:35:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|2200? Dont you think that will be a bit too late? Can / will the country last that long?1/30/2006 12:06:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|I like it when you blast John Githongo - being the coward he is and all. Ashindwe! I suppose, though, we have a record somewhere of Mr Chemkoeng's active opposition to corruption? He got a few rungu blows from the GSU, did he not, while opposing Goldenberg? or the Nyayo plane? Eldoret Airport? Where, exactly, has he been over 24 years of Nyayo error? Ah, now he finds his voice... it is not his people who are eating....1/30/2006 12:24:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Hi sir. You seem to b suffering from a Nation phobia and Kikuyu phobia.
From your tone of well written article, its seems you re mking it as a platform for the usual anto kikuyu campign which will only find airtime on some emerging on line gutter press.
You may be true, I admit that but your tone is that of vengence nd only ppel to people of your calibre- inciters.
Well done sir1/30/2006 01:09:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Dear sir,
Other than kikuyu hegemony and pro-governance, there is also what we call in the media the brown envelopes, i.e the highest bidder gets favorable coverage, seems the government didn't bid so high this time...for all your worth, don't trust the media guys!!!Take all reports with a pinch of salt1/31/2006 09:09:00 am|W|P|Anonymous Proud Kikuyu|W|P|Grow up dude, Kikuyu bashing will taking you nowhere. Now who told you some uncombed luos in Kisumu city with a pea sized brain decide who the majority of Kenyans read.
You can say whatever you what. Why don't you first solve Goldenberg first before your small minded brain think Kikuyus are to blame for your woes.
Work hard coz we have2/09/2006 03:51:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Swaleh|W|P|Masai, the truth must be told and the truth shall always prevail. It will take a while and the Kibaki regime will come to an end. The same guys will start hurlling insults at others calling them corrupt and tribalist. Kweli Nyani halioni gundule, uliona la mwenziwe.2/09/2006 03:53:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous phillipo|W|P|FELLOW KENYANS BE VERY VERY WORRIED
after listening to Koigi's response to GITHONGO'S BBC interview and considering the outbursts of Kituyi,Karua.Kalembe,Kirwa,Kulundu,Kimunya,Kibwana(proffessor of HYPOCRITIC sycophancy) I MUST SAY that im loosing faith in this Country.
koigi wants Githongo to give evidence here in Kenya, ati when u r fighting graft u must be ready to die for it--WHAT about him, when he went begging in Norway during Moi days-why didnt he die for democracy leaving MATIBA,RUBIA,ORENGO,SHIKUKU,BAMARIZ,JARAMOGI(RIP) TO DO THE BATTLE .
LET GITHONGO SPILL MORE BEANS AND IF POSSIBLE MAIZE.
koigi should stop playing sycophancy(TRIBAL) and own up that this gover is lost and ROTTEN.
IT IS MY PRAYER THAT GOD HAS MERCY ON KENYA,MAY HE LEAD THE RIGHTOUS TO A NEW GOVT JUST AS HE DID TO LOT'S FAMILY and let the sycophants to roast in LEASED FIRE FROM ANGLO IN AGOLDEN BAG2/20/2006 06:42:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|NMG supposed expose is a weak attempt at boosting it's sagging bottomline. Rumors in financial circles forecast poor results resulting from kenyans boycott of NMG hot selling daily product.The boycott was as a result mainstream kenyans disillusionment with the pro-banana stance that the NMG took (remember that sweet young girl on the front-page on voting day??...). The expose of anglo leasing saga was a measure aimed at stopping the slide of earnings. Keep them where they belong !3/19/2006 11:20:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|I agree with you on kibaki and his cohorts but ought to be sincere.There are many poor kikuyus. The rich Phillip and Gideon Moi aren't the hardest working brothers in Kenya ok! Its not about tribes its about a certain class of Kenyans conning the rest of the country.You wont make a milion simply because one from your tribe is in power.1/24/2006 11:01:00 pm|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|
January 22, 2006 Sermons Edition
By John Piper

Luke 10:25-37
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" 27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two Denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, "Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back." 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
God has commanded us in his word, "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13). And he told us why. He said in Genesis 9:6, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image." In other words, when you murder a human, you attack God who makes every human in his image. This is the fundamental mistake that Princeton professor Peter Singer makes when he argues that (quoting Richard John Neuhaus, who debated Singer) "the life of an adult pig deserves protection more than that of a new born human baby, and . . . the parents should be free to kill their young children already born if they deem them unacceptably disabled."1 The reason he is wrong is that the human baby is created in the image of God, and the pig isn't. The psalmist describes how God is personally and meticulously involved in the creation of each person in the womb: "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well" (Psalm 139:13-14). And lest we think that somehow the children in the womb are not children, not human, not persons. God lets us read the words of the angel in Luke 1:15 to Zechariah concerning John the Baptist, "He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb," so that a few verses later his pregnant mother said to Mary, "Behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy" (Luke 1:44). And when we have heard all these things, God says to us in America in the 21st century stained with the blood of millions of unborn babies, these words from Proverbs 24:11-12, "Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, "Behold, we did not know this, does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? What work? The work of mercy, the work of justice, the work of caring for the oppressed and defending the unborn. The good work of loving the unborn. Why after all did Jesus Christ come to redeem us from our sin and guilt? Paul tells us in Titus 2:14, "He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Among which is the glorious work of laboring and defending our unborn neighbor. January 22 is the 33rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision called Roe vs. Wade. That decree that made abortion legal in our country all the way up to birth, if the health of the mother is at stake; and the health of the mother has been construed to mean any discomfort that would come from an unwanted pregnancy. So what we have had for 33 years is virtually abortion on demand. In that time, the lives of 46 million unborn children have been ended by abortion in the United States. Women's Issues web site estimates that worldwide that same number of abortions happen each year.

