Once upon a time, there was a man; who fell in love with a woman. They got married had children, and lived happily ever after…
As kids, stories were such a five-finger exercise. So smooth, so penny-plain and so subtle. Then growing up happened. Curiosity set in, many a cat died, the cats with in us. Schrodinger’s too.
Adam and Eve eating an apple metamorphosed into something bigger. You start to wonder how thighs come into a story so pristine.
Little wonders about what Jack and Jill where doing up that hill, and how the well could be up, not down the valley.
Stories ceased to make sense, as we drowned in novels, belly-flopped deep into meaningless books, got lost in Mangas. With each text read, a realm of Sunyata. A rabbit hole with a trap for light at the end of the tunnel.
But still there remained that crave to read. To feed our little minds with something, anything. Twitter and Facebook happened, blogs too. And Snapchat and Instagram were invited to the party. And it was lit. As it was intimated that, as the Social Media platforms are food for the eyes, books and in particular short story books were food for the mind and the soul. So ensnaring…
One thing that’s eerie about stories, and mostly short stories is how quickly they can shape your surroundings, life and emotions. Maybe you start reading one over your lunch break and, if it’s the right one, before that peanut butter cup you bought for dessert even has a chance to finish its melting shape-shift into some kind of sugary cement, the whole world has been destroyed around you and then rebuilt, and then remodeled into something outlandish, Museveni has retired and Nelson Mandela resurrected. Nothing is quite the same again. Ohhh, until it ebbs away.
This happens whether you like it or not. The best short stories haunt you for days and weeks. They take you to a dimension you can feel but can neither live in nor touch. Great stories exercise this violent beauty on you in a variety of ways: some by making an absurd world familiar (or vice versa), some with a slow burn, some with a voice that colonizes your thoughts. Some do it quietly, almost without you even noticing, and some do it with high wire acts of imagination or intellect that make you into a breathless witness.
The trick, then, is finding the right story, one that is capable of such a thing. This is no easy task. Tastes differ, of course, and it can be confusing to spot the small boat of a great story on the wide sea of fiction. What any reader can offer you in terms of guidance is actually the same thing that any good writer can offer you with the story itself: a way of saying, This is what moved me and made me feel strange and alive in some way; here, why don’t you give it a try?
I could say it’s the same with Music. Find a song, and it takes your soul through every valley with all sorts of shadows, of course you fear nothing then for the beat is your comfort.
I’ve been quiet all this time. But not anymore. Infact, I’m done.
Silence is never empty, it’s full of answers.
Just like I’m always full, full of life.
Your ancestors have been to me, I’ve fed them, I’ve quenched their thirst, I’ve filled their pots.
I’ve been a confidant to their secrets.
A testimony to their beingness.
I haven’t expected a modicum of discernment from them. Not for a moment.
I haven’t asked for anything from them.
I haven’t complained, not for a single time.
Your Children have played around me.
Every morning from bed. As they wash out shnooters from their eyes.
Every evening after school. I love it when they discuss their homework as they graze goats. Reminds me of when I was young.
One or two has pulled out his elongation and peed on me while his friends aren’t looking. I’ve felt offended.
I’ve tamed my anger and haven’t swallowed, eaten one up.
Lord knows I’ve tried. And it’s been.
Their balls have hit me in the face.
It’s hurt but I always dust my face and return their balls.
Their goats have drank from me, with their unblushed teeth and nose dripping of mucus. Their cows too. It’s too much.
I’ve seen many a woman’s creation. But I haven’t told a soul. Those that don’t cover their slit, I’ve gazed. And they and I share a resemblance until they cut those bushes. I like looking but I’ve overgrown that.
I only listen and can’t look beyond my lips, and if I did, it’d be the blue sky of day and the stars at night over and over again.
The bushes around have told me alot.
They say they have seen men unbuckle their belts, lower their trousers and shamelessly leave a heap of nasty things.
They’ve seen women’s navels as soap and water caress their body. And sponge scrub their frame.
They’ve held their clothes as they purify.
They’ve heard Ssengas spit chants and pull flesh.
They’ve seen alot, and they’ve intimated to me. I know. Everything. And say nothing.
I won’t say I’ve seen your neighbor get naked and do bad business with your daughter on the grass that covers my belly.
I won’t say I’ve been soaked by the blood and more that spilled on that grass.
I won’t tell you how she cried, laughed and cursed all in unison. I won’t.
I won’t tell you nothing, it’s our secret; the vultures, the sky and I.
Even God doesn’t know. He must have been reading a book, he didn’t look, he didn’t see. I didn’t tell.
Vultures have circled above me. I’ve only been left with empty dreams of flying, soaring high in the skies.
If I could fly, I’d never have to feel the excruciating pain in my eyes.
These birds throw their flying toilets straight in my eyes and there isn’t a single thing I can do. I can’t even visit an optician. It hurts.
