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Kibuye market fire: Let’s spare a thought

Social media is a buzz with pictures of the fire that unfortunately engulfed Kisumu’s Kibuye market. My heart goes out to those affected directly and to the people of Kisumu. Gladly, there were no casualties reported and that is a silver lining. It might not make a lot of sense right now but if you are a victim of the financial burden that comes with an event like fire, we realise your distress.

If you built it once, whatever business that may be, you can definitely do it again.

Mos uru.

Moving on swiftly. I was hoping to keep my mouth shut but I would be failing historically. In the words of Martin Luther King Jnr, when it’s all said and done (I’m paraphrasing) it is not the noise of our enemies that will hurt most rather the silence of our friends. Or something with as much power. So opine I shall.

We live in times where social media rules the world. Information is instantaneous and everybody has access to this information. Mainstream media has itself falling over to get information faster than a 10 year old with access to social media. This, is where grand folks and toddlers have access to anything and everything. A necessary evil in brief. If you ask Biko, he thinks social media is the devil’s beach house. Where he just sits and bask in his own glory. Or lack thereof. If you ask me, social media is a conglomerate of insensitive, egomaniacal, pretentious, mostly vacuous and vain modern versions of humanity.

I am not standing on the sideline.I do subscribe to the faith of Facebook, twitter and all that shebang. I realise that being outside these platforms in 2016 is downright bollocks. Its detrimental as it is almost unheard of. News has videos from YouTube these days. Its a serious take over. Unfortunately, access to these platforms is limitless. Anybody and everybody is on Facebook. Yet this is where most of us depend on for real time information. Take a moment and let that permeate. Forget the paedophile soliciting sex from young kids, the rapist targeting lonely women, the sociopath torturing anybody who entertains his antics. Focus more on the oblivious and inconceivably clueless “bootilicious ule wa Jamo kutoka Migosi”. The atrocity in the name is the least of my worries.

These are times where in the event of something with such severity as a fire occurs, everybody enjoys journalistic license. Pictures from God knows who start doing rounds. Stories woven from behind a computer or the other side of your phone screen pass as facts. Everybody has a say except those with the voice. See, facebookers and tweeps always report from the comfort of wherever they get a news feed. We could be in the middle of taking a dump in a Wi-Fi enabled lavatory for all you know. But we will post a pic of burning market. You will care too little about the source before you press share. The insensitivity in this act is where we are culpable.

That market was somebody’s sole financial standing. Some young lady took a loan to start her dream business in that market. A young man just got his merchandise stocked night before last. Some kid will not go back from mid-term on time because their fee was contingent on the sales from this market. An old man’s land will be sold to somebody else because his income has been cut short. Yet here we are posting and retweeting regurgitated nonsense.

If you do nothing else before you share sensitive topic on your Instagram or Facebook, be sensitive to those affected. Be aware of the manner in which you choose to break bad news. Most importantly, wear the shoes of those tied to whatever you are reporting on. Empathy teaches you compassion, consideration and patience. Exercise it. If you are a person on the ground, take a deep breath, have a moment and tell us the truth about the fire.

We hope that investigations will be done to ascertain the cause of it, and the victims compensated.

Again, we wish you strength in this trying time.

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