Abortion Closer to Home

The parable of the Good Samaritan, among other things, presses us from the global to the local. So let's take a step closer to home. Since 1973 in our state, Minnesota, the lives of 490,000 unborn children have been ended by abortion. In 2004 there were 13,788 abortions in this state. (As tragic and as horrifying as that is, there is an encouraging side because this is the lowest number since 1975.) But the parable of the Good Samaritan would press us still closer to home. Almost all the abortions in Minnesota are done here in the Twin Cities in five local clinics. I want to give you a glimpse into these clinics and then turn to the parable of the Good Samaritan and then come back to them at the end with a dream. 1. Midwest Health Center for Women is located downtown Minneapolis at 33 South Fifth Street, 4th Floor, Minneapolis, Minn., 55402. On their web site they state openly that they provide about 3,000 of those abortions each year and advocate for the sexual freedom that makes many of them feel so necessary.
Midwest Health Center for Women provides quality health care and advocates and promotes reproductive freedom and healthy sexuality. . . . Annually, Midwest provides abortion services for 3,000 patients. . . . We also seek to expand public awareness and gather support for reproductive rights and health care. As an abortion provider we are prepared for a long political battle over reproductive rights. Continued attacks from the anti-choice minority threaten access to this legal and safe procedure through legislative action and regulatory burdens. For example, the so-called "Women's Right to Know" which became Minnesota law in 2003 added $80,000 annually to the clinic's operating budget.
2. Meadowbrook Women's Clinic is located four blocks from our downtown campus at 825 South 8th Street, Suite 1018, Minneapolis, Minn., 55404. Here are a couple glimpses into their work. Question from their FAQ section: "Q: How long will the abortion take? A: If you are less than 14 weeks, the abortion will take approximately 5 to 10 minutes. If you are 14 to 21.6 weeks, the length of time will be somewhat longer (20 to 30 minutes)." Twenty-one and a half weeks? Do you know what that baby looks like and experiences? He or she is about 11 inches long and weighs about a pound and is within two or three weeks of being able to live outside the womb. Steve Calvin, who works in the neonatal unit at Abbott hospital wrote in the Minneapolis StarTribune
Recently, I performed an amniocentesis on a patient at 21 weeks gestation because of a possible infection. On ultrasound, the fetus pulled away from the needle when it grazed her arm. It is clear to me that this fetus felt discomfort, and that she would feel horrible pain if she were dismembered in the exercise of an unjust constitutional right.2
The dismembering of a human being routinely in 30 minutes on an outpatient bases - or any other way - is barbaric. Four blocks from our church all year long, like churches within smelling distance of Auschwitz or Dachau or Buchenwald. 3. Robbinsdale Clinic, 3819 West Broadway, Robbinsdale, Minn., 55422. They strike a defensive political posture at their web site:
It is the responsibility of all American women and their families to work to keep abortion safe and legal by voting for Pro-Choice officials, and working with various organizations to ensure this basic fundamental right of reproductive freedom. Please remember, while over 70% of Americans believe in the right to choose, a small but vocal minority of narrow-minded anti-abortion forces, could make a major impact on the threat to women's rights.
4. Mildred S. Hanson, M.D, 710 East 24th Street, Suite 403, Minneapolis, Minn., 55404. The web site calls her a "Late Abortion Specialist" and then boasts in this distinction: "First and second trimester abortions by a woman gynecologist, the first physician in Minnesota to perform the second trimester D&E procedure." The business side is clear and simple at her site:
Fees for Office Abortions Through 20 Weeks
5-6 weeks $475
7-10.5 weeks $420
11-12 weeks $515
13-14 weeks $615
15th week $820
16th week $920
17-18 weeks $1,070
18-19.4 weeks $1,320
19-20 weeks $1,520
5. Planned Parenthood, Highland Park Clinic, 1965 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, Minn., 55116. Out of the 13,000+ abortions done in Minnesota each year about 23% are done at Planned Parenthood. Their web site describes how caring this is: "With many years of experience, our physicians and staff provide caring, confidential, and affordable abortion services." That's the reality of abortion fairly close to home. Of course even closer are the abortions you have experienced personally: your girlfriend, your wife, your daughter, your granddaughter, yourself. Jesus hates abortion and he loves you. When you feel both of these truths the way he wants you to, you will weep with brokenhearted joy. I know women in this church who have walked through it, been broken by it, and emerged strong in the Lord and in the cause of life. Be patient with your healing. Your time for courage in the cause of life will come.

Who is my Neighbor?

O how many things we could observe from the parable of the Good Samaritan! But I have one main observation to make and apply to our situation. The parable begins with a lawyer trying to justify himself by asking the question "Who is my neighbor" (in verse 29), and ends with Jesus' question in verse 36, "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor?" Ten sermons could be preached on ten different issues raised by this parable. But I want you to see this one crucial thing: Jesus tells a story that changes the question from What kind of person is my neighbor? to What kind of person am I? He changes the question from What status of people are worthy of my love? to How can I become the kind of person whose compassion disregards status? Let's make sure we see this and then apply it. A lawyer asks in verse 25 about how to inherit eternal life. He is not sincere. It says he is testing Jesus. Jesus puts the question back to him in verse 26 to reveal the duplicity. What does the Law say? He answers in verse 27 that we should love God will all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus exposes him by saying in effect: So you already know the answer. He sees that he has been exposed and needs to cover up his hypocrisy and so verse 29 says, "Desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'" In other words, it's not so easy, Jesus. Life is complicated, like, which kind of people do we have to love? Who qualifies for being a neighbor in the command, "Love your neighbor"? Every race? Every age. The unborn? Now how will Jesus answer? He does not like this question. Carving humanity up into groups some of whom are worthy of our love and others are not. Jesus does not answer the question, "Who is my neighbor?" He tells a parable that changes the question.

Jesus Shifts the Focus

Between Jerusalem and Jericho a man falls among robbers and verse 30 says they "stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead." The first two people to pass by are a priest and a Levite, the most religious folks, and they both pass by on the other side (vv. 31, 32). Then came a Samaritan, not even a Jew, and the key phrase about this man is at the end of verse 33: "he had compassion." You see how the focus has shifted. The question about what kind of man is dying is not even in the story any more. The whole focus is now on the kind of people who are walking by. The first two felt no compassion. The Samaritan was a different kind of person. So when you get to the end, what's the question Jesus asks? Was it, "So was the wounded man a neighbor?" No. That is not the question. Jesus asked the lawyer (v. 36), "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" The lawyer said in verse 37, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." No answer to his question: Who is my neighbor? Instead: Go become a new kind of person. Go get a compassionate heart. This is exactly what Jesus died for. This is the promise of the new covenant in Ezekiel 36:26, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." And Jesus said at the last supper, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (Luke 22:20). Those who follow Jesus all the way to the cross will see him there paying for their new heart.

What Kind of Person Am I?

So the point I believe I should make about abortion is this: When all the arguments are said and done about the status of pre-born human life and whether the unborn qualify for our compassion along with mommy and daddy and grandma and granddaddy, when we are done trying to establish, "Is this my neighbor?" - the decisive issue of love remains: What kind of person am I? Does compassion rise in my heart for both mommy and daddy and grandma and granddaddy and this unborn baby? Or do I just get another coke and change the channel? Look at the practical compassion, the concrete, hands-on, get-messy compassion of verses 34-35. This is a huge part of the parable. Jesus belabors this to drive something home about the kind of person who follows him. Here it is (vv.34-35):
He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two Denarii [two days wages, maybe $300] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, "Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back."
That is amazing!