It hurts I don’t sleep. I can’t sleep.
I’d love to. Like you do, but can’t. Mosquitoes buzz in my ear all night. Crickets compete for my audience and owls for my attention.
I’m always awake, counting stars, listening to the frogs snore.
I’m tired. Let me return to middle earth to my father’s father’s dwelling. Deep down.
I’ve been here a thousand years, I’ve seen alot. I’ve heard alot. I’m tired.
I’ve said too much today, I’m tired.
Hope all will be well when I’m gone.
I’m tired. Let me dry up as the good old well I’ve been.
Social Media has overtaken the Bar in connecting people of different backgrounds. Not even the Church comes close.
With the bar, #JamrockThursdays:
You’ll make genuine connections, have the best of conversations and for those that do Quiz Nights; learn a thing or two. You’ll get to realise that you really don’t know much and have a lot to learn.
You’ll leave as learned as you’re tipsy. The bar is the perfect connections pot. 🍺🍺🍺
But not all of us frequent the bars in search for the bitter, happiness and one more stranger turned acquitance.
Comes in Social Media.
I’ll only cover Twitter, Swarm[Foursquare] and Snapchat. The apps or forums I mostly use; apart from this app, WordPress.
Freedom of Expression and Social Media:
We are all given 140 characters, we are free to use them whichever way we want. Shakespeare didn’t invent the alphabet but rearranged the letters he had, to make the wonderful pieces he wrote.
We are to be Shakespeares in our own right or so we are made to believe the moment we get a text field.
With the 140, you write whatever comes to mind, whatever you feel like sharing; rants, observations, opinions, quotes, lyrics🎶, name it.
Be whatever you want to be; Influencer, BOT, troll, sex guru, motivational speaker or even Pablo.
See the thing is you’re free to write anything, you’re free to express yourself. You’ve got that ultimate Freedom of Expression with your precious 140.
And you type away. Say things you believe in, chat with people you want to, drop into people’s mentions, hit their DMs and wherever that leads.
That’s where human behavior comes in. The interactions made aren’t in a Vacuum, they involve other people; followers and followers of followers. Strangers and friends. Many people. Billions of people.
You’ll say things, and you’re totally free to say anything considering it’s with in the acceptable limits. *Leave Jews out of this. And don’t exploit minors.
Sad we never read the EULAs and the Terms and Conditions of any app/platform.
Then one day you say something you believe in, anything and you’re castigated by other people that don’t think or believe the same. Funny enough, they expect you to believe and accept what they say on the other hand.
You’re homophobic and you’re branded an animal for that. But you strongly believe homosexuality is wrong. You were raised to believe so, your mum is a Catholic Nun, so…
They are homosexual and they believe it’s right. Love knows no barriers and everyone chooses to identify as whoever they want!
And they want you to accept their beliefs, ditch yours and take up their beliefs. And you can’t say what you believe, only what they believe. Freedoms impinging on other Freedoms.
You’re a feminist and believe anyone who points out issues contrary to what you believe, is better off in hell and not in your mentions. If you think women should kneel, you’re less of a woman, self-defeating and saying things to please men. Much as you believe in equality, you’re the enemy, and deserve no seat at the table of womyn. “And don’t say another word, because you lack, intellectually.” You’re muted.
You believe your Soccer Team has the best manager, the best stadium, the best players and the best loos and whoever thinks otherwise should trip and fall out of your mentions. Or kindly see themselves out.
You embark on the furnace journey to modor, you light a fire in your kiln and dish out blocks, you block this one and block the other. You unfollow and mute. But while doing this you don’t ever realize that another person could be doing exactly the same to you and others. And if each one blocked one. There would be no Social Media, that’d be more of Anti-Social Media.
You think that no one should have a right to be a fashionista, if they don’t have a DSLR Camera and a YouTube Channel. That their opinion and fashion sense is lacking if their Instagram has compact camera and android phone pics.
You don’t realise that whatever story you choose to share on your snapchat, you’re free. Those cinema stories, the laptop series you’re watching, the sermons, voice notes and the stale jokes.
That whichever filter you choose. You have that freedom to express yourself, embrace it. And no one should set the standards and expect you to tag along.
That there’s Freedom of Expression and 7 billion people can’t have the same values, same views and the same lifestyle? You don’t get that.
Well, be yourself, share what you feel and mind no one. I know we all live for attention and those notifications we crave. It’s normal, it’s human. Share your posts and go.
Embrace the little freedom of expression you have.
Don’t self-censure, the government hates competition.
Day 3 of the Freedom of Expression theme week. Well, my second post but more will be flowing in on a single day. The last from the government viewpoint.
“Rights and Freedoms are inherent and not granted by the State”. By respecting and promoting the freedoms, the State is merely fulfilling its constitutional obligation and not doing anyone a favor.