A Heart of Compassion

My prayer for us in response to this message is that we become like that. A heart of compassion leading to hands-on, messy, sacrificial, time-consuming, stressful action. I believe there is something everyone can do in the cause of defending and protecting and loving everyone involved in abortion. Which takes us back to Midwest Health Center for Women, and Meadowbrook Women's Clinic, and Robbinsdale Clinic, and Mildred Hanson, and Planned Parenthood. The people who own and operate and work there are real people. Above all, they need Christ. What might God be pleased to do if 4,000 concerned Christians committed ourselves to pray daily that Christ would manifest his saving grace in those places? What divine encounters of compassionate involvement might God create? Let there be no violence from our side. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. If the owners and administrators and employees of these five clinics met the living Christ and were saved, would abortion be offered in Minnesota any longer? There is more that you can do. But this much I ask you to do. Pray regularly that the owners, administrators, and employees of Midwest Health Center for Women, Meadowbrook Women's Clinic, Robbinsdale Clinic, Mildred Hanson, and Planned Parenthood would be saved.

Footnotes

1 Richard John Neuhaus, "While We're at It" in First Things (January, 2006, Issue 159), 74.
2 Steve Calvin, "Think Fetuses Can't Feel Pain? Try Telling Them That" (Minneapolis StarTribune, August 30, 2005).
|W|P|113813288678964117|W|P|Love Your Unborn Neighbor|W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com12/16/2012 02:50:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Its liκe you read my mind! Yоu seem to knoω а lot аbout this, like you wrote the
bοoκ in it or ѕomething. I thinκ that you
could do ωith some piсs to drive the message hοme a lіttle
bit, but othег than that, thіs is fantastic blog.

A great гeаԁ. I will certainly be back.
My weblog - how can i make him love me1/24/2006 04:27:00 pm|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|
I salute J. Pronk - Koffi Annan's right-hand man in the Sudan - for spearheading succesful efforts to bar Khartoum from leading the African Union at this moment in time. 
Up to and until yesterday, Khartoum was still boasting about the "unanimous" backing it had received from ALL East African states for its candidature.
After all, it was said, this was to have been East Africa's chance to lead the AU. 
The Idi Amin skeleton as well as other political and human rights realities in the Sudan should have awakened these unnamed East African nations and Khartoum's Northern supporters from their conveniently self-induced slumber.   
I find it particularly disturbing that Nairobi had reportedly pledged its support for Khartoum's candidature; inconceivable even for a strategy to contain anyone (consider the always not-too-succesful attempt by some Kenyan head-teachers to "change" their errant students by bribing them with leadership responsibilities). 
What national interest were we defending / pursuing by backing Omar El-Bashir when:
1.  Darfur's hungry, wounded and dying are still blaming him for their abject conditions?
2.  Tchad faces possible instability from militia forces that are reportedly backed by Khartoum?
3.  The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA Khartoum signed with the South remains nothing but a beautiful document thus far with less to write home about? 
4.  The LRA continues to wreck havoc in Northern Uganda and S. Sudan, reportedly backed by Khartoum? 
A few months ago a dear friend of mine succumbed to a deadly LRA attack - I shivered each moment I heard Khartoum was headed to African supremacy with such an event so fresh in my mind.       
Preliminary reports suggest that the rest of Africa united against the Eastern and Northern alliance:  What regional interest were Kampala, Dodoma and Nairobi pursuing for their people?
P.S:  Amazing, isn't it, that Nairobi could recall its ambassador to Khartoum for reportedly helping Sudan invite Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka to the AU meeting (alongside Kibaki) yet it couldn't move an inch while Darfur burned.  We, alongside much of Africa, left that to the Bush administration and religious conservatives in the US.  "Non-interference in each other's internal affairs" indeed.  Never mind that Musyoka probably should have been in Khartoum, given his involvement in several regional peace processes (the CPA included).  That's kumalizana gone too far.


Yahoo! Photos – NEW, now offering a quality print service from just 8p a photo.|W|P|113810927081398498|W|P|Sudan & the AU: A fitting end to the "East-African" affair|W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com1/24/2006 08:34:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous jikz|W|P|Jesse

I'm glad too that this ridiculous circus ended. I'm not very happy though about the alternative, Congo is barely different from the Sudan. I was particularly disgusted that our Government came out strongly supporting the Sudan; the only African country to do so openly. What's wrong with our diplomacy!! Is our foreign service really worth writing home about? Some people might want to squirm in front of the Sudan to grant their cronies those potential lucrative business opportunities but, please, spare Kenyans from such international ridicule. Tuju is a DISGRACE!1/24/2006 08:47:00 pm|W|P|Blogger Kenyananalyst|W|P|Jikz -

You should know that I don't endorse Congo whole-heartedly either; Dennis Sassou Nguesso is only different in name (though there are those who argue that Brazzavile is lesser of the two evils).

My differences with Khartoum are both diplomatic (at a policy level, as illustrated by the regime's human rights' record) as well as personal.

Personal because a dear buddy of mine was killed by the LRA in S. Sudan some time back.

The buddy passed on just a few months into family life - leaving a young, grieving family behind.

For that, I won't go easy on anyone who will try to make a little Heaven down here for Kony or anyone who - directly or indirectly - supports him (read Bashir et al).

That will also apply to Nairobi - if they continue playing ball with Khartoum over this.

After all, foreign policies should be about national interests, and national interests should be about people.

P.S: This is in no way a blind endorsement of M7's politics of war in Uganda in so far as the LRA issue is concerned.1/24/2006 02:59:00 pm|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|
By some credible accounts, the Israelis have given Kenyan rescuers a good shot in the arm at this difficult moment for many families. 
"A specialist 140-strong Israeli team with sniffer dogs and specialised heavy rescue equipment is now in Nairobi helping with the rescue effort," says the BBC (at a time when our military was reportedly complaining about a lack of lighting and basic equipment like crowbars and hammers).    
The Israelis are the same guys who, in the aftermath of the 1998 bomb blast at the US embassy in Nairobi, reportedly chided the powers-that-be for allowing then-President Moi to visit the site a little "too early" after the fact. 
Sources told Kenyananalyst the Israelis were concerned Moi could have easily fallen victim to multiple-timed-bombing (a common tactic in the troubled Middle East) had the bombers planned for such.
Their timely response and impressive input at this hour should remind us all of the enduring legacy of the Israeli story down the ages and their resilience in the murk of survivalist politics in the ever fractious Middle East. 
Love or hate them, you have to give it to the Jews!
 


To help you stay safe and secure online, we've developed the all new Yahoo! Security Centre.|W|P|113810394577241474|W|P|Nairobi building tragedy: Love or hate them, you have to give it to the Jews!|W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com1/23/2006 11:33:00 am|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|
By TITO WAMBUA
 
When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have ost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and call it Pluralism.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Amen!"

The response was immediate.
 
A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest.

In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively.

The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa and Korea. Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, "The Rest of the Story," and received a
larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called "one nation under God."

"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for everything."

Think about this: If you forward this prayer to everyone on your e-mail
list, in less than 30 days it would be heard by the world.


To help you stay safe and secure online, we've developed the all new Yahoo! Security Centre.|W|P|113800523411133064|W|P|Fellow Kenyans, I'm asking for prayer for our nation!|W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com1/23/2006 03:58:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|This is a powerfull prayer. Our country surely needs prayers.

Victor Komanyo1/23/2006 11:01:00 am|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|The Fourth Estate in our country is one of the most robust on the continent yet also one that still leaves a lot to be desired.
Consider the dramatic angling of the various sections of the mainstream media on the Anglo-Leasing story; it's amazing, isn't it, how some of them continue to undergo Pauline conversions in the manner they handle stories (shifting alliances every now and then). 
There's that thing called public interest and human interest stories, but I'm hard-placed to find anything close to that in our media products....much of the time at least....since December 2002. 
Only media-literate Kenyans might be in a position to see through the facade and realize that everyone from the civil society, the clergy to the media abandoned them the moment the Third Republic emerged. 
Now there's a new election in the horizon and everyone is busy currying favour with you and me. 
 


Yahoo! Messenger NEW - crystal clear PC to PC calling worldwide with voicemail |W|P|113800330337599442|W|P|All hail the Fourth Estate but...|W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com1/23/2006 10:56:00 am|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|
"Mad" reactions from Kenyans would be an understatement.
There's no proper adjective to aptly describe this betrayal of the country by the high and mighty (if the "due process" they are always vibing about finally gets to vindicate public opinion against them). 
A few months ago, Gado (the Nation cartoonist) toyed with the idea of a Kenyan movie being made following the Goldenberg hearings ("Diamonds Forever," I think, would be the title). 
I'm suggesting a sequel - "The Ghosts of Anglo Forever."
There would be no need to audition anyone for anything on the set, would there?
Once again, I'm asking the govt-appointed and Mutava-led Anti-Corruption Steering Committee to close shop. 


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By ZAKAYO MWANGI
 
President Mwai Kibaki has been taunted as a lame-duck president by numerous columnists in the Kenyan media and has not been spared either by the political elite who campaigned for him in the 2002 elections.
Kenyans have not spared the President either after his failure to deliver on the 500,000 thousand jobs a year.
Led by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) luminaries and the "Young Turks" from the Mt. Kenya region, Kenyans are now blaming the President for lack of political development in the country.
But what has brought Kibaki's scale down the most after the famous "Kibaki tosha" in 2002 by Kenya's political kingmaker Raila Odinga?
Kibaki has been blamed for dining and wining with the old guards who, politically, rate nowhere near the likes of Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka or even the Young Turks from Central Kenya.
According to the public court of opinion, the likes of Nat Kangethe, Joe Wanjui, George Muhoho together with the other old guards in the kitchen cabinet John Michuki and Njenga Karume have been a stumbling block to other politicains who campaigned for the President in 2002.
But the one million dollar question is, will Kibaki survive the 2007 elections if he offers himself for the presidency alongside the likes of Uhuru Kenyatta, Odinga, William Ruto, Musikari Kombo and Musyoka?
After the 2002 elections, Kibaki's road to State House in 2007 started to narrow after he failed to honour the much-publicized Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Supporters of the "Kibaki tosha" declaration started to revolt and alienate themselves from Kibaki, pulling their supporters along in the anti-Kibaki bandwagon.
The LDP luminaries started to cite political frustrations from the Mt. Kenya mafia in the likes of Kiraitu Murungi and Christopher Murungaru. According to them, State House access was hard to come by as they were seen as removable stains in Kibaki's white-as-snow government.
The "Government Project" (constitution) was another set-back as the Narc "party" disintegrated into factions aided by the arrogance of some of his close ministers, some of whom vowed  to splash  taxpayers' cash to shake every corner of the country, some too desperately trying to hijack the constitution. 
In the comfort of State House, Kibaki failed to read the mood of the people even after intelligence reports showed clearly that the Orange movement was in the lead.
After the massive defeat in the referendum which was seen as a vote against Kibaki and not against the constitution, the man taunted as Kenya's economic healer started to lose clout.
Even in Central Province where they overwhelmingly voted for him, Kenyans started to blame Kibaki's political advisers and associates but as analysts would say, the buck stopped with the President himself.
The age factor is another odd playing against Kibaki in his bid for State House in 2 years' time (assuming he overcomes the Anglo-Leasing affair and a hostile Parliament).
After the famous declaration by former President Daniel Arap Moi that it was time for the young people to take over, the statement has continued to linger in people's mind in their political choices. 
For the longest serving Member of Parliament (Kibaki) who his heading to his political sunset, political analysts rate him nowhere near the likes of Musyoka, Kenyatta and Mudavadi who are seen as the bridge between the old and the young in Kenyan politics.
After the dissolution of the cabinet, Kibaki was seen to have stumped his authority and taken charge of the country.
People saw it as a good gesture where they hoped new blood and competent people would be brought in while those who had been perceived to be corrupt, arrogant and ineffective would be chased away.
After the cabinet was reconstituted, a "we have been duped" facial expression was evident on people's faces where it fell below expectation.
Though Kibaki had very few alternatives to pick from, coupled by the arrogance of the ODM members, people felt he would have done more.
If Kibaki was to vie in 2007 only a miraculous change in politics in the next two years would make him go back to State House.
Though he cannot be written off, Kibaki has a rough time as he tries to balance his political equation in his come-back to "Korogocho" to solicit for votes en-route to State House. 
 
The Writer is a Communication graduate from Daystar University.