The State shouldn’t hold citizens hostage with claims it “brought peace”, “brought back rights”. That is, if the State respects its citizenry.
Is Freedom an absolute concept? Or can it be relative and subjective?
Is it an all or nothing arrangement? You’re either free or you’re not, is it?
Freedom is not absolute. It is a relative and subjective concept. Freedom cannot be measured, the degree to which a person is or is not free can only be determined through comparison and that comparison is completely subjective.
Freedom is also a diverse concept. It can be applied to personal, social, political, economic, academic, and religious spheres. A violation in one or more areas does not negate freedoms in the others. Nor does freedom in some spheres excuse violations in others. We can’t look at freedom as black or white, whole or nothing concept.
Does that mean infringements won’t occur at the hands of the very government erected to protect our liberties? Of course not.
Sadly the country I live in, the continent I live in and to an extent the world we live in infringes alot on freedoms.
And my country Uganda has mastered the art of infringing on freedoms and getting away with it scot free.
Bills have been passed, Acts signed. And the rights of a free man eroded.
Freedom of Expression has suffered the most with a great deal, if not all of the recent Acts of Law curtailing expression in general and dissent in particular
•The Anti-Terrorism Act (2002).
•The Regulation of Interception of Communications Act (2010).
•Uganda Communications Act 2012
•The Public Order Management Act, 2013 All these Acts have limitations on nearly all the Freedoms a Ugandan is meant to enjoy. And heavily infringe on Human Rights.
And incidents of mass abuse of rights have occurred in the light of day, most with impunity.
• In October 2014, Central Broadcasting Services (CBS) radio journalist Ronald Ssembuusi was convicted of criminal defamation over a 2011 story implying a connection between a former Kalangala district chairman and the theft of solar panels that the African Development Bank had donated. Ssembuusi was sentenced to pay a fine of 1 million shillings ($375) within a month, or serve one year in prison.
• Broadcast media regulations issued in March 2014 required all outlets to provide one free hour of prime air time per week to government officials so they could promote government policies and programs; however, the regulations have not been enforced.
Independent journalists and media outlets are often critical of the government, but in recent years they have faced substantial, escalating government restrictions and intimidation, encouraging self-censorship.
Journalists often face harassment or physical attacks by police or ordinary citizens while covering the news. And some are banned from covering certain events.
• The restrictions on internet access, and online media. Social Media has been shut down, not once but twice in 2016. During the 2016 contested Elections, Social Media and Mobile Money Services were shutdown, effecting an order from the UCC citing security reasons.
It was once more shutdown in May 2016, on the day of the swearing in of the President. A trend that is sweeping through other despotic states in sub saharan Africa.
• The government has reportedly sought to increase surveillance of internet and mobile-phone communications in the context of antiterrorism campaigns, as permitted under the 2002 Antiterrorism Act and the 2010 Regulation of Interception of Communications Act. Under the latter, all mobile-phone users were required to register their SIM cards with the government by August 2013, after which unregistered cards were deactivated.
And earlier the revelations of the Operation Fungua Macho, an operation by security and spy agencies to spy on the prominent opposition figures and the talk of a plan to procure a pornography detection system left the country in disbelief.
• In March, police in eastern Uganda blocked two demonstrations organized by the opposition pushing for electoral reforms. Police claimed the politicians had not sought permission from the inspector general of police, as required under the new law. Eventually the rallies were permitted, but those seeking to protest against the current electoral laws often face unclear procedures and prolonged delays when seeking permissions.
• Former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi a presidential aspirant at the time was stopped from going to Mbale to consult his supporters and detained at Kiira Road Police Station till the sunset when he was released without caution or charge.
• In June 2015, two men were arrested for smuggling two pigs into parliament as a protest against high youth unemployment rates. The two were charged with criminal trespass and conspiracy.
• In August 2015, police arrested 20 members of the Uganda National Students Association for holding a protest at the Ministry of Education, which police deemed to be an unlawful assembly. The same month, police arrested seven young men in Kampala who were peacefully demonstrating against unemployment.
• The closure of two newspapers and a radio station in 2013 and new ad-hoc policies introduced by the minister of information negatively impacted media’s operating environment. Station managers and journalists report fear of reprisals if programs are highly critical of the government.
• In March 2015, a regional police commander stormed the studios of Guide Radio in Kasese, western Uganda, and stopped a program in which the leader of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change was participating. The police commander claimed to be under orders to stop the program because it was “inciting violence.”
• And there has been frequent break ins into offices of Civil Society Organizations, NGOs and Law firms, with fingers pointing to organised raids from government security operatives.
• Nalufenya, Kasangati, Moroto and Kiira Road Police stations have become infamous for having a negative correlation with liberty.
These and many infringements have been carried on against the Freedoms that the government swears to protect and to uphold. This begs the question.