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Kivutha is in his right, sound mind while writing all that he already has.
Vintage Kivutha remains as incisive as he always has been in his previously published works (mostly on law and politics in East Africa). 
Kivutha is doing what we call "baloon-testing" in media and public opinion studies.
The late Shariff Nassir was adept at this for Moi, Kajwang does it for Raila and Ehud Olmert did it for Ariel Sharon, just to name but a few.
Probably he is acting alone; probably he's acting on behalf of Ngilu / President Kibaki; and probably he is acting in concert with Kalonzo himself. 
The goal often is to test the waters as a preamble to engaging public opinion in some definite way, depending on prevailing / emerging circumstances.
In a large way, this often forms the basis for initial steps towards "public diplomacy" - though propaganda would appear to be the most appropriate word in the circumstances. 
Often, a story is "planted" in the media (mainstream or gutter) to get the conversation going.
The intrinsic value of political communication will bear its weight on the gutter and mainstream media as the General Elections near.   
Grasping this will save all of us from much heart-ache with each other as the days go by. 


Yahoo! Messenger NEW - crystal clear PC to PC calling worldwide with voicemail |W|P|113786873629258877|W|P|Kivutha post-script|W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com1/19/2006 09:56:00 am|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|
In an op-ed piece in today's Daily Nation, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, conveniently and selectively so, overlooks the possibility that Raila and Kalonzo could actually share the ticket (one as a candidate and the other as a running mate) while alloting the PM and associated positions to the other interest-groups; thereby dealing a blow to whatever plan by other players on the scene.
To even suggest that Narc still enjoys nation-wide popularity that could safely be carried into 2007 is laughable, to say the least (I honestly wonder why he would still want to be Narc's hatchetman when everyone else is jumping ship).
Professor, wake up and smell the coffee!


To help you stay safe and secure online, we've developed the all new Yahoo! Security Centre.|W|P|113765379470745798|W|P|Prof., wake up and smell the coffee!|W|P|jesse.masai@gmail.com1/19/2006 10:36:00 am|W|P|Blogger bankelele|W|P|Either he dreams about Kalonzo or someone reminded him that he was appointed as minister with a view to taking on Kalonzo - and so he penned this mysterious piece.2/09/2006 03:46:00 pm|W|P|Anonymous phillipo|W|P|wonders will never cease.Kivutha is such asycophant that not even the devil can accept to trust him after watching his antics on the political scene. yani akitosheka yote ni sawa.1/18/2006 11:00:00 pm|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|
Most bi-partisan indeed.
I think the Democrats here may be overplaying their hands (with the "it-wasn't-us" mantra), but the G.O.P sure has an uphill task here.
November won't be easy for them.
Trust the Dems to rub that in.


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Look for the GOP to try and get in front of this with a large and substantive lobbying reform. Also, there's a quite intense race being run right now to replace Tom Delay as majority leader, and that could have an effect as well. I suspect that the new majority leader will do his best to distance himself from the previous ethics scandals.1/16/2006 08:17:00 pm|W|P|Kenyananalyst|W|P|
By MICHAEL RUBIN
Wall Street Journal
January 16, 2006
http://www.meforum.org/article/889
On Friday, George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood together in the White House to condemn Iran. "Iran, armed with a nuclear weapon, poses a grave threat to the security of the world," Mr. Bush said. "We will not be intimidated," Ms. Merkel added. The press conference marks a turning point in a decade-long saga. Europe's engagement with Iran has failed. While Iranian diplomats met with their British, French and German counterparts in Vienna and Geneva, Iranian technicians toiled to ready Iran's uranium enrichment capability. European officials discussed a China model for Iran, in which they could use trade to catalyze political liberalization. Between 2000 and 2005, EU trade with the Islamic Republic almost tripled. But rather than moderate, Iranian authorities used the hard currency to enhance their military. They built secret nuclear facilities and blocked inspections. They failed to explain why there were traces of weapons-grade uranium on Iranian centrifuges, and refused to detail what assistance Tehran received from Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan. On Sept. 24, 2005, the International Atomic Energy Agency declared Iran to be in non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty's Safeguards Agreement.
Still, diplomats and doves hold out hope. After a Jan. 12 phone conversation with Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Kofi Annan assured reporters that Tehran was interested in "serious and constructive negotiations." As Mr. Bush met Ms. Merkel, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC that military action was "not on the agenda" and insisted that the crisis "can only be resolved by peaceful means." But while Mr. Bush and his European allies may agree to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, traditional diplomacy will not work for a simple reason: Iran's quest for nuclear weapons has nothing to do with the U.S. or Europe. The crisis with Tehran is ideological, not political.

* * *

Destruction of Israel is a pillar of the Islamic Republic's ideology. Soon after leading the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared, "Every Muslim has a duty to prepare himself for battle against Israel." President Ahmadinejad's recent Holocaust-denial and call for Israel to be "wiped off the map," may have shocked Europe, but his statements mark only a change in rhetorical style, not ideological substance. When it comes to Israel, there is no difference between hard-liners and reformers. While Mr. Annan honored Mohammad Khatami for his Dialogue of Civilizations, the reformist president's instructions to the Iranian people were less high-minded. "We should mobilize the whole Islamic World for a sharp confrontation with the Zionist regime," he told Iranian TV on Oct. 24, 2000. "If we abide by the Qur'an, all of us should mobilize to kill." In a Dec. 14, 2001 sermon, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, perhaps the second most powerful man in Iran and one often described as a pragmatist by Western officials and journalists alike, declared, "The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything… It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality." During a Sept. 22, 2003 military parade, authorities displayed a Shihab-3 missile draped with a banner reading, "Israel must be uprooted and erased from history."
The ideological venom of their leaders carries little weight among the people. While the Iran-Iraq War killed hundreds of thousands, Iran and Israel have never exchanged a single shot. Many Iranians express pride that Israeli president Moshe Katsav was born in Iran. Indeed, the real ire of ordinary Iranians is expressed toward their government, not the outside world. In a 2002 labor protest, workers demanding back pay marched through Tehran, chanting, "Forget about Palestine and think about us."
Iran's youth want no more to live under theocracy than do Americans or Europeans. Iran Institute for Democracy telephone polls sampling opinion in every Tehran neighborhood suggest that 80% of the population have lost faith in the Islamic Republic. The Iranian people have little say in their leadership. The Supreme Leader wields autocratic power and reigns for life. The Guardian Council selects who can run for office. Before the 2005 elections, this clerical council disqualified more than 1,000 candidates, allowing the public to choose from only eight, all of whom endorsed theocracy and opposed far-reaching reform. Ordinary Iranians ignore the sham: While the Iranian government claims 50% voter turnout, Iranian pilgrims in Iraq say it was less than 20%. Contrast that with Iraq, where 70% of the population braves bombs and bullets to vote.
The Iranian religious leadership recognizes that demography is against them. Reform is a slippery slope, democracy a theocrat's hemlock. For the Ayatollahs, there can be no Orange, Rose, or Cedar Revolutions. Popular will is irrelevant. Legitimacy comes not from the people, but from God as channeled through a cabal of religious leaders. While Western analysts divide Iran's politicians into hard-liners and reformists, the difference is one of style, not belief. Take Mr. Khatami: Viewed by diplomats as a reformer, he nevertheless demonstrated disdain for popular sovereignty. "Knowledge of God's commandment must be the foundation of … life," he wrote in the state-run daily Kayhan. "People are not able to comprehend God's will through the explanations contained in the Quran and Sunna. Acquiring such comprehension requires several years of studies and much effort." Democracy is fine, but only clerics should be able to participate fully. Khomeini's successor and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called liberal democracy "the source of all human torment."
Such statements ring hollow among the Iranian people. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Iran's constitutional revolution. Many people wonder why they no longer have today rights they had a century ago. Since the 1999 student protests, they have taken to the streets with increasing frequency to demand real reform. Iranians are losing their fear of the Islamic authorities. State control is eroding. Televised confessions once broke dissidents, now they build them. A stint in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison has become a badge of honor. Last summer, dissident author Akbar Ganji shook the Islamic Republic with a two-month hunger strike that captivated his countrymen. "I have become the symbol of justice in the face of tyranny," he wrote from prison, "my emaciated body exposing the contradictions of a government which has reversed justice and tyranny."
The ideological guardians can suppress wildfires of dissent, but Iran remains a tinderbox. Demography pours fuel on the fire. The leadership is following a different China model: Only with a nuclear deterrent can the ayatollahs launch the Cultural Revolution that will ensure their survival without fear of outside interference. The Revolutionary Guards are preparing for not one, but dozens of Tiananmen Squares.
As they cleanse their home front, the theocrats may use their nuclear capability to act upon their ideological imperative to destroy Israel. The West once ignored Saddam Hussein's threats against Kuwait. But dictators often mean what they say. Even if Iran does not use its bomb, a nuclear deterrent will enable it to lash out conventionally without fear of consequence.
Diplomacy can only work when both sides are sincere. Like an abused spouse, Western policy makers blame themselves rather than understand the fault is not theirs. There is no magic formula waiting to be discovered. To Tehran, the West is naïve. More diplomacy will only give the Islamic Republic time to achieve its nuclear goal. The only solutions that can rectify the problem are those that deny the Islamic Republic its nuclear arsenal or those that enable Iranians to cast aside theocracy and its aggressive ideology and instead embrace freedom.
Mr. Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is co-author, with Patrick Clawson, of "Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos" (Palgrave, 2005).


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1 September 1958
New York, N.Y.
This shortened version of chapter six of Stride Toward Freedom appeared in the September issue of Fellowship. In it, King traces the philosophical and theological underpinnings of his commitment to nonviolence, stating that "Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale." King affirms his conviction that nonviolent resistance is "one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their quest for social justice."
Explaining that he "neither started" the Montgomery bus boycott "nor suggested it," King concludes: "Living through the actual experience of the protest, nonviolence became more than a method to which I gave intellectual assent; it became a commitment to a way of life." King includes a discussion of communism's relationship to Christianity, which borrows both ideas and phrasing from an essay by Robert McCracken, minister at New York's Riverside Church.
Often the question has arisen concerning my own intellectual pilgrimage to nonviolence. In order to get at this question it is necessary to go back to my early teens in Atlanta. I had grown up abhorring not only segregation but also the oppressive and barbarous acts that grew out of it. I had passed spots where Negroes had been savagely lynched, and had watched the Ku Klux Klan on its rides at night. I had seen police brutality with my own eyes, and watched Negroes receive the most tragic injustice in the courts. All of these things had done something to my growing personality. I had come perilously close to resenting all white people.
 
I had also learned that the inseparable twin of racial injustice was economic injustice. Although I came from a home of economic security and relative comfort, I could never get out of my mind the economic insecurity of many of my playmates and the tragic poverty of those living around me. During my late teens I worked two summers, against my father's wishes--he never wanted my brother and me to work around white people because of the oppressive conditions--in a plant that hired both Negroes and whites. Here I saw economic injustice firsthand, and realized that the poor white was exploited just as much as the Negro. Through these early experiences I grew up deeply conscious of the varieties of injustice in our society.
 
So when I went to Atlanta's Morehouse College as a freshman in 1944 my concern for racial and economic justice was already substantial. During my student days at Morehouse I read Thoreau=s Essay on Civil Disobedience for the first time. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times. This was my first intellectual contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance.
 
Not until I entered Crozer Theological Seminary in 1948, however, did I begin a serious intellectual quest for a method to eliminate social evil. Although my major interest was in the fields of theology and philosophy, I spent a great deal of time reading the works of the great social philosophers. I came early to Walter Rauschenbusch's Christianity and the Social Crisis, which left an indelible imprint on my thinking by giving me a theological basis for the social concern which had already grown up in me as a result of my early experiences. Of course there were points at which I differed with Rauschenbusch. I felt that he had fallen victim to the nineteenth-century "cult of inevitable progress" which led him to a superficial optimism concerning man's nature. Moreover, he came perilously close to identifying the Kingdom of God with a particular social and economic system--a tendency which should never befall the Church. But in spite of these shortcomings Rauschenbusch had done a great service for the Christian Church by insisting that the gospel deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body; not only his spiritual well-being but his material well-being. It has been my conviction ever since reading Rauschenbusch that any religon which professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the social and economic conditions that scar the soul, is a spiritually moribund religion only waiting for the day to be buried. It well has been said: "A religion that ends with the individual, ends."
 
After reading Rauschenbusch, I turned to a serious study of the social and ethical theories of the great philosophers, from Plato and Aristotle down to Rousseau, Hobbes, Bentham, Mill, and Locke. All of these masters stimulated my thinking--such as it was--and, while finding things to question in each of them, I nevertheless learned a great deal from their study.
 
The Challenge of Marxism
During the Christmas holidays of 1949 I decided to spend my spare time reading Karl Marx to try to understand the appeal of communism for many people. For the first time I carefully scrutinized Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto. I also read some interpretive works on the thinking of Marx and Lenin. In reading such Communist writings I drew certain conclusions that have remained with me to this day.
 
First I rejected their materialistic interpretation of history. Communism, avowedly secularistic and materialistic, has no place for God. This I could never accept, for as a Christian I believe that there is a creative personal power in this universe who is the ground and essence of all reality--a power that cannot be explained in materialistic terms. History is ultimately guided by spirit, not matter.
 
Second, I strongly disagreed with communism's ethical relativism. Since for the Communist there is no divine government, no absolute moral order, there are no fixed, immutable principles; consequently almost anything--force, violence, murder, lying--is a justifiable means to the "millennial" end. This type of relativism was abhorrent to me. Constructive ends can never give absolute moral justification to destructive means, because in the final analysis the end is preexistent in the mean.
 
Third, I opposed communism"s political totalitarianism. ln communism the individual ends up in subjection to the state. True, the Marxist would argue that the state is an "interim" reality which is to be eliminated when the classless society emerges; but the state is the end while it lasts, and man only a means to that end. And if any man's so-called rights or liberties stand in the way of that end, they are simply swept aside. His liberties of expression, his freedom to vote, his freedom to listen to what news he likes or to choose his books are all restricted. Man becomes hardly more, in communism, than a depersonalized cog in the turning wheel of the state.
 
This deprecation of individual freedom was objectionable to me. I am convinced now, as I was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God. Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself.
 
Yet, in spite of the fact that my response to communism was and is negative, and I considered it basically evil, there were points at which I found it challenging. The late Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, referred to communism as a Christian heresy. By this he meant that communism had laid hold of certain truths which are essential parts of the Christian view of things, but that it had bound up with them concepts and practices which no Christian could ever accept or profess. Communism challenged the late Archbishop and it should challenge every Christian--as it challenged me--to a growing concern about social justice. With all of its false assumptions and evil methods, communism grew as a protest against the hardships of the underprivileged. Communism in theory emphasized a classless society, and a concern for social justice, though the world knows from sad experience that in practice it created new classes and a new lexicon of injustice. The Christian ought always to be challenged by any protest against unfair treatment of the poor, for Christianity is itself such a protest, nowhere expressed more eloquently than in Jesus's words: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
 
I also sought systematic answers to Marx's critique of modern bourgeois culture. He presented capitalism as essentially a struggle between the owners of the productive resources and the workers, whom Marx regarded as the real producers. Marx interpreted economic forces as the dialectical process by which society moved from feudalism through capitalism to socialism, with the primary mechanism of this historical movement being the struggle between economic classes whose interests were irreconcilable. Obviously this theory left out of account the numerous and significant complexities---political, economic, moral, religious, and psychological---which played a vital role in shaping the constellation of institutions and ideas known today as Western civilization. Moreover, it was dated in the sense that the capitalism Marx wrote about bore only a partial resemblance to the capitalism we know in this country today.
 
Toward a New Social Synthesis
But in spite of the shortcomings of his analysis, Marx had raised some basic questions. I was deeply concerned from my early teen days about the gulf between superfluous wealth and abject poverty, and my reading of Marx made me ever more conscious of this gulf. Although modern American capitalism had greatly reduced the gap through social reforms, there was still need for a better distribution of wealth. Moreover, Marx had revealed the danger of the profit motive as the sole basis of an economic system: capitalism is always in danger of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity--thus capitalism can lead to a practical materialism that is as pernicious as the materialism taught by communism.
 
In short, I read Marx as I read all of the influential historical thinkers--from a dialectical point of view, combining a partial "yes" and a partial "no." In so far as Marx posited a metaphysical materialism, an ethical relativism, and a strangulating totalitarianism, I responded with an unambiguous "no"; but in so far as he pointed to weaknesses of traditional capitalism, contributed to the growth of a definite self-consciousness in the masses, and challenged the social conscience of the Christian churches, I responded with a definite "yes."
 
My reading of Marx also convinced me that truth is found neither in Marxism nor in traditional capitalism. Each represents a partial truth. Historically capitalism failed to see the truth in collective enterprise, and Marxism failed to see the truth in individual enterprise. Nineteenth century capitalism failed to see that life is social and Marxism failed and still fails to see that life is individual and personal. The Kingdom of God is neither the thesis of individual enterprise nor the antithesis of collective enterprise, but a synthesis which reconciles the truths of both.
 
Muste, Nietzsche and Gandhi
During my stay at Crozer, I was also exposed for the first time to the pacifist position in a lecture by A. J. Muste. I was deeply moved by Mr. Muste's talk, but far from convinced of the practicability of his position. Like most of the students of Crozer, I felt that while war could never be a positive or absolute good, it could serve as a negative good in the sense of preventing the spread and growth of an evil force. War, horrible as it is, might be preferable to surrender to a totalitarian system--Nazi, Fascist, or Communist.
 
During this period I had about despaired of the power of love in solving social problems. Perhaps my faith in love was temporarily shaken by the philosophy of Nietzsche. I had been reading parts of The Genealogy of Morals and the whole of The Will to Power. Nietzsche=s glorification of power--in his theory all life expressed the will to power--was an outgrowth of his contempt for ordinary morals. He attacked the whole of the Hebraic-Christian moraIity--with its virtues of piety and humility, its other worldliness and its attitude toward suffering--as the glorification of weakness, as making virtues out of necessity and impotence. He looked to the development of a superman who would surpass man as man surpassed the ape.
 
Then one Sunday afternoon I traveled to Philadelphia to hear a sermon by Dr. Mordecai Johnson, president of Howard University. He was there to preach for the Fellowship House of Philadelphia. Dr. Johnson had just returned from a trip to India, and, to my great interest, he spoke of the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. His message was so profound and electrifying that I left the meeting and bought a half-dozen books on Gandhi's life and works.
 
Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance. I was particularly moved by the Salt March to the Sea and his numerous fasts. The whole concept of "Satyagraha" (Satya is truth which equals love, and agraha is force; "Satyagraha," therefore, means truth-force or love force) was profoundly significant to me. As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time its potency in the area of social reform. Prior to reading Gandhi, I had about concluded that the ethics of Jesus were only effective in individual relationship. The "turn the other cheek" philosophy and the "love your enemies" philosophy were only valid, I felt, when individuals were in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations were in conflict a more realistic approach seemed necessary. But after reading Gandhi, I saw how utterly mistaken I was.
 
Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. Love, for Gandhi, was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation. It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking for so many months. The intellectual and moral satisfaction that I failed to gain from the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill, the revolutionary methods of Marx and Lenin, the social-contracts theory of Hobbes, the "back to nature" optimism of Rousseau, the superman philosophy of Nietzsche, I found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi. I came to feel that this was the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.
 
An Encounter With Niebuhr
But my intellectual odyssey to nonviolence did not end here. During my last year in theological school, I began to read the works of Reinhold Niebuhr. The prophetic and realistic elements in Niebuhr's passionate style and profound thought were appealing to me, and I became so enamored of his social ethics that I almost fell into the trap of accepting uncritically everything he wrote.
 
About this time I read Niebuhr's critique of the pacifist position. Niebuhr had himself once been a member of the pacifist ranks. For several years, he had been national chairman of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.* His break with pacifism came in the early thirties, and the first full statement of his criticism of pacifism was in Moral Man and Immoral Society. Here he argued that there was no intrinsic moral difference between violent and nonviolent resistance. The social consequences of the two methods were different, he contended, but the differences were in degree rather than kind. Later Niebuhr began emphasizing the irresponsibility of relying on nonviolent resistance when there was no ground for believing that it would be successful in preventing the spread of totalitarian tyranny. It could only be successful, he argued, if the groups against whom the resistance was taking place had some degree of moral conscience, as was the case in Gandhi's struggle against the British. Niebuhr's ultimate rejection of pacifism was based primarily on the doctrine of man. He argued that pacifism failed to do justice to the reformation doctrine of justification by faith, substituting for it a sectarian perfectionism which believes "that divine grace actually lifts man out of the sinful contradictions of history and establishes him above the sins of the world."
At first, Niebuhr's critique of pacifism left me in a state of confusion. As I continued to read, however, I came to see more and more the shortcomings of his position. For instance, many of his statements revealed that he interpreted pacifism as a sort of passive nonresistance to evil expressing naive trust in the power of love. But this was a serious distortion. My study of Gandhi convinced me that true pacifism is not nonresistance to evil, but nonviolent resistance to evil. Between the two positions, there is a world of difference. Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigor and power as the violent resister, but he resisted with love instead of hate. True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power, as Niebuhr contends. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflicter of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart.
 
In spite of the fact that I found many things to be desired in Niebuhr's philosophy, there were several points at which he constructively influenced my thinking. Niebuhr's great contribution to contemporary theology is that he has refuted the false optimism characteristic of a great segment of Protestant liberalism, without falling into the anti-rationalism of the continental theologian Karl Barth, or the semi-fundamentalism of other dialectical theologians. Moreover, Niebuhr has extraordinary insight into human nature, especially the behavior of nations and social groups. He is keenly aware of the complexity of human motives and of the relation between morality and power. His theology is a persistent reminder of the reality of sin on every level of man's existence. These elements in Niebuhr's thinking helped me to recognize the illusions of a superficial optimism concerning human nature and the dangers of a false idealism. While I still believed in man=s potential for good, Niebuhr made me realize his potential for evil as well. Moreover, Niebuhr helped me to recognize the complexity of man=s social involvement and the glaring reality of collective evil.
 
Many pacifists, I felt, failed to see this. All too many had an unwarranted optimism concerning man and leaned unconsciously toward self-righteousness. It was my revolt against these attitudes under the influence of Niebuhr that accounts for the fact that in spite of my strong leaning toward pacifism, I never joined a pacifist organization. After reading Niebuhr, I tried to arrive at a realistic pacifism. In other words, I came to see the pacifist position not as sinless but as the lesser evil in the circumstances. I felt then, and I feel now, that the pacifist would have a greater appeal if he did not claim to be free from the moral dilemmas that the Christian nonpacifist confronts.
 
The next stage of my intellectual pilgrimage to nonviolence came during my doctoral studies at Boston University. Here I had the opportunity to talk to many exponents of nonviolence, both students and visitors to the campus. Boston University School of Theology, under the influence of Dean Walter Muelder and Professor Allen Knight Chalmers, had a deep sympathy for pacifism. Both Dean Muelder and Dr. Chalmers had a passion for social justice that stemmed, not from a superficial optimism, but from a deep faith in the possibilities of human beings when they allowed themselves to become co-workers with God. It was at Boston University that I came to see that Niebuhr had overemphasized the corruption of human nature. His pessimism concerning human nature was not balanced by an optimism concerning divine nature. He was so involved in diagnosing man's sickness of sin that he overlooked the cure of grace.
 
I studied philosophy and theology at Boston University under Edgar S. Brightman and L. Harold DeWolf. Both men greatly stimulated my thinking. It was mainly under these teachers that I studied personalistic philosophy--the theory that the clue to the meaning of ultimate reality is found in personality. This personal idealism remains today my basic philosophical position. Personalism=s insistence that only personality--finite and infinite--is ultimately real strengthened me in two convictions: it gave me metaphysical and philosophical grounding for the idea of a personal God, and it gave me a metaphysical basis for the dignity and worth of all human personality.
 
Just before Dr. Brightman's death, I began studying the philosophy of Hegel with him. Although the course was mainly a study of Hegel's monumentaI work, Phenomenology of Mind, I spent my spare time reading his Philosophy of History and Philosophy of Right. There were points in Hegel's philosophy that I strongly disagreed with. For instance, his absolute idealism was rationally unsound to me because it tended to swallow up the many in the one. But there were other aspects of his thinking that I found stimulating. His contention that "truth is the whole" led me to a philosophical method of rational coherence. His analysis of the dialectical process, in spite of its shortcomings, helped me to see that growth comes through struggle.
 
In 1954 I ended my formal training with all of these relatively divergent intellectual forces converging into a positive social philosophy. One of the main tenets of this philosophy was the conviction that nonviolent resistance was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their quest for social justice. At this time, however, I had merely an intellectual understanding and appreciation of the position, with no firm determination to organize it in a socially effective situation.
 
When I went to Montgomery as a pastor, I had not the slightest idea that I would later become involved in a crisis in which nonviolent resistance would be applicable. I neither started the protest nor suggested it. I simply responded to the call of the people for a spokesman. When the protest began, my mind, consciously or unconsciously, was driven back to the Sermon on the Mount, with its sublime teachings on love, and the Gandhian method of nonviolent resistance. As the days unfolded, I came to see the power of nonviolence more and more. Living through the actual experience of the protest, nonviolence became more than a method to which I gave intellectual assent; it became a commitment to a way of life. Many of the things that I had not cleared up intellectually concerning nonviolence were now solved in the sphere of practical action.
PD. Fellowship 24, 1 September 1958.


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